Monday, 30 May 2016

The Four People's Principles

Today our country India is facing huge problems. 70% of our people are living in horrible poverty, with massive unemployment, skyrocketing prices, massive problems of healthcare, education, housing etc. 48 farmers have been committing suicide on an average every day, and 47% of our children are malnourished, a figure which is over 10% higher than in countries of sub-Saharan Africa e.g. Ethiopia and Somalia.  

Our national aim must be to abolish these evils and make our country highly prosperous for all our citizens.

To address the nation’s problems I am propounding the Four People’s Principles (following Sun Yat Sen’s Three People’s Principles) which should be our guiding principles for solving India’s problems. These are:

1. Science 
3. Livelihood, 
 4. Unity of the People

1. Science

When our country was on the scientific path it prospered.  With the aid of science we had built mighty civilizations thousands of years ago when most people in Europe (except in Greece and Rome) were living in forests. We had made outstanding scientific discoveries e.g. the decimal system in mathematics, plastic surgery in medicine, etc. We had solved the problem of town planning 5000 years earlier in the Indus Valley Civilization, with covered drains, sewage system, etc (something which is lacking even today in most cities in India). However, we subsequently took to the unscientific path of superstitions and empty rituals, which has led us to disaster. The way out for our nation is to go back again to the scientific path shown by our great ancestors – the path of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta, Sushrut and Charak, Ramanujan and Raman, Panini and Patanjali. I will give just three examples of our scientific achievements in ancient times.

 (a)       The decimal system was perhaps the most revolutionary and greatest scientific achievement in the ancient world. The numbers in the decimal system were called Arabic numerals by the Europeans, but surprisingly the Arabs called them Hindu numerals. Were they really Arabic or Hindu? In this connection it may be mentioned that the languages Urdu, Persian and Arabic are written from right to left but if you ask any speaker of these languages to write any number e.g. 257 he will write the number from left to right. This shows that these numbers were taken from a language which was written from left to right and not from right to left.  It is accepted now that these numbers came from India and they were copied by the Arabs from us.

I would like to illustrate the revolutionary significance of the decimal system. As we all know, ancient Rome was a great civilization, the civilization of Caesar and Augustus. But the ancient Romans felt very uncomfortable with numbers above 1000. This was because they wrote their numbers in alphabets, I standing for 1, V for 5, X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500 and M for 1000. There was no alphabet expressing a number higher than 1000. If one would have asked an ancient Roman to write the number one million he would have almost gone crazy because to write one million he would have to write the letter M which stands for millennium (or one thousand)  one thousand times. In the Roman numerals to write 2000 we have to write MM, to write 3000 we have to write MMM, and to write one million one had to write M one thousand times.

            On  the  other hand, under our system to express  one   million   we  have just to  write  the  number  one  followed   by  six  zeros.  We  could   thus   express astronomically high numbers by simply adding zeros. Thus, if  we  keep   adding 2 zeros  to  1000  we  get  lac, crore, arab, kharab,  padma,   neel,   shankh,  mahashankh,   etc.  On  the  other hand, in  the Roman numerals there is no zero. Zero  was  an invention of ancient India and progress was not possible without this invention.

(b)         5000 years ago in the Indus Valley Civilization we had created the system of town planning, with covered drains, sewage system, etc., something which is absent even today in most cities of India.

(c)         Plastic surgery was invented in India as early as the 6th Century B.C., while the Westerners discovered it only about 200 years ago.

I am not going into our other great scientific achievements (for details see ‘Sanskrit as a Language of Science on the website I have only referred to it to prove that there is nothing inherently inferior in us.

However, today there is no doubt that we are far behind the Western countries in science, and that is the real cause of our poverty and other social evils.

We must therefore spread science on a massive scale to every nook and corner of our country. And by science I do not mean physics, chemistry and biology alone. I mean the entire scientific outlook. We must spread rational and logical thinking among our masses and make them give up backwardness and superstitions. The entire mindset of our masses, who are presently steeped in casteism, communalism and superstitions must be changed, and made scientific.

I must clarify that by science I do not mean the natural sciences alone, I also include the social sciences. Today a worldwide recession is going on – infact the Second Great Depression after the first one from 1929 t0 1939 – and this can only be solved by knowledge of economic theory, not by knowledge of natural sciences or engineering.

2. Democracy

The second Great People’s Principle is Democracy.

In this connection it is interesting to note that when King Ajatshatru of Magadha was planning to attack the Vajjian democracy he sent a messenger to the Buddha for his advice. Instead of speaking to this messenger, the Buddha said to one of his disciples “Have you heard Anand,  that the Vajjians foregather often and frequent the public meetings of their clan? So long, Anand, as the Vajjians so foregather and so frequent the public meetings of their clan, so long they may be expected not to decline but to prosper.

Similarly in The Avadan Shatak, a Buddhist Sanskrit text of the second century A.D it is mentioned that a group of merchants went from North India to the Deccan and were asked by the Deccan King as to who was the king who ruled over North India. The merchants replied ”Deva, kechit deshah ganadheena, kechit rajaadheena, iti” which means “Your Majesty, some regions are under democratic rule, while others are under kings”. This shows that democracy is nothing new to India.

The method of shastrarthas was developed in ancient India, which permitted free discussion in the presence of a large assembly of people. This resulted not only in tremendous growth in philosophy, law, grammar etc but also tremendous growth in science including medicine, mathematics, astronomy etc.

Some people say that democracy is not good for India. I totally disagree. The problem in India is not that there is too much democracy but too little. We need more democracy, not less, and that means educating the masses, raising their cultural level, and involving them actively in the task of national reconstruction. The present democracy we have in India is phoney democracy, largely based on  caste and religious vote banks. It does not involve the people in governance. We must have genuine democracy if we are to prosper.

It may be mentioned that democracy and science go hand in hand. Scientific growth requires certain supportive values viz. freedom to think, to criticize, and to dissent, tolerance, plurality, and free flow of information. These precisely are the values of a democratic society  

3. Livelihood  

The third great people’s principle is livelihood for the masses.

Today 80% people in India are poor, and there is massive unemployment, lack of healthcare, housing, good education, etc.

What we have noticed in the last 25 years or so is that the rich have become richer, and the divide between rich and poor has greatly increased. The economic growth in India has benefited only a handful of people. Unless this trend is stopped it will be disastrous for the country.

As the great French thinker Rousseau wrote:

“It is obviously contrary to the law of nature for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities while the starving multitudes lack the necessities of life.”  (Rousseau: Discourse on the Origins of Inequality)

We must, using our creativity, find out ways of raising the standard of living of the masses. Ultimately, that is what matters. Whether the system we adopt is called capitalism or socialism or communism or any other ism, the real test is whether the standard of living of the masses is going up under that system or not. Surely a system in which a quarter million farmers committed suicide in the last 15 years and vast masses live in abject poverty is totally unacceptable.

Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in Western Europe in the 18th Century, there was feudalism everywhere, and in the feudal system the methods of production (the bullock in India and the horse in Europe) were so primitive that very little wealth was generated, and so only a handful of people could be rich while the rest had to be poor. When the cake is small obviously few people can eat it.

In contrast, modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated to meet the basic needs of everyone. This being so, now no one need be poor. And it is the duty of the state to ensure that no one today remains poor, unemployed, sick, illiterate or homeless.

