Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Root Of India-Pakistan Conflicts

The Root Of India-Pakistan Conflicts

It is commonly accepted as an article of faith that Kashmir is the root cause of all problems between India and Pakistan. I disagree with this premise, and wish to demonstrate that the ‘Kashmir issue’ is itself the result of a deeper root cause, which is a clash of two worldviews: pluralism versus exclusivism.
(It must be clarified that neither pluralism nor exclusivism is the same as secularism, because secularism denies the legitimacy of religion, seeing it at best as exotic culture, and at worst, as a scourge. On the other hand, pluralism and exclusivism both recognize and celebrate religion, but in entirely different ways.)
Most people fail to recognize that this clash between pluralism and exclusivism does indeed exist. This exposes an intellectual failing and lack of preparation in getting to the root cause of the India-Pakistan conflict. This has repressed the real problem, pushing it into the intellectual basement of the global subconscious, and turning it into the shadow side of humanity.
Any genuine attempt to address geopolitical problems must look deeper than examining merely the symptoms of conflict. This essay calls for a paradigm shift in the understanding of the root cause, without which attempts to resolve the ‘Kashmir issue’ shall fail, or at best bring temporary relief. It concludes by defining the ‘hard question’ that must be tackled by the world community.
Religion and Conflict
All religions have two dimensions: theological beliefs that pertain to one’s relationship with a Supreme Reality of whatever kind; and sociological beliefs that pertain to dealings with human society. Often, people compare only the theologies, finding common ground across many diverse religions, and declare them all be the ‘same’ or ‘equivalent’. Hence, they naively conclude that the present global problems are not about religion.
However, one must pay special attention to the second dimension of religions, namely, the social theories mandated by different religions. It is here where the root of much conflict is to be located.
Christianity’s onerous social demands became the subject of intense fighting after 1500 C.E., leading to the Reformation of Christianity. Both sides — orthodoxy and the reformers — agreed that the social space should allow critical thinking, independent inquiry, and separation of church and state. This clipped the wings of Christianity from its control over the public space. Consequently, contemporary Western religion is largely a private affair and focuses less on control over society.
While Christianity does remain very active socially today, and has strong positions on abortion, euthanasia, and many other ethical matters, it is not the final legal authority to resolve sociological disputes. It has a position on these, but this is only ‘a’ position and does not automatically become ‘the’ position in Western society.
The situation in Islam is entirely different. A comparable Reformation has never been accomplished successfully, and those who have tried such amendments have been killed as heretics. Hence, in many ways, the sociological dictates of orthodox Islam today are comparable to those of pre-Reformation Christianity. For instance, during the Middle Ages, Catholic bishops had fatwa-like powers to give death sentences. They had police powers, and controlled the definition and enforcement of public law. (The greatest gift that the West could give to Muslims is guidance in bringing about such a Reformation, as that watershed event was the beginning of the rise of the West. The only losers would be the Islamic clergy.)
Furthermore, sociological mandates of a religion are also of two kinds: internal ones, such as the varnasystem, marriage customs, gender relations, and so forth, that only impact the internal society within a particular religion; and external ones, such as the requirement to proselytize or to kill or ill-treat outsiders, that impact those who are outsiders to a given faith.
In my view the theological and internal, sociological, aspects of a religion are not the primary causes of global conflict. Rather, the external, sociological, aspects of religion are the direct causes of global conflict.
It logically follows that it is the business of the world at large to interpret, question, and challenge those aspects of a religion that take a position concerning outsiders. If I am the subject of some other religion’s doctrine, and such a doctrine states how I am to be treated, what is to be done to me, what I may or may not do freely, then, even though I am not a member of that religion, it does become my business to probe these doctrines and even to demand a change. On the other hand, if a religion minds its own business, and has little to say pertaining to me as an outsider, then I should respect its right to be left alone.
In other words, a given religion’s right to be left alone by outsiders should be reciprocal and contingent upon its responsibility to leave outsiders alone.
Islam’s socio-political strategies in dealing with the non-Muslim world are now at the crossroads and under the world’s microscope. The positions adopted by Islamic leaders will have long-term consequences for the entire world, including both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Pakistan’s Islamic Foundations
The three important social demands that dominate the Islamic orthodoxy as adopted by Pakistan’s government and many other Islamic States (as opposed to alternative liberal interpretations that are subverted) are: (1) the 2-nation theory, (2) global loyalty to Islam superceding sovereignty of man-made countries, and (3) Islamic triumphalism. These are summarized below:
1. The 2-nation theory: Pakistan was carved out of India based on the theory that Muslims require their own separate nation in order to live in compliance with Islamic Law. This theory is equivalent to: (a) segregation(neo-apartheid) by demanding a separation of socio-political jurisdiction for Muslims; and (b) Islamicexclusiveness and imposition of Islamic “Law” upon the public sphere. This is the exact opposite of both pluralism and secularism. The traumatic event that resulted from this, in India, is commonly called “The Partition.” Once the population of Muslims in a given region crosses a threshold in numbers and/or assertiveness, such demands begin. Once this ball is set in motion, the euphoria builds up into a frenzy, and galvanizes the Pan-Islamic “global loyalty” discussed in #2 below. The temperature is made to boil until Muslims worldwide see the expansion of their territory as God’s work. The US will have this experience at some point during the next few decades.
2. Pan-Islamic loyalty superceding local sovereignty: Islamic doctrine divides humanity into two nations that transcend all boundaries of man-made countries: All Muslims in the world are deemed to be part of one single nation called dar-ul-islam (Nation-of-Islam). All non-Muslims are deemed to belong to dar-ul-harb (the enemy, or Nation-of-War). This bi-polar definition cuts across all sovereignty, because sovereignty is man-made and hence inferior and subservient to God’s political and social bifurcation. Islamic doctrine demands loyalty only to Islamic Law and not to the man-made laws of nations and states, such as USA, India, etc. Among the consequences of this doctrine is that a Muslim is required to fight on the side of a Muslim brother against any non-Muslim. This has often been invoked by Muslims to supercede the merits of a given dispute at hand. Orthodox Islam calls for a worldwide “network” of economic, political, social, and other alliances amongst the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world. Pakistan invokes this doctrine to claim Indian Muslims as part of dar-ul-islam, with Pakistan designated as caretaker of their interests. The Al Qaeda global network of terror is simply the extreme case of such a “network” mentality turning violent against thedar-ul-harb.
3. Islamic Triumphalism: A central tenet of Islam is that God’s “nation” — i.e. the dar-ul-islam — must sooner or later take over the world. Others, especially those who are in the crosshairs, as prey at a given moment, see this as religious imperialism. Pakistan’s official account of history honors Aurungzeb because he plundered and oppressed the infidels, i.e. Hindus and Buddhists. Likewise, many other conquerors, such as Mohammed of Ghazni, are portrayed as great heroes of Islamic triumphalism. (Even Pakistan’s missile is named after an Islamic conqueror of India in the Medieval Period.) Given this divine mandate, the ethos of aggressiveness and predatory behavior is promoted and celebrated in social life, which non-Muslims see as Islamic chauvinism. September 11 was a misjudgment of timing and dar-ul-islam’s ability to take over. But any orthodox Mullah or Imam would confirm God’s edict that eventually Islam absolutely must take over the world.
Socio-Political Consequences
Once ingrained, these ideological essences become the contexts that define all thinking concerning society, politics, ethics, and even militancy. A sort of closed universe develops and rigidifies, and assumes a life of its own, with its internal logic and legitimacy.
An intense identity is often programmed from childhood. For instance, history gets rewritten to fit the requirement that anything pre-Islamic is to be seen as inferior and false. In India, this legitimized the destruction of Hindu-Buddhist institutions. The past is still a threat, because it is too obviously Hindu-Buddhist. In Arabia, it caused the virtual erasure of rich pre-Islamic cultures. Indigenous art got re-branded as ‘Islamic art’, even though it was done by non-Muslims who were employed by the conquerors.
Indian contributions in math, science, medicine, art, literature, etc. were translated by Arab and Persian scholars in the Middle Ages with explicit acknowledgment and great respect for the Indian sources, and were later re-transmitted to Europe. However, since Islam now no longer has exclusive control over India, it now claims these as “Islamic” sciences. This version of a triumphant Islamic history is promoted heavily by Arab sponsored television shows, and even on public television in the US.
The education system of such societies brainwashes and hypnotizes young boys into dogma that either includes hatred, or can easily be turned into hatred, by pushing a few buttons. It denies them job skills for the modern era, thereby expanding the available pool of jihad mercenaries for hire.
When Islam is in a minority and brute force power is not advisable, the Al-taqiyah doctrine legitimizes deception, if done for the larger cause of dar-ul-islam.
All this has built a neurosis and hatred for others. There is also hatred for modernity, seeing it as evil. When the infidels start to win economically or politically, the orthodoxy preaches that Islamic people are not doing a good enough job on behalf of Allah, and must get re-energized to fight the dar-ul-harb. Such a powder keg blows up under the right conditions of stress.
This thinking led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
History of the Two-Nation Theory
Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1876-1938), the leading Muslim philosopher of his time, was an Indian nationalist in his early writings. But by 1930, in his poem, The Millat, his thoughts had crystallized on Muslim separatism. He explained the concept of partition in his presidential address to the Muslim League in Allahabad in 1930: that a unitary form of government was inconceivable, and that religious community had to be the basis for identification. His argument was that communalism in its highest sense brought harmony.
Iqbal demanded the establishment of a confederated India to include a Muslim state consisting of Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh, and Baluchistan. In subsequent speeches and writings, Iqbal reiterated the Muslim claim to nationhood “based on unity of language, race, history, religion, and identity of economic interests.”
The name ‘Pakistan’ originated in 1933, when some Muslim students in Cambridge (UK) issued a pamphlet titled Now or Never. The pamphlet denied that India was a single country, and demanded partition. It explained the term ‘Pakistan’ as follows: “Pakistan… is… composed of letters taken from the names of our homelands: that is, Punjab, Afghania [North-West Frontier Province], Kashmir, Iran, Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and Balochistan. It means the land of the Paks, the spiritually pure and clean.”
In the 1937 elections to the provincial legislative assemblies, the Indian Congress party gained majorities in seven of the eleven provinces. Congress refused to form coalition governments with the Muslim League, even in Uttar Pradesh, which had a substantial Muslim minority, and vigorously denied the Muslim League’s claim to be the only true representative of Indian Muslims. This permanently alienated the Muslim League from the Congress.
By 1939, the Aligarh Muslim group’s resolution reflected the hardening of the Muslim leadership’s thinking: “Neither the fear of the British bayonets nor the prospects of a bloody civil war can discourage (the Muslims) in their will to achieve free Muslim states in those parts of India where they are in majority.”
To rally political support, Jinnah used ‘Pakistan’ as the unifying cause. His famous 1940 Presidential address to the Muslim League’s annual convention in Lahore was a watershed event to segregate dar-ul-islam in the Indian subcontinent. He said:
“It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders. It is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits, and is the cause of most of our troubles, and will lead India to destruction, if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literature. They neither intermarry, nor inter-dine together, and indeed they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, their heroes are different, and they have different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single State, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and the final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a State.”
(Americans should visualize a future American Jinnah substituting “Christianity” in place of “Hinduism” and adopting similar positions.)
Jinnah’s theory was partially rationalized by his understanding of history according to which segregation was normal and natural across the world. In his above speech, Jinnah went on to say:
