Sheldon Pollock (शलजम पालक) finds himself in the “Trump-Land”

By: Prabhat Gupta

Who is Sheldon Pollock (or “शलजम पालक, playing pun on the similarity of sounds of these two words, where शलजम is beet and पालक is spinach, that is, things found in plenty but useless)?

Unfortunately, this person suddenly finds himself landed in the “Trump-Land” (US of the “President Trump” kind), much against his wish and expectations.

Sheldon Pollock is a person who is a sanskrit “scholar” (!) but who does not know “हाव, भाव और रस” (figuratively that is, A, B, Cs of Sanskrit),  yet he is a Sanskrit scholar.

A poem to this owl is dedicated here who has stuffed the study of Sanskrit the same way.

(The editor could not resist the temptation to copy and paste this “apt poem” here on this page itself, which wonderfully places Sheldon Pollock as “the fault-finding critic” and the Sanskrit-knowledge as “the living-owl supposed by the critic a mere stuffed-owl” in this poem. The poem is at the bottom of this post).

This fool thought Sanskrit was dead much the same way the character in the above poem thought the owl was dead.  Very good at spinning stories about Ramayan such as “Ramayan and the political imagination in India” (possibly written under the influence of benzodiazepine or may be some other substance).

This thesis basically implied that “Ravana being evil was hated, this hatred translated to Islamophobia because of Ramayan!!!!!”

(Action item 1): Very good at getting grants from honest but fools like Murtys of INFOSYS. Thinks MCLI is flying of the shelves. See MCLI sales brochure attached. Has bad, nay very bad, accent of Sanskrit. Is western educated like this fellow (see image at the bottom) but still does not get it, that he is not a scholar but a “scholar” of Harvard PhD holder and study of Vedas variety. (I must say the word “scholar” as opposed to scholar has been given to me by senior manager at INFOSYS when I met a few of them privately.)

Now there are, in hundreds, within INFOSYS who know what you, dear Pollock, stand for, including people near to Sikka, CEO Infosys.

(Action item 2): Has a twin brother by the name David Shulman. The moment Sheldon saheb sees him, he knows he is standing in front of mirror.

David Shulman can talk, often hours on end, about Satyam, without knowing Shivam and Sundaram. Useless fellow!…. but another “scholar”.

Who is being sent this email – Distribution list:

Many in Columbia and elsewhere in the US Universities, importantly within INFOSYS on private email address to Mid and Senior level managers who already see you as a willful distorter and perhaps a “natural” freak rather than a scholar. However you are a “scholar”. Many in CSDS India (including some who suffer the white complex).

Respected Pollock Saheb -Now that Trump has been elected, do you think it was because of (the ill effect of) Sanskrit?

You can perhaps invent a new school of thought – Deep purple Pollockism … something like Deep Orientalism? I feel it will be Pollock’s bollocks that will be more suited.

Also since there is this concept of ‘aestheticization of power’ that you introduced, I have attached my small effort to illustrate the same.

Finally would you please sign this petition and let me know? As they say, it takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to do this.

Please do not behave like the one with a reptilian disposition. Just do not have dual standards now …. remember when you signed a petition against Modi.

(Action item 3): I quote a friend: “Ask the millions of Native Americans, who were victims of genocide having ephemerally tasted Christian love. They wouldn’t think that Americans worked together without fanfare. Ask the blacks enslaved and lynched for generations and they are unlikely to reach a conclusion very different from that of the Native Americans. Ask the gays and lesbians and those who are incarcerated just for smoking marijuana and it would be the same conclusion. Pause for a moment and think of those blacks who quit Christianity and embraced Islam – and the larger population didn’t work it out with them at all.” I equate you with Kardashian – all style and no substance. Or, in other words – exaggerate fake moans and no orgasm! As a matter of fact Kardashian and Paris Hilton look smarter because of you twins.

In view of this, Pollock saheb, what have you done? Except, of course, having good food at the expense of Murtys, churning bull$hit out of your intestines.

Action Item 1 (as described above):

Know this Pollock saheb that Israel openly acknowledges that India is the only place where Jews were not prosecuted and, extending a Jewish friend’s line, even if there is no acknowledgement, the track record and her history proves the point any way. Since you are not a Jew you would not understand!

So what am I saying? Pollock saheb, clean your backyard, saheb, Blacks need your attention. Rosa Parks, Rodney King …… Learn Sanskrit properly. Be a good Jew. Any way, Pollock Saheb, if you could complete these two assignments, I will get you a passing grade, failing that you will remain nothing but a “scholar”! (to make the meaning of “scholar” more clear once again I refer you to: Harvard PhD holder and study of Vedas ).

As for the Christmas gift that I had promised …. I am sorry to disappoint you but looks like Trump will get H1 Visas out and hence it will effect the bottom line of INFOSYS. So no gift.

Nota Bene:

Action Item 1 for Pollock saheb ji: Could you please write a thesis, without the influence of any substance, titled: “Bible and the political imagination in the USA?”

Action item 2 for Pollock saheb ji: In view of the profit waning warning sounded by Sikka, what do you think you should do?