4. Unity of the people
India is a country of great diversity having a large number of castes, languages, religions, ethnic groups, etc., because it is broadly a country of immigrants (see the article ‘Kalidas Ghalib Academy for Mutual Understanding, and the video ‘What is India’ on the website and online). So the only policy which will work here is secularism and giving equal respect to all communities. This was the policy of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, who was really the architect of modern India. It is this policy which was continued by Pt. Nehru and his colleagues who created our secular Constitution.

In 1947 religious passions were inflamed, and Pakistan had declared itself an Islamic State. There must have been tremendous pressure on Pt. Nehru and his colleagues to declare India a Hindu State. It is not easy to keep a cool head when passions are inflamed, but it is the greatness of our leaders that they kept a cool head and said that India will not be a Hindu but a secular State. It is for this reason that we have relatively better off in India than people in our neighbouring country.

Powerful vested interests are trying to destroy our unity and make us fight each other on the basis of religion, caste, region, language, etc. It is the duty of all patriotic people to expose these nefarious designs and maintain the unity of the people, for without that we can never progress.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A National Disgrace

I was in Toronto, Canada some years back attending a conference on Refugee Law at York University.

 There were delegates from many countries, including South Africa.

 When my turn came to speak, I stood up and said, addressing the South Africans, who were all blacks :

 " You say you were oppressed by the white apatheid regime. But has your behaviour been any better ? When refugees came from Zimbabwe to South Africa with only the clothes on their backs, who were oppressed by the tyrannical regime in Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe, you should have been kind to them and given them all help. They were your black brothers of Africa.These people had lost everything, and needed help.. But instead, your people physically attacked them, killed many, and raped their women. What kind of behaviour was this ? "

 At this one South African High Court jJudge stood up and said :" Justice Katju, I apologize for the behaviour of my countrymen "

 I am reminded of this, because while we complain of the oppression by the Britishers during their rule in our country, we commit atrocities on people of Africa who are here as students, etc. These people are our guests, and we should help them and be kind to them.. In Sanskrit it is said " Atithi Devo Bhav " ( i.e. a guest is akin to God ). But do we live upto these high sounding words ?  Instead,  Africans have been regularly attacked in our country, and such incidents are continuing.

 This is a national disgraced.

Siddhis---The African Indians

When I went to Gujrat many years ago I visited Somnath. There I met some Siddhis, the African Indians, whose ancestors came to India, probably as slaves centuries ago ( in Pakistan they are known as 'Sheedis' ). They are mostly Muslims, and speak Gujrati, but have retained some of their African culture. Some also live in Karnataka.

 While the ancestors of blacks in America were brought from Western Africa, the blacks in Asia were probably brought from Zanzibar ( which is an island, now part of Tanzania ), in Eastern Africa.

 I visited Zanzibar some years ago. It was once under the Sultans of Oman. There was once a large slave market in Zanzibar. Africans from the mainland were captured and brought there to be sold as slaves in several countries. I visited the place which was the slave market, and has been preserved, It was a horrible, dingy and gloomy place, where the captured Africans lived in terrible conditions.

 We have several accounts of Africans living in India in our history. Razia Sultan had fallen in love with Yaqut, a black man, which was said to be the cause of her downfall. In the Mutiny of 1857, 'Bob the Nailer', was said to be a black who 'nailed' every defender of the Residency in Lucknow with just one shot.

 Today these African Indians live in poverty, mostly as labourers. Our government should do everything to uplift their social conditions, and thus undo the great historical wrong done to them

The Indian people and the 'Western Pilgrimage'

The 'Western Pilgrimage', also known as the ' Journey to the West ', is one of the 4 great Chinese classic novels in Chinese literature, published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en. In English-speaking countries, the work is widely known as 'Monkey', the title of Arthur Waley's popular abridged translation

The novel is an extended account of the legendary pilgrimage of the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang ( 602-664  A.D.), known in India as Hiuen Tsang, who traveled to the "Western Regions", that is, Central Asia and India, to obtain Buddhist sacred texts (sūtras) and returned after many trials and much suffering. It retains the broad outline of Xuanzang's own account, 'Great Tang Records on the Western Regions', but the Ming dynasty novel adds elements from folk tales and the author's invention

In Indian history books Xuanzang is called Hiuen Tsang. He was a Chinese Buddhist monk who wanted to study Buddhism in India, and collect Buddhist texts to translate them into Chinese, so that Chinese scholars could study them.

 He started his journey from China in 1629, travelling via Kyrgyztan, Uzbegistan, and Afghanistan, reaching India in 1630, where he spent 13 years. He passed through the Khyber pass, visited Taxila, Peshawar, Kashmir, Lahore, Mathura, Kannauj, Kaushambhi, Shravasti, Kapilavastu, Lumbini ( birthplace of Lord Buddha ), Kushinagar ( where Lord Buddha died ), Sarnath ( where he gave his first sermon in the deer park ), Varanasi, Pataliputra ( modern Patna ), Bodh Gaya ( where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment), Nalanda ( where Xuanzang spent 2 years in the great University there studying Buddhism, grammar, logic, Sanskrit, etc ) ), Bangladesh, Kannauj, Amravati, Nagarjunakonda, Kamrup, Kanchi ( capital of the Pallavas ),  etc , He attended the 4th Buddhist Council in Kannauj, where he was applauded by Emperor Harshavardhan ).

   Going back to China he wrote his book ' Great Tang Records of the Western regions ' .in 645 A.D. and translated 653 Buddhist Sanskrit texts which he had copied and brought back

 This book was the basis on which the novel ' Western Pilgrimage ' was written during the Ming dynasty.

 In the ' Western Pilgrimage ' mention is made of a monkey called Sun Wukong, who had rebelled against the heavens. He had many powers, and using these powers saved Xuanzang from many dangers on his journey, such as from demons, monsters,  robbers, wild animals, etc. It is said that he could always recognize demons in disguise, which others could not.

In my opinion, the Indian people are like Xuanzang, on a long, difficult journey towards establishing a country whose people are prosperous, having decent lives, and a high standard of living. The monkey Sun Wukong are the patriotic, modern minded intellectuals of India , who will help the Indian people from avoiding dangers and pitfalls along this hard, long, dangerous journey, and can recognize fraudulent people, and expose them

Next Punjab government will be an AAP government.

I rarely go out, but today early morning I went for swimming. I used to swim a lot in my younger days, and know many of the swimming strokes e.g crawl, breast stroke, butterfly stroke, back stroke, etc. Now that I am old, I do it rarely, but enjoy it whenever I do. It is wonderful exercise and I recommend it to all of you especially youngsters.
After swimming I went to Saravana Bhavan at Connaught Place to have some breakfast. It is a south Indian restaurant, one of a world wide chain. I remember I had been to a Saravana restaurant in California last year.
As a Judge I hardly ever went to CP, although it was just a few miles from my official residence on Akbar Road, where I lived for several years.
There was a huge crowd in front of the CP restaurant, waiting for their number to get in. One has to register for getting a table and there is a long waiting time. After getting inside with a friend, I went to a table for two, and ordered cold coffee with ice-cream and butter masala dosa. The dosa was huge and crisp and delicious to eat.
An elderly Sikh couple were sitting at a table next to mine. I did not know them, but the Sikh gentleman, a retired banker, who is from Chandigarh, recognized me and we started talking. I told them that I have been to Punjab several times lately, and found things very bad. There were farmer suicides, wide spread drug addiction, huge corruption etc. (about which I had mentioned in my speech at Chandigarh which is on YouTube). I said that there is massive support of AAP in Punjab. Many people there told me that they had tried governments of Congress and Akali Dal, and found both useless and corrupt. So this time they will vote for 'jhadoo'. He agreed with me, and said that the next Punjab government will be an AAP government.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Demand for Bharat Ratna to ' Veer ' Savarkar

A typical modus operandi of British authorities during British rule was this : when they spotted an Indian who was then a genuine nationalist, and made fiery speeches or wrote fiery articles against British rule they would arrest him on trumped up charges, manufacture evidence and get the accused sentenced to long periods in jail through their biased judges.