“History has also shown to us many geographical tracts, much smaller than the Subcontinent of India, which otherwise might have been called one country, but which have been divided into as many states as there are nations inhabiting them. The Balkan Peninsula comprises as many as seven or eight sovereign States. Likewise, the Portuguese and the Spanish stand divided in the Iberian Peninsula.”
This was a false theory of history on Jinnah’s part. Recent events demonstrate the trend towards European unification as opposed to subdivision, because the common interests greatly outweigh what divides the various diverse peoples of Europe.
However, having once made up his mind, Jinnah politicized his two-nation theory successfully, using fear tactics with the British:
“The present artificial unity of India dates back only to the British conquest and is maintained by the British bayonet; but the termination of the British regime, which is implicit in the recent declaration of His Majesty’s Government, will be the herald of an entire break up, with worse disaster than has ever taken place during the last one thousand years under the Muslims. Surely that is not the legacy which Britain would bequeath to India after 150 years of her rule, nor would the Hindu and Muslim India risk such a sure catastrophe.”
At the 1940 Lahore convention, the Muslim League resolved that the areas of Muslim majority in northwestern and eastern India should be grouped together to constitute independent states – autonomous and sovereign – and that any independence plan without this provision was unacceptable to Muslims. The Lahore Resolution was often referred to as the ‘Pakistan Resolution’.
Without any concrete ‘dispute’ between Hindus and Muslims, the logic that prevailed was that Muslims require segregation of political and social life in order to be in compliance with the demands of sharia. The Two-Nation Theory was a manifestation of the doctrine of dar-ul-islam versus dar-ul-harb.
Divergent Post-Independence Directions
India was built on an entirely different worldview, inspired by the same ideals as the United States, as is evident from the Preamble to its Constitution:
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
* JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
* LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
* EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
* and to promote among them all
* FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation]; …”
In sharp contrast, the Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has the following Preamble:
“Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust; …”
After Jinnah, Pakistan became increasingly radicalized and Islamicized, in many ways more extreme than the founder’s vision. For instance, the Ninth Amendment in 1985 caused Article 227 to read:
“All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, in this Part referred to as the Injunctions of Islam, …”
The Ninth Amendment explains that the “objects and reasons” for this Islamicization are “so as to provide that the Injunctions of Islam shall be the supreme law and source of guidance for legislation and policy making and to empower the Federal Shariat Court to make recommendations for bringing the fiscal laws and laws relating to the levy and collection of taxes in conformity with the said injunctions.”
Once there is a State religion that has a strong orthodoxy, the State must also interpret the religion. For example, the Ahmadiyya sect of Muslims is considered heretical, because it recognizes a 19th century man born in India to be the new Prophet of Islam. In order to preserve the purity of the interpretation of Islam, the Pakistan Federal Government has constitutionally prohibited the group from calling themselves Muslim, even in the use of everyday Islamic greetings. This was implemented in the Second Amendment of Pakistan’s Constitution in 1974, which reads:
“A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever , after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”
This Constitutional provision is now enforced in various application forms of the Pakistani government, such as the following passport form on the home page of its embassy in Washington, DC. In item 14, the form asks for the following Declaration:
a. “I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last of the prophets.
b. ‘I do not recognize any person who claims to he prophet in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever after Muhammad (peace be upon him) or recognize such a claimant as prophet or a religious reformer as a Muslim.
c. “I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Quadiani to be an impostor nabi and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori or Quadiani group, to be NON-MUSLIM.”
As further examples of Islamization, the Law of Pakistan calls for amputation of hands or feet for many property crimes. Consumption of alcohol by Muslims in any quantity whatsoever is punishable by flogging.
Under Pakistan’s Islamic laws, adultery and fornication are punishable by stoning to death. The law on rape (zina-bil-jabr) has a very chilling effect on women who are raped because: The crime is rarely proven because it requires that four adult Muslim males of ‘good reputation’ must appear as witnesses to the act. (One is left wondering why four men ‘of good reputation’ would be watching a rape.) If the charge fails, then the woman who has brought it can be punished for false accusation (qazf) or, more commonly, for adultery (zina) herself because through her charge she has admitted her own involvement in an illicit sexual act. For instance, in 1991, around two-thirds of the 3,000 women imprisoned in Pakistan were being held on such charges — the victims of rape prosecuted for illicit sex!
Islamic texts are being introduced into Pakistani military training. Middle ranking officers must take courses and examinations on Islam. There are even serious attempts under way to define an Islamic military doctrine, as distinct from the international military doctrines, so as to fight in accordance with the Koran.
An eminent Pakistani writer, Mubarak Ali, explains the chronology of Islamization:
“The tragedy of 1971 [when Bangladesh separated] brought a shock to the people and also a heavy blow to the ideology of Pakistan… More or less convinced of their Islamic heritage and identity, Pakistan’s government and intelligentsia consciously attempted to Islamize the country… The history of Islamization can be traced to the Bhutto era…”
“General Zia-ul-Haq [another great friend and ally of the US] furthered the process to buy legitimacy for his military regime. The element of communal and sectarian hatred in today’s society are a direct consequence of the laws that the dictator had put in place… He made all secular and liberal-minded people enemies of the country. They were warned again and again of severe consequences in case of any violation of the [Islamic] Ideology of Pakistan.”
“Nawaz Sharif added his own bit, like mandating death penalty to the Blasphemy Law… With the failure of the ruling classes to deliver the goods to the people, religion was exploited to cover up corruption and bad governance… The process of Islamization not only supports but protects the fundamentalists in their attempts to terrorize and harass society in the name of religion. There are published accounts of the kind of menace that is spread by religious schools run by these fundamentalists…”
Khaled Ahmed describes how this radicalization of Pakistan is continuing even today:
“In Pakistan… every time it is felt that the ideology is not delivering there are prescriptions for further strengthening of the shariah… Needless to say, anyone recommending that the ideological state be undone is committing heresy and could be punished under law… The Council for Islamic Ideology (CII) is busy on a daily basis to put forth its proposals for the conversion of the Pakistani state into a utopia of Islamic dreams. The Ministry for Religious Affairs has already sent to the cabinet of General Musharraf a full-fledged programme for converting Pakistan into an ideal state… We have reached this stage in a gradual fashion, where these state institutions have become directly responsible for encouraging extremism…”
This hole is so deep that General Musharraf, while promising to de-radicalize Pakistan, must reassure his people not to fear the ‘threat’ of secularism. He recently clarified it as follows:
“No-one should even think this is a secular state. It was founded as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan…”
While America still has enormous racial inequality 150 years after the abolishing of slavery, the important point is that it is committed to racial equality. Similarly, despite many flaws in India’s pluralism, the State is committed to it. What counts is a commitment to steady improvement. India has had one of the most aggressive and ambitious affirmative action programs in the world. The results, while far from perfect, have produced many top level Muslim leaders in various capacities in India, and a growth of Muslims as a percentage of total population. But in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Hindu population has decreased from 11% in 1947 to around 1% today, as a result of ethnic cleansing.
Pakistan’s Identity Crisis
The problem for an educated Pakistani is to figure out when and where his history started. If it is to be 1947 in the geographical area that is now Pakistan, then there is very little past for him to build an identity. If it is to be from the time of Mohammed, then his history is outside his land. If it is prior to that, then his history is largely a Hindu-Buddhist history, a past he wants to deny.
He must invent history to answer the question: Why was Pakistan created? Mubarak Ali, a prominent Pakistani scholar, explains the predicament:
“Since its inception Pakistan has faced the monumental task of formulating its national identity separate from India. Partitioned from the ancient civilization of India, Pakistan has struggled to construct its own culture; a culture not just different and unique from India, but one appreciable by the rest of the world. The overshadowing image of the Indian civilization also haunted the founders of Pakistan, who channeled their efforts in making the differences between India and Pakistan more tangible and obvious.
“The fundamental difference between India and Pakistan was based on the Two Nation theory, strengthening Pakistan’s Islamic identity.
“…The University Grants Commission of Pakistan made Islamic Studies and Pakistan Study compulsory subjects at all levels of the education system, even for the professional students. … This gave the government an opportunity to teach the students its own version of history, especially the Pakistan ideology, which is described as something like this: “The struggle was for the establishment of a new Islamic state and for the attainment of independence. It was the outcome of the sincere desire of the Muslims of the subcontinent who wanted Islam to be accepted as the ideal pattern for an individual’s life, and also as the law to bind the Muslims into a single community.
“In asserting this identity, Pakistan is in a state of dilemma…”
If Pakistanis were seen merely as Indians who converted to Islam, then they would seem no different than the Indian Muslims, who are equal in number to Pakistan’s total population, who are better educated and economically placed, and who enjoy greater social freedom than their counterparts in Pakistan. Hence, the very existence of Pakistan as a separate nation rests upon constructing an identity for itself that is radically different from India’s. But you cannot build a nation on a negative identity.
One might say that a birth defect of Pakistan was its lack of a self-sufficient positive identity. Such a positive identity would neither be a negation of India, nor be an imperialistic claim of authority over all dar-ul-islam of the subcontinent. Kamal Azfar, a Pakistani writer, explains the dilemma:
“There are two concepts of Pakistan: the first empirical and the second utopian. The empirical concept is based on solid foundations of history and geography while the utopian concept is based on shifting sands. Utopia is not an oasis but a mirage… Samarqand and Bukhara and the splendors of the Arab world are closely related to us but we do not possess them. Our possessions are Moenjodaro and Sehwan Sharif, Taxila and Lahore, Multan and the Khyber. We should own up to all that is present here in the Indus Valley and cease to long for realities not our own for that is false-consciousness.”
This obsession to be seen as neo-Arabs has reached ridiculous extremes, such as Pakistani scholars’ attempts to show that Sanskrit was derived from Arabic. Even Persian influence on Indian culture is considered impure as compared to Arabic.
Pakistan’s un-Indian identity easily gets turned into anti-Indian rhetoric. In short, hatred for India has been required to keep Pakistan together, because Allah has not done so. Pakistan is largely a garrison state, created and sustained using the Hindu-Muslim divide.
A secure Hindu seems to be incompatible with what the Pakistani thinks a Hindu should be. Especially any ‘Hindu’ success feeds its Hindu-phobia.
Pakistan’s positive identity building projects are using multiple strategies. The following are three of the major historical myths being spun by Pakistan, to secure legitimacy for its separate existence.
Myth 1: Pakistanis = Descendents of the Indus Valley Civilization
The most aggressive identity engineering project is the theory of Pakistanis depicted as the 8,000-year-old people of the Indus Valley. This civilization is presented as different from the Ganges Valley civilization. The Indus and Ganges are depicted as the ancestral homelands of Pakistanis and Indians, respectively. Hence, they have always been separate people. Given this model, Pakistan’s Indus Valley researchers are encouraged to show the links to the Middle East civilizations of Mesopotamia, so as to bring Pakistan and the Arab-Persian worlds into a single continuous historical-geographical identity since the beginnings of recorded history.
The following article titled, Separating Urdu from Sanskrit, published in the Urdu newspaper Jang, explains the construction of this theory of an 8,000-year-old Pakistan:
“Pakistani intellectuals have been looking for the roots of their separate identity in the remote past for the last two decades. They are not satisfied with the two-nation theory propounded by Iqbal, according to which religion was the basis of nationhood… They want to show that… the Indus and the Gangetic valleys have always been home to separate civilizations. Being the heir to the Indus valley civilization, Pakistan is a geographic entity whose roots go back to time immemorial…