 In jail the person would be given harsh treatment, solitary confinement, beatings, etc. This would usually ' soften up '  the detenue, and he would emerge as a tame person, often as a secret British agent after a secret deal with the British authorities

  This happened with many persons---M.N.Roy, Aurobindo Ghose, Veer Savarkar and Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  In 1908 a bomb blast killed a British barrister's wife and daughter in Alipore in Calcutta.. In the Alipore Bomb case Khudiram Bose was hanged, while Prafulla Chaki committed suicide when cornered.

 Aurobindo, who was a fiery revolutionary before this incident, was arrested for planning this incident on trumped up charges, and sentenced to jail. When he came out of jail he was no longer a revolutionary but had become a spiritualist, preaching nonsense like ' Integral Yoga ' ( see Life Divine )

 Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was a fiery person who said ' Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it '. He praised Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki in his newspaper, and for this was tried for sedition and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. When he came out of jail, he had mellowed, and was no longer the same man. He gave up the demand for Swaraj and became a Home Ruler.

 M.N. Roy was known to be getting money from the British.

 The same happened with Savarkar.

 This revolutionary was arrested in 1910 and sentenced to two life terms in jail, and sent to Andaman Islands, where he was softened up.

 On November 14, 1913, Savarkar sought clemency while lodged in Andamans' Cellular Jail. In his letter, asking for forgiveness, he described himself as a "prodigal son" longing to return to the "parental doors of the government". He wrote that his release from the jail will recast the faith of many Indians in the British rule. Also he said "Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise."

In 1920, the Indian National Congress and leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded his  release. Savarkar signed a statement endorsing his trial, verdict and British law, and renouncing violence, a bargain for freedom.

 On being released in 1921 Savarkar ceased being a revolutionary, and became a British collaborator,an ardent champion of Hindu militancy, thus serving the British divide and rule policy. He became President of the Hindu Mahasabha; and during the Second World War advanced the slogan ' Hinduize all politics, and militarize Hindus '. Obviously this was in furtherance of a secret deal he had struck with the British for his release

 And this is the man who is called 'veer', and for whom Bharat Ratna is proposed

 The real veers were Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen ( Masterda ), Khudiram Bose, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla, Bismil, etc. who were mostly hanged by the British

The truth about 'Veer' Savarkar

Today is the birth anniversary of 'Veer' Savarkar ( 1883-1966 ).

 Many people have praised him as a great freedom fighter, but what is the truth about him ?

 The truth is that many nationalists during British rule were arrested by the British, and given long sentences.  In jail the British authorities would give them an offer : either collaborate with us, in which case we will free you, or rot in jail for the rest of your life.

 Most of them became collaborators, including Savarkar.

 Savarkar was a nationalist only till 1910 when he was arrested, and given two life sentences.

 After serving over 10 years in jail, the British evidently made the offer of collaboration, which Savarkar accepted. On coming out of jail he started preaching Hindu communalism, and became a British agent, serving the British policy of divide and rule.

Savarkar as president of the Hindu Mahasabha, during the Second World War, advanced the slogan "Hinduize all Politics and Militarize Hindudom", he decided to support the British war effort in India seeking military training for the Hindus. 

When the Congress launched the Quit India movement in 1942, Savarkar criticised it and asked Hindus to stay active in the war effort and not disobey the government, He urged the Hindus to enlist in the armed forces to learn the "arts of war'', but this appeal was made selectively to Hindus.

 Can this man be respected and praised as a freedom fighter ?

 The real veers were Bhagat Singh, Surya Sen ( Masterda ), Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Ashfaqulla, Rajguru, Khudiram Bose, etc who were mostly hanged by the British. What was so 'veer' about Savarkar ? He had become a British agent after 1910.

Friday, 27 May 2016

A joke

In jaanleva garmiyon mein
ganne ka ras, nimboo paani, dahi pudina ki chhachh, lassi, faalooda, sharbate rooh afza, kai tarah ke joos, sattu, sharbat, tarbooz, kharbooza, ice-cream etc. etc. 
chaahe kitna bhi khaao aur piyo
kaleje mein thandak....
...Biwi (Patni) ke maike jaane par hi padti hai.

Socialism in America

 A remarkable transformation has taken place in USA.

At one time the word ' socialism ' was regarded with horror there, and to call oneself a socialist would be making oneself an outcast.

 But the victory of Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, in several states in the Democratic primaries is a significant event. It has made the word ' socialist ' respectable in USA, dsespite the fact that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination.

  This has happened because Americans are facing a recession, and unempoyment, and many Americans have realised that socialism is not all that bad, and that 'free' enterprize has created many problems. Gross inequality of incomes is just not acceptable.

A meeting with Jayalalitha

This incident happened shortly I retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court in September 2011.
I was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court for about one year ( 2004-2005 ), but even thereafter have retained close ties with the High Court and the people of Tamilnadu. Maybe in my previous birth ( which I do not believe in ) I was a Tamilian.

 When I was Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court I met the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, and requested him to grant an amount of Rs. 5000 ( apart from their pension ) to all retired Judges of Allahabad High Court for engaging a multi purpose domestic servant ( who knew not only cooking, washing etc. but also driving a car ). He had immediately acceded to my request.

 So I wanted a similar allowance to be given to retired Judges of Madras High Court. Normally no one cares for retired Judges, but they are often old and infirm, and need more help than sitting Judges.

I went to Chennai some time in 2012 or 2013 ( after retiring from the Supreme Court ) to attend some function. There I sought an appointment with the Chief Minister Jayalalitha, which was granted immediately.

I went to the Secretariat, and was taken to her office, perhaps on the second floor.

On entering her office room, I was greeted by Jayalalitha, who was sitting across her office table. No other politician was there, but there were several senior officials, the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, etc. in the room, sitting on chairs in front of the side wall. She introduced me to them, and then asked me to sit on aa chair across her office table. I was offered tea..

 I said to her " Madam, before I tell you what I have come for, let me tell you that I respect you, because when I was Chief Justice here, and you were the Chief Minister, you respected the independence of the judiciary. You never asked me to recommend any name for appointment as Judge of the High Court, and never tried to interfere with my functioning in any way ".( I did not tell her how the DMK had behaved in this connection ).

 She was happy to hear this.

 Then I placed before her the Memorandum I had brought, requesting for an allowance to retired Judges of Madras High Court to engage a domestic servant, and told her what I had done for retired Judges of Allahabad High Court.I told her that retired Judges are more in need of help than sitting Judges, as they are older, often infirm.

She said she would certainly look into it, and a few weeks later acceded to my request. All retired Madras High Court Jiudges are now getting this allowance.

 I then told her that I was told she knew Hindi. At this she smiled, and said ' थोड़ा बहुत जानती हूँ ( 'Thoda bahut jaanti hoon ' i.e. I know a bit ), and started speaking in fluent Hindi.

 I was momentarily tempted to say that she looked beautiful ( which I do believe ), but then I checked my impulse. She may have taken offence, and discretion is the better part of valour.

 The meeting ended in very cordial terms.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

What I stand for

I have been described variously as a megalomaniac, a crank, a maverick, a publicity seeker, a wild man, a loose cannon, and even a dog (by a Chief Minister), who 'comments on everything under the Sun'.

 What am I really ? What do I stand for ? Since the new year is approaching I think a clarification of my views is in order.

I submit that my views are consistent, coherent, and directed to one single aim : To help my country become prosperous with its people having decent lives.

My views are already in my articles and videos on my blog and on the website, but let me summarize.

(1) Before the Industrial Revolution which began in Western Europe in the mid 18th Century there were feudal, agricultural societies everywhere. The feudal method of production was so backward and primitive (the bullock, buffalo, or horse were used for tilling the land, not tractors ) that very little wealth was generated by it, and hence only a handful of people (kings, aristocrats, zamindars, etc) could be rich, while the vast majority had to be poor. When the cake is small, very few people can eat it.

In sharp contrast, after the Industrial Revolution a unique situation has been created in world history. Modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can now be generated to meet the basic needs of everyone, and now no one need be poor, and every human being can get a decent life.

However, despite this unique historical situation, the reality is that 80% of the people of the world, including 80% Indians, are poor.

(2) The worst thing in life is poverty. In India there is massive poverty, malnutrition (every second Indian child suffers from malnutrition), unemployment, farmers suicides, skyrocketing prices, lack of healthcare and good education for the vast majority, etc

(3) Science is the only solution to these great social evils. By science I do not mean physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology alone. By science I mean the entire scientific outlook and scientific temper, which must be spread to every nook and corner of our country if we wish to abolish these social evils.

(4) The truth is that the vast majority of our people are intellectually very backward, their minds full of casteism, communalism, and superstitions (see on my blog my articles 'Reply to Young Students', 'The 90%', 'Ten ways of being foolish', and 'Rid our body politic of communal poison'.). And it is not just the uneducated people who are backward. Vast sections of the so called educated people in our society are also casteist, communal, and superstitious.

(5) Therefore my whole effort is to combat backward, feudal ideas and promote rational and scientific thinking among the Indian people so that India emerges as a modern, highly industrialized, prosperous country, in which all its people (and not just a handful) are prosperous. This requires long, steady effort of patiently explaining the truth to the people, which is precisely what I have been doing since long.

(6) We have all the potential of becoming a modern, highly industrialized, prosperous country. We have today (which we did not have in 1947) thousands of outstanding scientists, technicians, engineers, managers, doctors, etc and we also have immense natural wealth, raw materials, etc. We have therefore to convert this potential into a reality so that all our people (and not just a handful) get decent lives.

Is this the objective and thinking of a 'megalomaniac', a 'loose cannon', a 'crank', and a 'wild man' ?

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

 Another great American novel you should read is Upton Sinclair's  ' The Jungle '
 This novel, published in 1906, created an uproar in USA., and led to major legislative reforms regarding food safety.

Upton Sinclair wrote the novel to expose the appalling working conditions in the meat-packing industry. His description of diseased, rotten, and contaminated meat shocked the public and led to new federal food safety laws.

 Americans are consumers of a huge amount of meat. This led to a massive meat processing and packing industry in America.

 At the time the novel was written, the meat processing was done in horribly unsanitary conditions, and the meat sold contained all kinds of filth, but the consumer was unaware of this. So Sinclair disguised himself as a worker and took a job in one of the meat processing plants, where he worked for several weeks, studying the conditions there.

Sinclair saw how diseased, rotten, and contaminated meat was processed, doctored by chemicals, and sold to the public. He wrote that workers would process dead, injured, and diseased animals after regular hours when no meat inspectors were around.

Sinclair wrote that meat for canning and sausage was piled on the floor before workers carried it off in carts holding sawdust, human spit and urine, rat dung, rat poison, and even dead rats. His most famous description of a meat-packing horror concerned men who fell into steaming lard vats:

. . . ": and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,--sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard! ".

This description of how meat was processed and sold in America horrified the people. They realized that they were eating filth, and sometimes even human flesh, along with their meat. The sale of meat in America rapidly declined.

The White House was bombarded with mail, calling for reform of the meat-packing industry. After reading The Jungle, President Roosevelt invited Sinclair to the White House to discuss it. The president then appointed a special commission to investigate Chicago's slaughterhouses.

The special commission issued its report in May 1906. The report confirmed almost all the horrors that Sinclair had written about. One day, the commissioners witnessed a slaughtered hog that fell part way into a worker toilet. Workers took the carcass out without cleaning it and put it on a hook with the others on the assembly line.

The commissioners criticized existing meat-inspection laws that required only confirming the healthfulness of animals at the time of slaughter. The commissioners recommended that inspections take place at every stage of the processing of meat. They also called for the secretary of agriculture to make rules requiring the "cleanliness and wholesomeness of animal products."

New Federal Food Laws

President Roosevelt called the conditions revealed in the special commission's report "revolting." In a letter to Congress, he declared, "A law is needed which will enable the inspectors of the [Federal] Government to inspect and supervise from the hoof to the can the preparation of the meat food product."

Roosevelt overcame meat-packer opposition and pushed through the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. The law authorized inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop any bad or mislabeled meat from entering interstate and foreign commerce. This law greatly expanded federal government regulation of private enterprise. .

Passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906  opened the way for Congress to approve a long-blocked law to regulate the sale of  foods and drugs. For over 20 years, Harvey W. Wiley, chief chemist at the Department of Agriculture, had led a "pure food crusade." He and his "Poison Squad" had tested chemicals added to preserve foods and found many were dangerous to human health. The uproar over The Jungle revived Wiley's lobbying efforts in Congress for federal food and drug regulation.

Roosevelt signed a law regulating foods and drugs on June 30, 1906, the same day he signed the Meat Inspection Act. The Pure Food and Drug Act regulated food additives and prohibited misleading labeling of food and drugs. This law led to the formation of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The two 1906 laws ended up increasing consumer confidence in the food and drugs they purchased.. The laws also acted as a wedge to expand federal regulation of other industries, one of the strategies to control big business pursued by the progressives.

 The novel is about a Lithuanian immigrant family, the Ludkins, who, along with other immigrants to America, lived in horrid conditions in America. Sinclair's aim was to describe these wretched conditions, but the American public was less concerned with the conditions of workers, and more concerned with their own food which they ate.  Sinclair said of the public reaction "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

 This is the kind of novel Indian writers should write, if they are really concerned about the people's welfare

The Grapes of Wrath

I read the American writer John Steinbeck's novel '  The Grapes of Wrath '  first half a century ago, and still enjoy reading it again. It is one of the most powerful novels of the 20th century, written with intense passion, but after careful personal observation to keep the account truthful. We in India need literature of this kind, considering the huge socio-economic problems we face. I advise all of you to read it.

 The novel is about the 300,000 migrant small farmers from Oklahama, east Texas and Arkansas in U.S.A. who had to abandon their farms because of the Depression, drought and dust storms which hit that area in the 1930s and migrated west towards California.. The novel revolves around the migrant Joad family

 Nobody normally likes to abandon his home, but desperate circumstances may compel him to. The migrants, who had lost their livelihood,  travelled west to California, which had been depicted in movies as a land of plenty. However, they were met there with hostility by the local people, who thought that the migrants ( who became known as 'Okies',  named after Oklahama, from where some of them came ) would take away their jobs or depress their wages by competition, and bring in slums and diseases. They jeered at the migrants, attacked them, and sometimes burned their camps.