“Hitherto, the generally held belief has been that Urdu came into being as a result of social contacts between the Muslims who came to India during the middle ages and the native population. So the language was taken to be a crossbreed of Turko-Persian-Arabic vocables with the local dialects. This is, in a nutshell, the view held by such eminent linguists as G.A. Griesson and Sir Charles Lyall, to mention only two. This theory presupposed that these dialects themselves were based upon, or rather were a by-product of Sanskrit.
“Khalid Hasan Qadiri [a new identity developer]… reaches the conclusion that Urdu has its roots in the languages of the Munda tribes who were the inhabitants of the Indus Valley in pre-Dravidian periods…. In this way we are led to believe that the Urdu language has a very well-defined and clear-cut grammar, absolutely different from Sanskrit in every respect. The very basic philosophy governing the grammatical structure of these two languages is totally different. And by any stretch of imagination one cannot state Urdu to have emanated from the sacred language of the Hindus. Grammatically speaking Urdu owes nothing to Sanskrit. Hence it cannot be grouped with the Aryan language either. It clearly belongs to some non-Aryan group of languages. And this view is supposed to give us some solace.”
Myth 2: Pakistanis = West Asian Races
Using a more recent beginning point, there is a popular construction of Pakistanis as Arab-Persian-Turk ‘immigrants’ (with a few occasional ‘jihads’ against the infidels). Here, Pakistanis get racially differentiated from the ‘native’ Indian Muslims. (A different version of this scenario says that Pakistanis are Aryans originally from lands around Turkey.)
These theories encourage rampant Arabization of Pakistani culture. Arabization is to Pakistanis what Macaulayism is to many Indians. The difference is that Macaulayism has afflicted only the top tier of Indian elitists, whereas Arabization of Pakistan pervades all strata of Pakistani identity. For instance:
* Girls are discouraged from wearing mehndi, because it is seen as a Hindu tradition, even though it has nothing to do with one’s religion per se.
* The kite flying tradition during the festival of Baisakhi, celebrated for centuries in Punjab as the harvest season, is now under the microscope of Pakistan’s identity engineers for being too Sikh and Hindu in character, and not Arab enough.
* Emphasis is placed on being un-Indian so as to assert this new identity wherever possible.
Pakistan has these internal conflicts between its Middle Eastern religious values on the one hand, and its Indian cultural values on the other. In this internal struggle, the Islamic values based on Middle East culture are conquering the indigenous values of the people. Much of the neurosis is about this destruction of one’s past identity.
Myth 3: Pakistan = Successor to Mughal Empire
This is the most ominous model of all from Indians’ perspective: Pakistan is depicted as the successor to the Mughal Empire. The post-Mughal two-century British rule is seen as a dark period of interruption that is now to be reversed by returning to the glory of the Mughals. Under this return of the Mughals, Hindus would be second-class citizens, in the same manner as they were under the Mughals.
Many Pakistanis would like Mughal Emperor Akbar’s model, under which Hindus were tolerated and even respected, although Muslims enjoyed higher status.
But most Pakistanis are said to prefer Emperor Aurungzeb’s model, under which Hindus were oppressed and forced to convert, and Islam was asserted in ways that were not different from the Taliban’s policies. This glorifies aggressiveness and Islamic chauvinism. Such an imperialistic identity has also led to a leadership claim over India’s Muslims, even though they outnumber Pakistan’s entire population and enjoy greater prosperity, freedom and culture.
This schizophrenia makes Pakistanis very insecure. To avoid this quandary, they quickly slip into talk of a pan-Islamic identity, hoping to escape the irrational construct with which they find themselves burdened.
It is relevant to point out that Muslims are required to point towards Mecca five times daily in prayer. Psychologists would call this “creative visualization,” a form of subconscious programming. Are loyalties taking shape deep within one’s psyche, towards the Arabs, the owners of Mecca?
What is the effect of being told since childhood, in chauvinistic and triumphant terms, of Islam’s heroic plunder of infidels, and its inevitable conquest of the entire world? What is the consequence of glorifying Ghazni and Aurungzeb as is done in Pakistan’s public school textbooks?
Khaled Ahmed explains the neurosis resulting from such dogma:
“The difficulty lies in the inability of the Muslims to mould their original revealed message to modern times by applying logic and rationality to the ancient case law. There was a time when this was done but the era of taqleed (imitation) has been upon us since the medieval period. Under colonial rule, many Muslims thought of introducing reason in the science of understanding the Holy Writ, but today no one in the Islamic world tolerates any deviation from taqleed even when this taqleed varies in practice from state to state. All Muslim states are unstable either because they have enforced the shariah and are unhappy with it, like Pakistan, or have not enforced it and are unhappy that it has not been enforced. For Muslims the question, ‘What kind of state do we want?’ is a rhetorical one, because for them it has already been answered.”
Most shocking is the prevalent Hindu-bashing on Pakistani state television and in state school textbooks. A common theme is to depict Brahmins as cunning and wicked, and to mock at Hindu beliefs. By contrast, the state run media in India is extra careful to be sensitive. Private Bollywood has many Muslims in dominant positions and a pluralistic ethos is very much projected.
One of the most popular songs sung by Hindus is Ishvar, Allah tere nam, meaning Ishvar and Allah are God’s names. I have not come across Hindus being concerned or even conscious that they are giving Allah recognition as equal to Ishvar. But most Muslim friends refuse to participate in any such song, as it would violate the injunction against respecting other deities.
A friend recently told me that in her corporate office on Wall Street, she has been a close friend of a Pakistani woman executive for many years. They bring lunch from home, and have shared each other’s food regularly. But one day, my friend casually remarked that the lunch she brings is after doing puja and offering some as prasadam. The Pakistani woman refused to accept her food ever since. She had no qualms about saying that eating such a meal would be a violation of her Islamic faith.
Pakistan, assuming the leadership of dar-ul-islam, is trying to expand the territory of Islam. Militancy is a relatively recent export of Pakistan, a sort of last resort out of desperation. The ‘Kashmir issue’ is Pakistan’s identity crisis externalized towards an outside enemy, so as to find a meaning for itself. The citizens of Pakistan have been galvanized into a neurosis to Islamize Kashmir on behalf of Allah.
The Need to Decouple
The economic directions of India and Pakistan are entirely different: the technology education emphasis in India, as compared to the madrassas in Pakistan where Islamic identity is the primary curriculum.
India is one-sixth of all humanity. It deserves its own space in the world’s mind, and should not be reduced to one of eight countries lumped into a single ‘South Asian region’ just for simplicity and convenience. Pakistan should be let loose to discover who it wants to be, without being bothered about India.
The Garland Making Worldview
“Be like a garland maker, O king; not like a charcoal burner.” –Mahabharata, XII.72.20
This famous statement from the Mahabharata contrasts two worldviews. It asks the king to preserve and protect diversity, in a coherent way. The metaphor used is that of a garland, in which flowers of many colors and forms are strung together for a pleasing effect. The contrast is given against charcoal, which is the result of burning all kinds of wood and reducing diversity to homogeneous dead matter. The charcoal burner is reductionist and destroys diversity, whereas the garland maker celebrates diversity.
Garland making and charcoal burning represent two divergent worldviews in terms of socio-political ideology. The former leads to pluralism and diversity of thought, whereas the latter strives for a homogenized and fossilized society in which dogma runs supreme.
India represents a long and continuous history of experimentation with garland making. A central tenet of dharma is that one’s social duty is individualistic and dependent upon the context:
* To illustrate the context-sensitive nature of dharma, a text by Baudhayana lists practices that would be normal in one region of India but not appropriate in another, and advises that learned men of the traditions should follow the customs of their respective districts.
* Furthermore, the ethical views applicable also depend upon one’s stage in life (asramadharma).
* One’s particular position in society determines one’s personal dharma (svadharma).
* The dharma has to be based upon one’s personal inner nature (svabhava).
* There is even special dharma that is appropriate in times of distress or emergency (apaddharma).
Hence, anything resembling a universal or absolute social law (sadharama) is characterized as a last resort and not as a first resort – a fallback if no context can be found applicable.
Combine this with the fact that social theories (called Smritis) were not divine revelations as was the case in the Abrahamic religions, but were constructed by human lawmakers who were analogous to today’s public officials. Hence, all Smritis are amendable, and indeed are intended to be modified for each era and by each society. This is a very progressive social mandate, and to freeze Indian social norms is, in fact, a travesty based on ignorance.
This pluralistic social theory is deeply rooted in indigenous religions. In the Bhagavadagita (IX. 23-25), Krishna proclaims that the devotees who worship other deities are in fact worshipping Him; and that those who offer worship to various other deities or natural powers also reach the goals they desire.
Dr. P. V. Kane has researched ancient India’s pluralism, and concluded emphatically that there was no state sponsored religious exclusivism. In particular, Kashmir’s history of garland making spans several millennia. Its identity was not based on any religion. Kashmiris of all religions lived in harmony, and Kashmir was the incubator of Kashmir Shaivism, much of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism. Kashmir’s survival as a garland making culture is a crucial challenge to the future of pluralism in the world.
The ‘Kashmir Issue’
No fruitful discussion can begin with ‘the Kashmir issue’ as though it were a stand-alone real estate dispute.The root problem between India and Pakistan is not ‘Kashmir’. Neither is it about Islam’s theology nor its internal social practices. Rather, it is the clash between worldviews resulting from the external projection of Islam — dar-ul-islam versus dar-ul-harb. This manifests as Pakistan’s two-nation worldview versus India’s pluralistic worldview.
The validity and success of either worldview necessitates the defeat of the other:
* For, if Pakistan’s worldview were right, then Muslims everywhere require their own country in order to live as good Muslims. This would mean that Indian pluralism would have to fail, and Indian Muslims would need their own separate nation as well.
* On the other hand, if India’s worldview were right, and Indian Muslims lived happily in a pluralistic society, then the very foundation of Pakistan’s existence would become unglued and there would be a call for re-unification.
If both India and Pakistan were to adopt a common worldview, there could be a stable peace, regardless of which worldview it was:
* If both adopted the two-nation theory, there would be exclusive and separate nations for Muslims and Hindus, respectively. The practicalities of implementation would be horrendous, given the massive and dispersed Indian Muslim population. But each would eventually become homogeneous internally.
* If both adopted the one-nation theory, they would re-unify.
I disfavor the first choice, because it would set a horrible precedence for humanity at large: If India were to fail as the world’s oldest surviving garland making civilization, it would mean that any geographical region of the world with a significant Muslim minority, even with a small population (such as Kashmir’s), would eventually demand separation from the dar-ul-harb. Given the empirical fact of a faster birth rate than the rest of the population, Muslims everywhere would sooner or later have the same kinds of fights with dar-ul-harb as in Bosnia, pre-partition India, Philippines, Kashmir, and so forth.
Partitions into Muslim nations could never be complete until there were no others left. Such a theocracy would be the ultimate charcoal burning social structure.
This would eventually become the biggest nightmare for the United States, China and other countries, given their own demographic trends.
The second scenario may not be politically acceptable to Pakistan. This leads us to the hard question of reformation.
The Hard Question
Rather than pretending that these problems have “nothing to do with religion,” or fearing that it would be politically incorrect to address this issue, non-Muslim thinkers and liberal Islamic leaders should brainstorm the following question:
Under what socio-political mutual understandings could it become attractive for Muslims to live in integrated harmony with non-Muslims, even where the Muslims are a majority or a significant minority?
In other words, let’s negotiate a framework for Islamic pluralism, separation of mosque and state, and democracy.
The West’s failure to understand this clash of worldviews, and its continued approach to Kashmir as theproblem in isolation, could end up creating another Palestine-like unsolvable crisis. This crisis would be worse, and involve massive populations and nukes.
There needs to be a paradigm shift in defining the problem. India should take the moral, intellectual and diplomatic high ground to debate: one nation (pluralism) versus two nation (exclusivism) theories. In other words, the real issue is garland making versus charcoal burning.