 The migrant families lived in horrible conditions, without proper food, water or sanitation, and often travelling from place to place looking for work. Families which once owned a farm and raised vegetables, corn, chicken and pigs were now living in squalor  in card board houses. their clothes soiled, and barely enough food to eat.

 Having heard of what was going on, Steinbeck decided to study conditions among the migrant camps himself. So to avoid attracting notice he bought an old, battered bakery truck and travelled all over. He saw horrors which he never imagined existed in America. He saw families too poor to buy food, people drinking from dirty irrigation ditches, and diseased and dying children.

 In one poignant scene the novel describes how a young malnourished woman, Rose, whose own child died stillborn, breast feeds a starving old man who would have died otherwise.

  The novel describes vividly the journey of the Joad family from Oklahama to California, the grandparents dying on the way, and some family members splitting off. The Joads allowed a priest, Jim Casey, to join them on the way. Casey lost his belief in God seeing the misery, and remarks " There's no sin, and there ain't no virtue, there's just stuff people do ".  The Joads' food supply keep dwindling.

 Steinbeck gives a vivid account of life during the migration. Twenty migrant families might camp beside a road together. " In the evening a strange thing happened : the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. ". The families temporarily became a phalanx, because that was the only way to survive. Young men could not have casual sex with a girl. If you liked her, and she liked you, you could marry her, but one night stands or casual affairs were simply inconceivable in these conditions.

 Writing the book became a single obsession for Steinbeck. It took him 3 years to write it, from 1936, when he started collecting material for it and making notes, to 1939, when it was finally published.. He wrote in a journal he kept during this period " My life is not very long. but I must write one good book before it ends. My other books ( 'Tortilla Flat', 'Of Mice and Men', 'Dubious Battle' etc ) have only been makeshifts, experiments and practices. For the first time I am working on a real book that will take every bit of experience, thought and feeling which I have."

 Writing 5 or 6 days a week, sometimes as many as 2000 words at a stretch, Steinbeck worked himself to exhaustion. " John had never been so concentrated " his sister Beth recalled later " You almost couldn't talk to him ".

 Steinbeck called his novel ' The Grapes of Wrath '. Ripe grapes spill their juices when pressed for wine. The migrant families were ripe with wrath or anger that was ready to spill forth. Steinbeck wrote : " In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage ".

 Steinbeck's book was published in 1939 and created an uproar in America. Some people like California planters and big businessmen launched a campaign to defame Steinbeck and discredit his book. He was called a liar and a communist. This greatly discouraged Steinbeck, but his spirit revived when Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin  Roosevelt visited the migrant camps in California and said " I do not believe there is any exaggeration in the book 'Grapes of Wrath' " .

 Twentieth Century Fox made Grapes of Wrath a film, with Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Many people expected studio executives to dilute Sreinbeck's social messages, but producer Darryl Zanuck researched the migrants' camps, and found conditions there much worse than that reported by Steinbeck.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

On Pakistan and contesting elections

Last night a journalist belonging to a leading Pakistani newspaper telephoned me from Lahore requesting for an interview which he intends to publish in his newspaper ( the interview will be published a little before Ramzan ).

 We had a long discussion, during which I told him that Pakistan is a fake, artificial entity, created on the basis of the bogus two nation theory. He took no offence, and rather chuckled heartily. I have a feeling that many Pakistanis agree with me that India and Pakistan should reunite, as we are really one people, but are afraid to say so out of fear of the religious extremists.

He told me that he and many other Pakistanis read my faceboook page regularly. He was very happy that I had appealed to non Muslims everywhere to observe one day roza in Ramzan ( and to non Hindus to observe one day fast during Navratri )

 He requested me to come to Lahore, but I told him that I will be killed in Pakistan because many of my views e.g. about Sharia. There are madcaps in India too, but more in Pakistan.

 He then asked me why I do not contest elections in India. I gave him the following reasons :

1. An election costs crores of rupees

2. I will have to appeal to caste and communal sentiments, since in most states elections are on the basis of caste and religion.

3. Who will vote for me ? Hindus will not vote for me as I have said that there is nothing wrong in eating beef. Most of the world eats beef---America, Europe, China, Africa, Arab countries, Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Vietnam, and many other Asian countries, etc.So are these people who eat beef all evil people, while we alone are sadhu sants ? Moreover, an animal cannot be the mother of a human being, so how can cow be gomata ?  These statements of mine will effectively cut off my Hindu votes, and Hindus are almost 80% of our population.

 Muslims will not vote for me as I have said that Sharia is only the bakwas of Mullahs, and wearing burqa is a sign of stupidity. These statements will cut off my Muslim votes, and Muslims are about 16% of our population.

 That leaves Sikhs, Christians, etc who are at most 4% of our population. Even they may not vote for me because I have openly said that I am an atheist, and that I believe all religions to be superstitions.

 That leaves my vote alone, but I will not get that too, as I do not vote.
So how can I win an election ?

The disgraceful treatment of Ahmadiyas

I was asked by a fb message to write about the plight of Ahmadiyas in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

 Orthodox Muslims say that Prophet Mohammed was the last Prophet, but it is said that Ahmadiyas allege there was a Prophet after him called Ghulam Ahmed in the 19th century.

 Even if Ahmadiyas say so, are they cutting off any one's head, or chopping off anyone's limbs. ?.

 Islam says that there is only one God called Allah, but Hindus believe that there are several gods ( some even say there are 33 crore gods ). Islam is against idol worship, but Hindus worship idols. .Are Hindus cutting of the heads of Muslims or chopping off their limbs by doing so ?

 Let anyone believe whatever he/she wants.

 But in Pakistan Ahmadiyas were killed, their children beaten up, and their nosques burnt by some bigoted Muslims. In my opinion these bigots are only goondas, and should be given harsh punishment.

 Our country ( in which I include Pakistan and Bangladesh ) has tremendous diversity. So the only way to prosper and remain united  is tolerance and allowing people to believe whatever he/she wants. There is no other way.

Oppression of Ahmadiyas is a disgrace

A message from Pakistan

I received this fb message just now from a person ( a Muslim ) in Pakistan. I have not mentioned his name as I have not yet got consent  from him for this, though I have asked for it.

Sir I  agree with you......
I am a Pakistani .......
Mujhe khud aisa lagta hai ki ek din india aur pakistan ek ho jayenge
yahan sirf main hi naheen, but most log aisa he boolte hean aur sochte hain
Mai ek aam Pakistani hoon...
Mujh se ap Pak ke bare me kuch bhi pooch sakte ho
apne articles ke liye
This shows that my idea of reunification of India and Pakistan is gradually being accepted, not only in India but also among many Pakistanis.
 Satyamev Jayate. Truth has great power. Today many things I say may not be accepted by many people as they are totally new, and may even sound shocking to many. But if they are true, one day what I say will be accepted by the vast majority.

An assessment of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan ( 1817-1898 )

I had in an earlier post said that creation of Aligarh Muslim University and Benares Hindu University was part of the British policy of divide and rule. A University is by it very nature something universal. How can it be Hindu or Muslim ?

I consequently regard both Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya, the creators of these Universities, as objectively British agents.

Here I may deal with Sir Syed.

 Sir Syed worked for the British East India Company, and in the Great Rebellion of 1857 was loyal to the British, calling the rebellion ' haramzadgi '.

Hali, his biographer, has written that when the British Commissioner of Benares expressed his surprise when Sir Syed, who used to earlier talk of the common welfare of all Indians suddenly changed his stand and started talking only about Muslims. Sir Syed replied " I am convinced that the two communities ( Hindu and Muslim ) will never put their hearts in any venture together. In coming times an ever increasing hatred and animosity appears in the horizon. "

 Thus, Sir Syed is the father of the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations, a theory which was later developed by Allama Iqbal ( see his presidential Address to the Muslim league in its Allahabad Session of 1930 ) and Jinnah.