By Dr. Rajiv Malhotra Ji, Our Bare Bhai - Infinity foundation, USA
1. See http://alfa.nic.in/const/preamble.html Also, note that Article 15 explicitly prohibits “discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.”
2. See http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part9.html
3. Jinnah did have a vision as a moderate, although in an overall Islamic context. In his presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 11, 1947, Jinnah said: “Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” Contemporary Pakistanis are often trying to deny this secularist call by Jinnah.
4. See http://www.pakistan-embassy.com/pages/formA.htm This url is to Pak Embassy in DC, giving the official government form to get a passport.
5. In search of identity by Mubarak Ali. Dawn, Karachi. May 7, 2000.
6. What kind of state do we want? by Khaled Ahmed. The Friday Times. January 25, 2002.
7. Pakistan not meant to be secular. BBC , 30 January, 2002.
8. In search of identity by Mubarak Ali. Dawn, Karachi. May 7, 2000.
9. The concept of Pakistan by Kamal Azfar. The Friday Times.
10. See the article titled, Separating Urdu from Sanskrit at: http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2001-weekly/nos-23-12-2001/lit.htm#4
11. This term is named after Lord Macaulay, who pioneered the British program to replace Indian languages with English, to remove respect for indigenous ideas and values, so as to create intellectual dependence and reverence for the colonizers. This was a very essential part of the colonizing process, and its crushing impact is still being felt.
12. What kind of state do we want? by Khaled Ahmed. The Friday Times. January 25, 2002.
13. Dr. P. V. Kane, History of Dharmasastra. Volume III, second edition, 1973, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona. p.883.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Acharya Chanakya (350-275 BCE) , He traditionally identified as Kautilya