 In 1869 Sir Syed went to England where he was awarded the Order of the Star of India by the British Government., and he was knighted in1888. Would they have given him these awards if he had not been objectively a British agent, loyally serving the British policy of divide and rule and supporting British rule like a faithful lackey ?.

 Many people say that Sir Syed only wanted Muslims to become educated. If that alone had been his endeavour there would be no objection. But if one reads his speeches, e.g.the one given in Meerut in 1888 ( link given below ) it is evident that it was not just that.

  He repeatedly calls Muslims ' my nation' ( paras 1,3,7 etc of the speech ), 'our Mahomedan nation( para 2 ), .'our nation ' ( para 4 ), ' whole Mahomedan nation ', ( para 4 ), ' my own nation'( para 5 ), etc

 Is this not subscribing to the two nation theory which led to Partition in 1947 with all its horrors ( see the stories on Partition by the great writer Saadat Hasan Manto, whom I regard as one of the greatest short story writers of all times ) ?

 In para 7 of the speech he says :
"  In whose hands shall the administration and the Empire of India rest? Now, suppose that all English, and the whole English army, were to leave India, taking with them all their cannon and their splendid weapons and everything, then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations — the Mahomedans and the Hindus — could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible "

In para 8 he says "
" It is, therefore, necessary that for the peace of India and for the progress of everything in India, the English Government should remain for many years — in fact forever "

 So this British lackey shamelessly wanted British rule to continue in India forever
In para 17 he says :

" Oh! my brother Musalmans! I again remind you that you have ruled nations, and have for centuries held different countries in your grasp. For seven hundred years in India you have had Imperial sway. You know what it is to rule. Be not unjust to that nation which is ruling over you, and think also on this: how upright is her rule. Of such benevolence as the English Government shows to the foreign nations under her, there is no example in the history of the world. See what freedom she has given in her laws, and how careful she is to protect the rights of her subjects "

 So he shamelessly supports British rule which reduced India, which was a prosperous country under the Mughals, to an impoverished nation under the British..

In paras 19 he says "

 We ought to unite with that nation with whom we can unite. No Mahomedan can say that the English are not "People of the Book." No Mahomedan can deny this: that God has said that no people of other religions can be friends of Mahomedans except the Christians. He who had read the Koran and believes it, he can know that our nation cannot expect friendship and affection from any other people.At this time our nation is in a bad state as regards education and wealth, but God has given us the light of religion, and the Koran is present for our guidance, which has ordained them and us to be friends."

 So according to this unashamed British lackey, Muslims cannot be friends with Hindus, though they are living in the same country, but must dishonourably join hands with the British rulers who were oppressing and exploiting us.

 In para 20 of the speech he goes on to say :

      " Now God has made them rulers over us. Therefore we should cultivate friendship with them, and should adopt that method by which their rule may remain permanent and firm in India, and may not pass into the hands of the Bengalis. This is our true friendship with our Christian rulers, and we should not join those people who wish to see us thrown into a ditch. If we join the political movement of the Bengalis our nation will reap loss, for we do not want to become subjects of the Hindus, instead of the subjects of the "People of the Book." And as far as we can we should remain faithful to the English Government. By this my meaning is not that I am inclined towards their religion. Perhaps no one has written such severe books as I have against their religion, of which I am an enemy. But whatever their religion, God has called men of that religion our friends. We ought — not on account of their religion, but because of the order of God — to be friendly and faithful to them. If our Hindu brothers of these Provinces, and the Bengalis of Bengal, and the Brahmans of Bombay, and the Hindu Madrasis of Madras, wish to separate themselves from us, let them go, and trouble yourself about it not one whit. We can mix with the English in a social way. We can eat with them, they can eat with us. Whatever hope we have of progress is from them. The Bengalis can in no way assist our progress. And when the Koran itself directs us to be friends with them, then there is no reason why we should not be their friends. But it is necessary for us to act as God has said. Besides this, God has made them rulers over us. Our Prophet has said that if God place over you a black negro slave as ruler, you must obey him. ".

 So the Indian Muslims must be friendly with the British looters and gangsters and support their rule over India because that was the order of God !

In para 22 he sums up by saying :

"  God had made them ( the British ) your rulers. This is the will of God. We should be content with the will of God. And in obedience to the will of God, you should remain friendly and faithful to them. Do not do this: bring false accusations against them and give birth to enmity. This is neither wisdom nor in accordance with our holy religion "

 Is this not like a fawning speech by a British slave, a disgraceful chamcha of the British government ? And is it not furthering the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations, and that the Indian Muslims should ally themselves with the British, rather than with their fellow countrymen, the Hindus, ostensibly because the British, being Christians, are people of the 'book'
while Hindus are not?
 Now let us consider another speech given by Sir Syed in Lucknow in 1887 ( link given below ).
 In para 5 of the speech he says :
"   It is a first principle of the Empire that it is the supreme duty of everyone, whether Hindustani or Englishman, in whose power it rests, to do what he can to strengthen the Government of Her Majesty the Queen. "
 So instead of fighting jointly with Hindus against British rule, which reduced India from being a prosperous nation under Mughal rule before the British came to India to an impoverished nation by the time British rule ended ( India held over 30% of the world's trade before the British came to India which was reduced to 2-3% by the time they left ), Sir Syed advocated support and strengthening of British rule.
 No wonder the British gave him knighthood and other awards.
I know this post will make me unwelcome in AMU and unpopular with many Muslims ( just as my statement against beef ban made me unpopular with many Hindus ) but that does not matter. The interest of the nation and the truth overrides all other considerations.
I am not a popularity or publicity seeker ( whatever some people may think ), and often what I say makes me very unpopular ( e.g. my statements on Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Tagore, beef ban, burqa, oral talaq, etc ). But I give reasons for what I say, and those who wish to refute me are welcome to give their counter reasons..

When Pt. Nehru read Ghalib's sher :

" Ishq ne Ghalib nikamma bana diya
  Warna hum bhi admi the kaam ke "

he is said to have written his own sher : :

" Kaam ne Nehru ko nikamma bana diya
  Warna hum bhi admi the Ishq ke "

 And this is my own sher :
" Vakalat ne Mantu ko nikamma bana diya
 Warna hum bhi admi the shayari ke "
 My nickname is Mantu

Mir and Delhi
The poem of the great Urdu poet Mir ( 1723-1810 ) on Delhi. It was written after the sacking of Delhi by Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761
" Kya bood-o-baash pooche ho, poorab ke saakinon
  Humko ghareeb jaan ke, hans hans pukaar ke
  Dilli jo tha ek sheher, aalam mein intikhaab
  Rehte the muntakhib hi jahaan rozgaar ke
  Usko falak ne loot kar veeraan kar diyaa
  Hum rehne waale hain usi ujde dayaar ke "
    Mir Taqi Mir
Boosh-o-baash means residence, saakin means inhabitant, aalam means world, intekhaab means  to choose or select, muntakhib means selected, falak means sky, veeraan means ruined or desolate or depopulated, dayaar means region or country

Anekantavad of Jainism

Although there are many Jainis in India, most people, including many Jainis, do not know about the philosophy of Jainism.

 I was a student of philosophy in the Allahabad University, and was deeply impressed by the Jain philosophy. In a country of such diversity as India, Jainism is very relevant, as it promotes tolerance and secularism, which is absolutely essential if our country is to progress.

  The cornerstone of Jain philosophy is the concept of Anekantavad. This is defined as 'non-absoluteness', or 'non-onesidedness', or 'many-foldedness'.

  The Jain scriptures often explain this concept by the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Four blind men came to an elephant. The first felt the legs of the elephant and said that an elephant is like a pillar. The second felt its trunk, and said that an elephant is like a drainpipe. The third felt its ear, and said that an elephant is like a fan. The fourth felt its back, and said that an elephant is like a throne.
 None of them got to know the whole truth as they knew only one aspect of it.

 Jain philosophy is thus against dogmatism. It believes that reality is complex and multi-faceted.
 Anekantavad does not mean compromising or diluting one's own beliefs,principles or values. It allows us to understand and be tolerant of conflicting and opposing views, while respectfully maintaining the validity of one's own views. Anekantavad encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties.

  Anekantavad also does not mean conceding that all arguments and views are true, but rather that logic and evidence determine which views are true, and as to which aspect, and to what extent. For this, Anekantavad relies on 'samayakva'  which means rationality and logic, and 'syadvada' which means 'perhaps' or 'may be', i.e. 'in some ways' or ' from a particular perspective'.

  Democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, tolerance, and secularism impliedly reflect the Jain philosophy of Anekantavad.

  In the Holy Quran it is stated " Unto you be your religion, and unto me be mine".

 The great Emperor Akbar had great respect for Jainism, and I have mentioned in some detail about his meetings and discussions with the Jain monks Hirvijaya Suri, Bhanuchandra Upadhyaya, and Vijaysen Suri in my judgment in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh vs. Mirzapur Moti Koreish Jamaat, from paragraph 51 onwards ( which can be seen online).

 Science also adopts a non-absolutist approach in understanding nature. Thus, at one time it was believed that light travels as waves ( Huygens theory), but Max Planck demonstrated that it travels in discrete particles called 'quanta' or packets of energy ( which is why it is called the Quantum Theory). J.J. Thompson's plum pudding model of the atom was disproved by Rutherford's famous gold foil experiment which showed that electrons were not embedded on the surface of the atom, but were instead existing outside the nucleus and revolving around it (like planets orbiting the sun).  Quantum mechanics demonstrated that electrons, protons, etc can be conceived of as both particles and waves ( because they undergo diffraction, interference and polarization, which are characteristics of waves).

 Science is constantly developing, and hence no theory can be said to be absolutist or the last word on the topic. What was regarded true yesterday may be found untrue today. Ptolemy's theory (that our world was the centre of the Universe) was disproved by Copernicus' theory. Similarly, what is regarded true today may be found untrue by later scientific research. But whatever theory is advanced must be supported by logic and evidence ( which the Jain philosophy calls 'samyakva').

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

French Revolution is Coming in India

Nizamuddin Aulia and Amir Khusro

Nizamuddin Aulia ( 1238-1325 ) and Amir Khusro ( 1253-1325 )
One day in Delhi the renowned Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Aulia, was standing with his disciple Amir Khusro, on the bank of the river Jumna. The saint saw Hindu worshippers bathing in the Jumna, and remarked ( in Persian) :
" Har Qaum raast raahe
Din-e-wa qibla gaahe "
Which means :
" Every people has a pole (qibla) to which it turns"
i.e. : Every sect has its own right path of worship.
Amir Khusro immediately completed the couplet with a verse of his own :
" Man qibla raast kardam
bar samt kaj kulahe"
Which means :
" I, however turn my face
towards the tilted cap "
( Nizamuddin Aulia used to wear a tilted cap )

Abolish Personal Law

I am happy that my friend Sadia Dehlvi has called for abolition of personal law in her article published in the centre spread of TOI today. I have  said this several times.

 Islam spread from Spain to Indonesia because of its great message of equality. But Sharia treats women as inferior to men. For instance, the right to oral talaq is granted only to husbands, not wives. Hence Sharia is unislamic

Khula divorce by wife is only permissible if the husband consents, but he may not, whereas oral talaq by a husband does not require consent of the wife

Sunday, 22 May 2016


Of all fruits, I like mangoes the most. Recently I ate some. I remember when I was young I used to eat a lot of them, but then they were cheap.

 The great Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib, used to enjoy eating mangoes. When asked to comment about mangoes, he said " They should be sweet, and there should be lots of them ". There is also a story about how he persuaded the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, while strolling with the Emperor, to send him some mangoes from the Emperor's gardens, by appreciating them and wishing that his name was written on some of them ( see below ).

My own favourite variety is chausa ( which comes at the end of the season ) and is very sweet, though I like langda and dussehri almost as much.Dussehri is grown mostly in the Avadh ares ( Lucknow, etc ), and langda in eastern U.P.( e.g. in Varanasi ),  Bihar and Bengal.. Alfonso, too, is one of my favourites, though it is mostly available in the Bombay area. There are several other excellent varieties too in different parts of India, and I may be forgiven for forgetting their names.

The Nawabs of Avadh were very fond of mangoes, and cultivated huge orchards in Malihabad near Lucknow ( from where the Urdu poet Josh Malihabadi came ), and other places.

 When I was a Judge of the Allahabad High Court, I was Administrative Judge inter alia of Amroha ( home town of the well known film director Kamal Amrohi, Urdu poet Rais Amrohi, etc ). When I went there on an inspection I was offered some very sweet mangoes, and was told that the word ' Amroha' is derived from the words ' Aam' ( i.e. mango ) and ' Rohu ' ( a variety of fish ) found there .

 I thought mangoes are only found in North India, but when I was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court a colleague of mine presented me with a box of mangoes of a variety called ' Imam Pasand '. They were very sweet. Later I learnt that there were many excellent varieties of mangoes in South India.

 When I was in London I ate some very sweet mangoes coming from Pakistan and Bangladesh. I forget the names of the varieties. But I got none in USA. I asked why chausa, langda, dussehri, etc were not imported in USA, and was told there are some restrictions by the Food Controllers there

Bangladeshi immigration into Assam

The previous post drew flak to me from many Muslims because I advocated a Uniform Civil Code in India and abolition of burqa and oral talaq.

 Now I am sure this post will draw flak to me by many Hindus. But that does not matter. I am not in a popularity contest.

 Most of the Bangladeshis who migrate to Assam are very poor people who think they have better opportunities in Assam to make a livelihood. They do not migrate to make Assam a Muslim majority state.

 Normally, nobody likes to leave his home region. But if it becomes very difficult to survive there, he may have to do it. For instance, many Europeans migrated to America from the 17th to the early 20th centuries for various reasons. Irishmen migrated because of the famines in Ireland, and persecution of Catholics by the British rulers. Germans, Russians migrated because jobs were available in large numbers in USA because of its rapid industrialization. Jews migrated to avoid pogroms, like those in Russia etc.

 Similarly, the poor people in Bangladesh migrate to Assam purely for economic reasons, in other words, to survive and get a livelihood. It has nothing to do with religion.

 Evidently a huge propaganda campaign was launched that Bangladeshi immigration is due  to religious reasons, and to make Assam a Muslim majority state, and this propaganda led to the election landslide results.

 Even if it is true that the percentage of Muslims in Assam has risen, this is because of greater poverty among Muslims. Poor people have more children, because there is little investment in the children, and from an early age, even in childhood, the boy/girl starts earning. Hence to curtail population growth there is only one method, that is, to raise the standard of living of people.