Life story

Acharya Chanakya (350-275 BCE) , he traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta 


Chanakya's birthplace is unknown , possibly Acharya Chanakya born in Kusumpur near Pataliputra (modern day Patna) city in ancient India . According to the Buddhist text Mahavamsa Tika, his birthplace was Taxila. According to some other Jain accounts, he was a native of South India. His father name  was "Chanak"
When Chanakya was born he had a full set of teeth, which is a sign that he would become a king or an emperor. But since he was born in a Brahmin family, it was considered inappropriate. Thus, his teeth were broken and it was predicted that he would make another person a king and rule through him
Even as a child, Chanakya had the qualities of a born leader. His level of knowledge was beyond children of his age.

Chanakya's Education

Rishi Canak named his son as "Chanakya". Being a teacher himself, he knew the importance of education. Taxila was one of the world centres for education. At a very early age little Chanakya started studying Vedas. The Vedas; considered to be the toughest scriptures to study were completely studied and memorized by Chanakya in his infancy. He was attracted to studies in politics. In politics Chanakya’s acumen and shrewdness was visible right from childhood. He was a student of politics right from child hood. Known as a masterful political strategist, He knew how to put his own people in the opposite camp and spy the enemy without his knowledge before destroying him forever. Chanakya was an ace in turning tables in his favour irrespective of the circumstances. He never budged to pressure tactics by the ruthless politicians. In this way after studying religion and politics, he turned his attention to economics, which remained his lifelong friend. "Nitishastra", a treatise on the ideal way of life shows his in depth study of the Indian way of life

Life as a student

Takshashila, (later corrupted as Taxila),one of the topmost centers of education at that time in India became Chanakya’s breeding ground of acquiring knowledge in the practical and theoretical aspect. The teachers were highly knowledgeable who used to teach sons of kings. It is said that a certain teacher had 101 students and all of them were princes! The university at Taxila was well versed in teaching the subjects using the best of practical knowledge acquired by the teachers. The age of entering the university was sixteen. The branches of studies most sought after in around India ranged from law, medicine, warfare and other indigenous forms of learning. The four Vedas, archery, hunting, elephant-lore and 18 arts were taught at the university of Taxila. So prominent was the place where Chanakya received his education that it goes to show the making of the genius. The very requirements of admission filtered out the outlawed and people with lesser credentials.
After acquiring vast knowledge in various branches of study he wanted everybody to get benefited. He believed in the broadcasting of knowledge and not in the storage of it. So famous was Chanakya in the vicinity of the university that he had many nicknames. He was called variously by different people, namely – Vishnugupta, Kautilya and Chanakya. The whole nation was bewildered by the cleverness and wit of this seemingly small boy who went on to single handedly unify the country with the sheer power of his character. He lived his life working to his capacity in pursuit of his vision of a happy strong and prosperous India.

Taxila University

At a time when the Dark Ages were looming large, the existence of a university of Taxila’s grandeur really makes India stand apart way ahead of the European countries who struggled with ignorance and total information blackout. For the Indian subcontinent Taxila stood as a light house of higher knowledge and pride of India. In the present day world, Taxila is situated in Pakistan at a place called Rawalpindi. The university accommodated more than 10,000 students at a time. The university offered courses spanning a period of more than eight years. The students were admitted after graduating from their own countries. Aspiring students opted for elective subjects going for in depth studies in specialized branches of learning. After graduating from the university, the students are recognized as the best scholars in the subcontinent. It became a cultural heritage as time passed. Taxila was the junction where people of different origins mingled with each other and exchanged knowledge of their countries. The university was famous as "Taxila" university, named after the city where it was situated. The king and rich people of the region used to donate lavishly for the development of the university. In the religious scriptures also, Taxila is mentioned as the place where the king of snakes, Vasuki selected Taxila for the dissemination of knowledge on earth.
Here it would be essential to mention briefly the range of subjects taught in the university of Taxila.
(1) Science,
(2) Philosophy,
(3) Ayurveda,
(4) Grammar of various languages,
(5) Mathematics,
(6) Economics,
(7) Astrology,
(8) Geography,
(9) Astronomy,
(10) Surgical science,
(11) Agricultural sciences, (12) Archery and Ancient and Modern Sciences.
The university also used to conduct researches on various subjects.

Commotion in Taxila

Gandhar Republic was not able to come out of the shock of the comprehensive defeat at the hands of the province of Porus, when a new contingency starred in the eyes of Taxila. Thousands of refugees poured in Taxila as a result of the widespread attacks of the armies of Alexander. These people were not productive for the state as they didn't come to Taxila to acquire knowledge or in search of jobs. They didn't have money or any kind of assets to buy themselves the essential commodities. To resolve the problem, a meeting was convened by the rulers of the neighboring countries and the king of Taxila. The knowledgeable people who gathered to give their opinions on the problem faced by Taxila, gave out their suggestions. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that the refugees must be given cover under humanitarian grounds. So, in line with the decision taken, a stretch of land outside Taxila was allotted for the refugees. They were allowed to enter Taxila after proving their identity with the sentry. In this way what appeared to be a calamity was appeased without
much ado. The incident was just a precursor to a series of events which reverberated across India as a result of the attacks of Alexander.

Move towards Patliputra

Though Chanakya was just a professor in the Taxila University which seemed to be far away from the happenings in the country, he actually was able to influence the governments in a big way. His students looked at him as an ideal teacher who inspired and exemplified great knowledge. His students respected him and were ready to fight at any moment at his orders. Two of his students who have been mentioned at various instances were Bhadrabhatt and Purushdutt. In the events that unfolded in the life of Chanakya, these two played a pivotal role in the achievement of his goals. It is rumored that they acted as spies for Chanakya, collecting information about his enemies.
Somehow, Chanakya came to know that there was a chance of foreign invasion. Europe’s great warrior Salukes was readying his armies to attack the weakened republics of India. There were grave designs threatening the unity and integrity of the nation. In such a scenario the ruler of Patliputra, Mahanand was squeezing the common man of his wealth with an object of enriching his own exchequer. Chanakya was aware of the internal and external threats of the country. On the one hand, the rulers of the neighboring countries were looking for the slightest of chance to annex the prosperous regions of the country and on the other hand, foreign invaders started moving towards the country with an expectation of easily smothering the country. These thoughts gave Chanakya sleepless nights. He envisioned his country clutched in the chains of slavery and defeated because of internal squabbles and differences. So he decided on the historical day, thus saying,
"Now the time has come to leave the university. The scrupulous rulers of the country must be uprooted and there is a need to strengthen the country politically and economically. My first and foremost duty is to save the country of the foreign invaders and salvage this dangerous proposition."
With these thoughts in mind, he left Taxila University for Patliputra which paved the way for watershed changes in the politics of India and Patliputra.

Patliputra – The city of fortunes

Patliputra, (presently known as Patna) has been historically a very important city politically and strategically. Like Delhi, Patliputra has seen the ups and downs of development and great reversals. The well known Chinese traveler Fahian, who visited the city in 399 BC described it as prosperous city endowed with rich natural resources. At the same time, another Chinese traveler Huen sang described it as a city of rubbles and ruins.
Shishunagvanshi established the city on the southern bank of the Ganges. It was addressed with different names at different times. To. illustrate a few names, Pushpapur, Pushpanagar, Patliputra and Patna.
The city was industrious in producing essential commodities and luxurious goods for the rich. When Chanakya entered the city, it was known for respecting knowledgeable people and scholars. The intellectuals from across the country were warmly invited for the intercourse of new ideas and development of the state. It was virtually the city of fortunes as it recognized the true talent and rewarded richly for the work done by an individual. No wonder Chanakya decided to start his glorious campaign from Patliputra.

"I will destroy you"

Dhanananda, the ruler of Patliputra was unscrupulous and cruel by nature. He was always busy gathering money without thinking about consequences. He was always dissatisfied with the amount of money he had. Collecting taxes exorbitantly, he was a villain in the public eye. There was public outrage on the taxes which were collected on unwanted things. The main aim of collecting taxes was to serve the selfish interests of the king. There were taxes on hides, tax on wood and tax even on stone! The amount of money which Dhanananda had was unimaginable.
When Chanakya arrived at Patliputra, there was a change in the way he ran his kingdom. He gave gifts to the poor and was on the way of becoming lenient in administration. He had formed a trust or committee to administer his gifts and charities. The committee was headed by scholars and influential people of the society. It is said that the president had the powers to make up to ten million gold coins.
Since Chanakya was a great scholar from Taxila, he was included in the committee for charity. Chanakya later on became the president of the ‘Sungha’ (Trust). The Sungha used to help the king in the distribution of the money allotted for charity to the different sections of the society. In the process of delegation of the funds for charity, the president of the trust had to meet the king frequently. When Chanakya met the king for the first time, he was disgusted at the ugly appearance of Chanakya. As time passed he developed contempt for Chanakya. There was no refinement in words and conduct. To increase the fire between Dhanananda and Chanakya, the courtiers dissuaded the king from having a cordial relationship with Chanakya. Chanakya acted like a thorough professional and avoided praising the king. He always spoke bluntly and tersely. The king did not like the way Chanakya behaved with him. The king removed Chanakya from the post of president without any reasons. Chanakya was enraged at the proposition of being exploited by the less knowledgeable king. So, he erupted like a volcano on the king, and said, " Arrogance in you has eroded the respect which I had for you. You have removed me from the presidentship for no fault of mine. You can’t act in a way detrimental to the demeanor of a king. You think there is none to question you? You have removed me from my rightful place and I will dethrone you !"

Chanakya meets Chandragupta

Just after getting humiliated from the king, Chanakya scampered through the streets of Patliputra. In a hurried walk, he stumbled upon a stump of grass and was about to fall. Chanakya the great scholar had his own style of handling things. He looked at the roots of the grass and quickly got into action. Though he was angry, he never let his anger to get out of control. He directed the anger in the right direction. Calmly, he sat down in the burning sun, removed that grass from the roots from the earth. After making sure that not even a single strand of grass is left, he resumed his journey.
While Chanakya was engrossed in removing the grass from the ground, a young man was closely watching the act of Chanakya. The young man was Chandragupta, the would be emperor of the Mauryan Empire. He looked bright. Looking at the determination of Chanakya, he was impressed and wanted to talk to the knowledgeable man.
He went to Chanakya, addressed him respectfully, and took him into the choultry. Chanakya asked him about his family background beginning his talk by asking, "Who are you? You seem to be worried."
The young man stepped forward with great reverence and said, "Sir, my name is Chandragupta. Yes, you are correct I am in great trouble but should I trouble you with my worries?"
Chanakya calmed down the young man by saying, "You can tell me about your troubles with freewill and without any ambiguities. If I am capable enough, I’ll definitely help you."
"I am the grandson of king Sarvarthasiddhi, He had two wives, Sunandadevi and Muradevi. Sunanda got nine sons called the Navanandas. Mura, had only one which was my father. The Nandas tried to kill my father time and again. We were more than hundred brothers. The Nandas out of jealousy, tried to kill all of us. Somehow I survived and I am totally disgusted with my life. I want to take revenge on the Nandas who are ruling over the country presently."
Chanakya who was freshly wounded by the Nandas found a companion to destroy the distraught king. Chanakya was greatly moved by the tale of woe. He was emotionally charged listening to the story of Chandragupta and vowed to destroy the Nandas and get Chandragupta his rightful place as a king of Patliputra. Chanakya said "I will get you the kingship, Chandragupta. From that day on Chanakya and Chandragupta worked in tandem to destroy the corrupt and unscrupulous rule of the Nandas.
Chandragupta has not been well documented. The place of birth, family background and several details regarding his life are not available. Several things have been said and written about his family and parents. Probably, he belonged to the Moria community. He might have got the name Chandragupta Maurya afterwards and his royal lineage was known as the Maurya dynasty. His mother was perhaps the daughter of a village headman. His father was the king of a forest area called Pippatavana, who died in a war. Chandragupta came to Patliputra along with his mother.
As a boy Chandragupta was a born leader. Even as a boy, he was accepted as a leader by all. As a boy he used to mimic the king’ court. His bravery and shrewdness were visible right from childhood. As Chanakya was moving along the streets of Patliputra, he saw little Chandragupta enacting the king. Sitting on the large throne, the little boy shouted against injustice and corrupt practices of the kings and people in general. Looking at the bright face of Chandragupta, he was impressed at the intellect and wisdom in the boy’s voice. For seven or eight years Chandragupta had his education there, and that too with selected teachers shortlisted by Chanakya himself. The art of warfare and the art of governance were mastered by Chandragupta with equal expertise.