 The new CM elect of Assam, Mr. Sonowal, has said that he will erect a barrier within two years to stop Bangladeshi immigration. But how can this really be done ? The boundary will alwqys remain porous. Even a highly industrialized state like USA could not prevent large scale illegal immigration by Mexicans above the border..

Uniform Civil Code

I am a strong supporter of a uniform civil code. All modern countries have a common law for all citizens, and India must modernize if it is to progress.

 It is stupid to say that if sharia is abolished Islam will be abolished. It is also stupid to say that Sharia was made by God. Sharia grew out of the feudal, backward social customs in Saudi Arabia in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is totally outdated today.

The old ( non statutory ) Hindu Law was abolished in 1955 and 1956 by Parliamentary statutes, e.g. the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, etc despite the strong protest of orthodox Hindu swamis and saints ( e.g. Karpatriji, Prabhudatt Brahmachari, etc ) who said that this will abolish the Hindu religion as Hindu Law emanated from the Vedas. However, that never happened. Hindus are still going to temples, doing puja, and observing their rituals, etc. 

So abolishing the oudated, feudal sharia will certainly not abolish Islam. Has abolition of the shariat criminal law e.g. abolition of the barbaric law of stoning women to death for adultery ( sangsad ) or cutting off the limbs for theft, put an end to Islam ? So even after abolishing shariat personal law, Muslims will keep going to masjids, saying namaz, etc.

  In fact shariat personal law has kept Muslims backward, because oral talaq ( and burqa ) have kept many Muslims backward.  Since women comprise of half of society, keeping women backward means plucking off one of the two eyes from one's face.

 Shariat was made 1400 years ago. Must society remain stagnant for 1400 years ? Must laws made in the 7th century be applied today though society has totally changed since then? After all, laws must reflect social conditions, and if social conditions have changed, so must the laws. In this age of cars and aeroplanes must one continue travelling on a camel ?
Some Muslims say that sharia was made by Allah. but the same argument was made by orthodox Hindus, who said that the old ( non statutory ) Hindu law emanated from the divine Vedas and so was unchangeable, and orthodox Christians who said that the biblical injunctions regarding marriage etc were made by God. All this is nonsense and humbug.

 Laws have to change as society changes. How long will stupidity be tolerated ? How can you have oral talaq, which keeps a damocles sword hanging over every married Mulsim woman, in this age of equality between men and women.? How can you support burqa, which is really keeping women in cages, in the modern age ? How can you say that if a woman is not wearing a burqa she is naked or in a bikini ( as many idiotic supporters of burqa contend ) ? Is a woman wearing a sari or salwar kameez naked or in a bikini ?

 I know this post will draw a lot of flak on me by many bigoted idiots, but so be it. I am a sworn enemy of idiots.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

True heroism

During the battle of Stalingrad on 28th July 1942 the Russian High Command issued its famous order no. 227 " Not a step back ".

 Later during the battle, General Yeremenko, Commander of the Stalingrad Front met Colonel Zholudev, commander of the 37th Guards Infantry Division ( which had about 10,000 soldiers ), and asked why the tractor factory in Stalingrad was lost to the Germans, thus apparently disobeying order 227.

 Zholudev, with a dark grim face replied in a low voice  : " Commander, the division performed its duty heroically, and without yielding an inch. Almost all our officers and men have perished.

 Week after week we were attacked, first by hundreds of German airplanes dropping bombs, then by heavy artillery, then by wave after wave of hundreds of tanks and then tens of thousands of German infantrymen. Nobody retreated an inch "

 Yeremenko realized that the order no. 227 had not really been disobeyed, and that the factory was lost only because almost all the 10,000 soldiers defending the area had perished while defending it. How could one accuse people who had died while doing their duty ?

 He then said softly, and this time without making any accusation " Yes, the war is cruel, and the enemy merciless "

Friday, 20 May 2016

Recent State Elections

Most people have got so excited about the recent state elections in India that they forget that these will bring no real change in the lives of the Indian masses.

Therefore in my recent fb posts and blogs I have focused on the central issue in India, which is solving the problem of unemployment in India.

  Economics is easy to understand if rationally and simply explained. Unfortunately our professional economists ( Professors in Universities, etc ), who themselves do not really understand the working of the economy, nor can give real solutions to the problems of recession, unemployment, etc ( the real and most important problems world wide ), have made economics a mysterious mumbo jumbo, much like Sanskrit shlokas chanted in temples and ceremonies, which no one can understand, so that people get all confused and remain ignorant

Abolishing Unemployment in India

In socialist countries the method of raising the purchasing power of the masses, and thereby rapidly expanding the economy and consequently abolishing unemployment, was broadly this :

1. Prices of commodities were fixed by the government.

2. These prices were reduced by 5-10% every 2 years or so

3. This resulted in steadily increasing the purchasing power of the masses, because with the same income people could buy more goods. In other words, the real income of the masses went up even if nominally it remained the same ( since real wage is relative to the price index ).

4. Simultaneously, production was stepped up, and this increased production could be sold in the domestic market, as the purchasing power of people was steadily rising.

5. This led to rapid expansion of the economy, leading to creation of millions of jobs and thereby abolition of unemployment.

During the Great Depression which hit the Western economies in 1929 ( it continued till the breakout of the Second World War in 1939 ) when about one third or more people in Western countries were unemployed and factories were shutting down, the Soviet economy was rapidly expanding and unemployed abolished by following the above methodology.

 Of course this was only possible in a socialist economy, where the problem was solved by state action.

 I am not saying that we must necessarily follow the method adopted by socialist countries. We can adopt any other method if thereby we can raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses and thereby rapidly expand the Indian economy, which is the only way of abolishing unemployment in India.. The central point, and therefore the main problem before India, is how to raise the purchasing power of the masses ? Do we follow the method of socialist countries, or some other method ?

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Making us a Laughing Stock

 Many people say that the mention of 'vimaanas'; or flying machines in several Sanskrit texts, e.g. pushpak vimaan in Ramayana proves that ancient Indians had developed the science of aircraft construction and aeronautical engineering. This would be in line with the Prime Minister's statement that in ancient India our surgeons could do head transplant and genetic engineering.

 However, the question then arises : If there were aeroplanes in ancient India, there must have been engines in ancient India, because an aeroplane runs on an engine ( or more than one engine ). Then why was the Mahabharata war fought with chariots and horses, instead of with tanks, self propelled artillery, and motorized katyushas ?

 It is true that there is mention of vimaanas in our epics like the Ramayana. But what is Ramayana ? It is an epic poem ( mahakavya ). In poetry a poet has, what is known as , poetic licence. In other words, he can exaggerate. So everything written in the Mahabharat or Ramayana should not be taken and understood literally.

 There were certainly no aircraft in ancient India. Even a child knows that the first aircraft in the world was invented  in Americaby the Wright brothers in 1903. It it is true that ancient  Indians like Aryabhatta had made some outstanding discoveries in science and mathematics e.g. the decimal system. Sushruta had invented plastic surgery in ancient India. But this did not enable a surgeon to do head transplant. Nor was genetic engineering invented by ancient Indians.

 Thus by mixing up the truth with falsehood, we dilute the real great achievements of our ancestors

I regret to say that these ' champions ' of Indian culture are largely ignorant of our culture and the real great achievements of our ancestors ( see my article ' Sanskrit as a language of Science ' on my blog or the website ), but by making false and empty boasts ( see my blog ' Mixing the True with the Untrue ' ) they make us a laughing stock before the whole world.