The Greek invader

The relationship between Chandragupta and Chanakya bloomed through the years developing into a strong force for their enemies. Most of the historical events took place right under the eyes of Chanakya and Chandragupta. The troops of Alexander and the umpteen number of invaders who ravaged the subcontinent for decades around India. It is said that Chandragupta met Alexander. The bold and arrogant talk by Chandragupta enraged Alexander as a result of which Chandragupta was arrested. Chanakya’s training to Chandragupta was over by now and he thought it to be the right occasion to let Chandragupta taste the practical aspect of warfare. Chanakya closely observed the movement and strategies employed by Alexander. He also became aware of the weaknesses of the Indian rulers.

Freedom from the Greeks

The rustic boy that Chandragupta was, now had matured into a sound military commander. The source of strength for Chandragupta and his army was the power of mind and the towering personality of Chanakya. In that war of independence for northern India, Chandragupta was the physical instrument, while its thinking brain was Chanakya.
The deterioration of the prowess of Alexander happened because of the weakening of Satraps or the commanding officers. Niccosar, a Satrap was killed even when Alexander was alive. Another formidable Satrap called Philip, was killed weakening Alexander like never before. After Alexander’s death in Babylon, all his Satraps were either killed or dislodged , one by one. Alexander’s lieutenants divided his empire among themselves in 321 BC. No realm east of the Indus – the River Sindhu was mentioned in that settlement. It meant that the Greeks themselves had accepted that this region had gone out of their rule.

Defeat of the Nanda king

Before defeating the Nandas, Chanakya had to employ various strategies before victory. Chanakya firstly tested the policy of attacking the core of the city. The policy met with defeats again and again. With the change in strategy, Chanakya and Chandragupta began the attack on the borders of the Magadha Empire. Again there were mistakes. The troops were not stationed in the areas conquered. So when they marched forward, the people of the conquered areas joined together again and encircled their army. Thus those who had been defeated had to be fought again and again
Chandragupta and Chanakya learnt lessons from these mistakes. They now stationed troops in the conquered regions. So those enemies would not raise and cause any trouble. Chanakya with his cleverness had earlier won the friendship of king Parvataka (or Porus Second). Now Parvataka, his brother Vairochaka and son Malayeketu came with their armies to help them. The Nanda king had the support of a big army. The other equally important support was the guidance of his very able minister, Amatya Rakshasa. This minister was very intelligent and had unlimited loyalty to the king. Chanakya knew that getting Amatya out of his way was the only way of defeating King Nanda. Chanakya devised a plan which involved planting of spies in the enemy camp. In a very short span of time, the weaknesses of the Nandas became visible. Parallely, the Nandas and Amatya Rakshasa made plans to counter any attacks by Chanakya.
Details are not available regarding the war between the Nandas on the one hand and Chandragupta and Chanakya on the other. But it was a keen and bitter fight. The Nanda king died. His sons and relatives also died. Even Amatya Rakshasa was helpless. Chandragupta was victorious proving the foresight of Chanakya regarding his abilities. The old king and his wife retired to the forest. It is said that after sometime Chanakya had the old king and his wife killed , because he thought that if Amatya Rakshasa made them take a son by the rights of adoption, there would be claimants to the throne. He wanted the lineage of the Nandas should be totally eliminated.

The true aspect of Chanakya

The momentous life of Chanakya reminds us of a revengeful saga where the individual is obsessed by the idea of taking revenge. But personal revenge was not the aim of Chanakya. He wanted that the kingdom should be secure and that the administration should go on smoothly, bringing happiness to the people. He thought that there were two ways of ensuring the happiness of the people. Firstly, Amatya Rakshasa had to be made Chandragupta’s minister; Secondly, a book must be written, laying down how a king should conduct himself, how he should protect himself and the kingdom from the enemies, how to ensure law and order, and so on.
By writing "Arthashastra" and "Nitishastra", Chanakya has become a
never ending phenomena. He has truly guided the generations with his
wisdom . It would ideally suit the closing of the life of Chanakya with a
couple of quotations by Chanakya
"The secret task of a king is to strive for the welfare of his people incessantly.
The administration of the kingdom is his religious duty. His greatest gift would
be to treat all as equals."
"The happiness of the commoners is the happiness of the king. Their
welfare is his welfare. A king should never think of his personal interest
or welfare, but should try to find his joy in the joy of his subjects."
These words were written 2300 years ago by Chanakya, the expert
statesman and wise sage. And Chanakya is also another name for
courage and perseverance.
http://chanakyasstory.blogspot.in, Sabhar from Published Blog

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

‘Secular’ Tokenism - The loosers & The gainers

Editorial : The ‘Secular’ Tokenism

Almost all parties are all the time encouraging the Muslims to maintain their separate identity just because they want their bloc vote. Is that the way to make ‘Hindustanis’ out of them? It is obvious that the attitude of Hindus has to be set right first, before we attempt setting right the Muslims. (Shri MS Golwalkar (Guruji), while interacting with Newspaper Editors at Delhi, June 1970, Issues with Indian Muslims.) 
Here comes the Ramazan and the whole ‘secular’ brigade in India gear up to prove their credentials. This year was not an exception. The new found ‘common man’ leadership of Delhi threw a lavish party, with no less than the Ambassador of Pakistan as one of the invitees. The party thrown by the Congress President was more a show of opposition unity to the government than a religious function. Perhaps the most curious one was the Iftar reception hosted by Honourable President of India, as everyone was interested in knowing whether the Prime Minister of this great ‘secular’ nation would be attending the Iftar hosted by the Constitutional head of India. Like last year, Prime Minister did not join the party and  preferred to continue with his scheduled meeting with the CMs of the North-eastern states. It was good enough reason to question his ‘secular’ credential. Some went on questioning his performing of Pooja at Kashi Vishwanath and Pashupatinath. The issue is not who attended or not attended the Iftar reception but why this one religious event becomes a symbol of ‘secular’ bonhomie and tokenism?
As per the Rashtrapati Bhawan records, Iftar reception is hosted there since 1993. After that, during 2002-07, the then President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam preferred to do away with the customary reception. Does that mean he was less ‘secular’ by any means? By doing away with a custom, did he demean the office of President? In fact, Iftar is a serious religious ritual of breaking day long fast during Ramazan by the ‘faithful’. It definitely has the message of community living and therefore, others who are not following Islam, joining the event is incidental. The real message of ‘blessings and forgiveness’ is missed out in this political tokenism. It is a mockery of the religion in which charity and generosity  towards poor and less-privileged through common meals is expected. The ridiculous custom of non-fasting people feeding the well-fed guests for political calculation is against the spirit of any religious ritual. More importantly, individuals or organisations hosting any religious function is fine but justifying such rituals in the name of ‘secularism’ is ridiculous. Incidentally, it is all Hindu politicians who use this tokenism to promote vote-bank politics.
Unfortunately in India, ‘secularism’ has become a convenient tool to further the communal cause. Since the insertion of this foreign originated term in Preamble to the Indian Constitution, our political discourse has become more communal. We need to understand that equal respect for all ways of worships is there in Indian ethos and that is much bigger than the spirit of tolerance expected in European version of ‘secularism’. Such practices of ‘tokenism’ may help some politicians to appease some community but it definitely encourages minoritism and undermines our ethos by harping on identity politics.    

With thanks from "organisers"

Monday, July 20, 2015

राष्ट्रीय उत्सवों का पुनरुद्धार – संस्कृति के व्यावसायीकरण का प्रतिकार

राष्ट्रीय उत्सवों का पुनरुद्धार – संस्कृति के व्यावसायीकरण का प्रतिकार

guru-purnimaवैदिक काल से लेकर समकालीन इतिहास तक, हमें ऐसे महान संत और विद्वान मिलते हैं, जो हमें यह तथ्य विस्तारपूर्वक बताते हैं कि कैसे और क्यों यह एक राष्ट्र है. लेकिन वर्ष 1947 को स्वतंत्रता दिवस पर अपने पहले भाषण में, पं. नेहरू ने कहा कि इंडिया दैट इज भारत एक बनता हुआ राष्ट्र है. इससे उनका आशय यह था कि हम अतीत में एक राष्ट्र नहीं रहे थे. तब से अब तक नीति यही रही है. श्री अरबिंदो और श्री राधा कुमुद मुखर्जी जैसे नेहरू के स्वयं के समकालीनों ने इतिहास से व्यापक उद्धरण देते हुए हमारे राष्ट्रीय लोकाचार के बारे में विस्तार से लिखा है.
दुर्भाग्यवश, नीति उन लोगों द्वारा निर्धारित की जाती है, जिनके हाथों में शक्ति होती है. अपने स्वयं के सिद्धांत को आगे बढ़ाने के लिए, पं. नेहरू और उनके बाद की कांग्रेस सरकारों ने शिक्षित लोगों के मन से देसी ऐतिहासिक स्मृतियों को चुनौती देने और मिटाने के लिए सरकारी मशीनरी का इस्तेमाल किया. उन्हें लगा कि ऐसा करना यह दिखाने के लिए जरूरी था कि भारत की संस्कृति हिन्दू नहीं, बल्कि मिश्रित संस्कृति थी. इस प्रकार उन्होंने मैकाले की यह योजना अपनाई कि “एक ऐसा वर्ग तैयार किया जाए, जो रक्त और रंग से भारतीय हो, लेकिन आचार, विचार और बुद्धि से ब्रिटिश हो.” इस दिशा में एक प्रयास ऐसे “दिवस और जन्मदिन” मनाकर किया गया, जो या तो हाल के इतिहास से संबंधित हों, या पश्चिमी लोकाचार के विचारों के इर्दगिर्द केंद्रित हो. इससे आशय हिंदुओं के अपने अतीत के साथ सांस्कृतिक संबंधों का निरसन करना था. इन विचारों को अंग्रेजी मीडिया के एक बड़े वर्ग द्वारा और व्यापक पैमाने पर विज्ञापन के जरिए प्रचारित किया गया.
संस्कृति का व्यावसायीकरण -
आधुनिकता के नाम पर किस चीज को बढ़ावा दिया जा रहा है और कैसे संस्कृति का व्यावसायीकरण किया जा रहा है, इस पर एक सरसरी नजर-
- पिछले कुछ वर्षों से “वैलेंटाइन्स डे” ​​लोकप्रिय कराने के लिए मानो अंधाधुंध बमबारी की जा रही है. आज यह भारत में 1500 करोड़ रुपए का कारोबार है. इसमें रिश्तों में दरार पैदा करने की क्षमता है और यह प्रेम की अवधारणा को बाजार बना रहा है. सिंगल पेरेन्ट्स डे, गे एंड लेस्बियन डे जैसी घटनाओं को भी धीरे-धीरे प्रोत्साहित किया जा रहा है.
- 01 जनवरी को नव वर्ष के रूप में मनाना. 01 जनवरी एक रोमन परंपरा थी, जिसे बाद में उस दिन के तौर पर प्रचारित और स्थापित किया गया, जिस दिन यीशु का खतना किया गया माना जाता है. एसोसिएटेड चैम्बर्स ऑफ कॉमर्स एंड इंडस्ट्री (एसोचैम) द्वारा भारत के प्रमुख शहरों में कराए गए एक सर्वेक्षण में कहा गया है कि पिछले 10 वर्षों में किशोरों के बीच 01 जनवरी (न्यू इयर्स ईव) पर शराब की खपत में 100% की वृद्धि हुई है. ऐसे में यह आश्चर्य की बात नहीं है कि शराब कंपनियां इसे जिंदा बनाए रखने के लिए भारी निवेश कर रही हैं.
जब हम किसी ऐसी घटना का जश्न मनाते हैं, जिसकी जड़ें हिंदू लोकाचार में निहित हों, तो उसके उत्सव का प्रकार उन घटनाओं के जश्न से बहुत अलग होता है, जिनकी जड़ें पश्चिम में हैं. हिंदू नव वर्ष का उत्सव मनाने और न्यू इयर्स डे मनाने में एक स्पष्ट भिन्नता दिखती है.
- किसी युवा महिला को “बहनजी” कहकर पुकारना शहरी क्षेत्रों में अपमानजनक माना जाता है, और धीरे-धीरे रक्षाबंधन, जो कि एकजुटता का एक सामाजिक त्यौहार है और जो सामाजिक सुरक्षा के लिए एक गारंटी का त्यौहार है, अब केवल परिवार के नजदीकी सदस्यों के बीच सीमित कर दिया गया है. अब इसका स्थान “फ्रैंडशिप डे” ​​और फ्रैंडशिप बैंड ने ले लिया है. यह सामाजिक रूप से प्रासंगिक त्यौहार को व्यावसायीकरण द्वारा हथियाए जाने का एक और उदाहरण है.
व्यास पूर्णिमा और गुरु पूजा उत्सव:
निरंकुश उदारवाद के चार्वाक जैसे विचार हमारे देश के लिए नए नहीं हैं. लेकिन हमारे ऋषियों ने यह सुनिश्चित करने की विधि तैयार की कि लोग धार्मिक मूल्यों से जुड़े रहें. उन्हें त्यौहारों को महान घटनाओं और महान लोगों के साथ जोड़ने का महत्व पता था. हम किसी घटना का जश्न क्यों और कैसे मनाते हैं, इसका हमारे मानस पर जबरदस्त प्रभाव पड़ता है.
गुरु का सम्मान करने की प्रथा हमारे देश में हजारों वर्षों से रही है. गुरु परम्परा के पुनर्स्मरण से  इस देश के युवा हमारे संतों के अतीत और पुरातन ज्ञान से जुड़ते हैं. व्यास, चाणक्य, शंकर, समर्थ रामदास, विद्यारण्य और इस तरह के हमारे अनेक अन्य महान गुरुओं के जीवन से मौलिक चिंतन, नवाचार और त्याग, वीरता, करुणा जैसे मूल्यों को आत्मसात किया जाता है. दुर्भाग्यवश, व्यास पूर्णिमा मनाना और हमारे गुरुओं के योगदान को स्वीकार करना एक धार्मिक गतिविधि मान लिया गया और उसके स्थान पर हम आधुनिक भारत में शिक्षक दिवस मनाते हैं, जो मात्र भौतिक तौर पर मनाया जाता है और जीवन के आध्यात्मिक तत्वों की अनदेखी करता है.
हमारा राष्ट्र धर्म के सिद्धांतों पर चलता है. गुरु पूजा जैसे “उत्सवों” को मनाना धर्म के सिद्धांतों की रक्षा करना है, जो पीढ़ियों को धर्म और बड़प्पन का जीवन जीने के लिए प्रेरित करती है. राष्ट्र की शांति, सद्भाव और समग्र प्रगति की यही एकमात्र गारंटी है.

आयुष नदिमपल्ली