Action Item 3 for Pollock saheb ji: Could you please initiate a petition, if you have the guts, that is, against Trump in view of what is now happening?

Please send it to me.

Pollock’s “Aesheticization of Power” in its true Indian color:


The poem:

A Lesson to Fault-finders
“WHO stuffed that white owl?” No one spoke in the shop:
The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
The Daily, the Herald, the Post, little heeding
The young man who blurted out such a blunt question;         5
Not one raised a head or even made a suggestion;
        And the barber kept on shaving.
“Don’t you see, Mister Brown,”
Cried the youth, with a frown,
“How wrong the whole thing is,         10
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is—
In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ’tis!
I make no apology;
I’ve learned owl-eology.         15
I’ve passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mister Brown!         20
Do take that bird down,
Or you’ll soon be the laughing-stock all over town!”
        And the barber kept on shaving.
“I’ve studied owls,
And other night fowls,         25
And I tell you
What I know to be true:
An owl cannot roost
With his limbs so unloosed;
No owl in this world         30
Ever had his claws curled,
Ever had his legs slanted,
Ever had his bill canted,
Ever had his neck screwed
Into that attitude.         35
He can’t do it, because
’Tis against all bird-laws
Anatomy teaches,
Ornithology preaches
An owl has a toe         40
That can’t turn out so!
I’ve made the white owl my study for years,
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears!
Mister Brown, I’m amazed
You should be so gone crazed         45
As to put up a bird
In that posture absurd!
To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness;
The man who stuffed him don’t half know his business!”
        And the barber kept on shaving.         50
“Examine those eyes.
I’m filled with surprise
Taxidermists should pass
Off on you such poor glass;
So unnatural they seem         55
They’d make Audubon scream,
And John Burroughs laugh
To encounter such chaff.
Do take that bird down;
Have him stuffed again, Brown!”         60
        And the barber kept on shaving.
“With some sawdust and bark
I would stuff in the dark
An owl better than that;
I could make an old hat         65
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather.
In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”
Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch,         70
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic,
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway;         75
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good-day!”
      And the barber kept on shaving.

Subhash Chandra Bose’s Deputy: A. C. N. Nambiar

Arathil Candeth Narayan NAMBIAR:

NAMBIAR went to Berlin in 1924 as a journalist and worked with the Indian communist group there alongside his brother-in-law CHATTOPADHAYAYA (married to the OGPU agent Agnes SMEDLEY).

He visited Moscow as a Soviet guest in 1929. On the outbreak of World War II NAMBIAR was expelled from Germany but later allowed to return as Subhas Chandra BOSE’s deputy in Berlin, with special responsibility in cooperation with the Germans for the Azad Hind radio transmissions, becoming the German-financed leader of the Free India Movement in Europe when BOSE moved to the Far East to join the Japanese.

He was also concerned with the Indian Legion, composed of Indian PoWs, which in 1944 was absorbed by the SS.

In 1944 Nambiar was appointed Minister without Portfolio in BOSE’s provisional government and arranged the printing of Azad Hind passports.

He was arrested in Austria in June 1945 and interrogated in September 1945 as a Nazi collaborator. The file (No. KV 2/3904 preserved in the British National Archives) includes copies of letters from NAMBIAR to BOSE recovered from U-boat 234 after it surrendered, as well as the long report of his post-war interrogation which contains details of the various military groups set up by BOSE for training in Germany and many other peripheral matters including the setting up of the secret Abwehr transmitting station ‘Mary’ in Afghanistan.

The ‘Transmitting Station’ at the Afghanistan end in Kabul was manned by none other than the notorious (triple spy agent of Germany, Soviet Union and Britain) Bhagat Ram Talwar. He was code named ‘Silver’ by the British and was in touch with BOSE via NAMBIAR. He betrayed BOSE by informing his planned offensive in Kohima to his British masters.

Harvard PhD holder and knowledge of Vedas

By: Mahesh Ahuja

A young man in his mid-twenties knocks on the door of the noted Guru. He said: “I’ve come to you because I wish to study Vedas.”

“Do you know Sanskrit?” the Guru asks.

“No,” replies the young man.

“Have you studied anything from Hindu philosophy?”

“No, Guru. But don’t worry. I just finished my doctoral dissertation at Harvard on Socratic logic. So now, I would just like to round out my education with a little study of the Vedas.”

“I seriously doubt,” the Guru says, “that you are ready to study Vedas. It is the deepest knowledge ever known. If you wish, however, I am willing to examine you in logic, and if you pass that test I will teach you Vedas.”

The young man agrees.

Guru holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

The young man stares at the Guru. “Is that the test in logic?”

The Guru nods.

”The one with the dirty face washes his face“- he answers wearily.

“Wrong. The one with the clean face washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face.”

“Very clever,” the young man says. “Give me another test.”

The Guru again holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face, the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“We have already established that. The one with the clean face washes his face.”

“Wrong. Each one washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face. When the one with the dirty face sees the one with the clean face wash his face, he also washes his face. So, each one washes his face.”

“I didn’t think of that,” says the young man. It’s shocking to me that I could make an error in logic. Test me again.”

The Guru holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Each one washes his face.”

“Wrong. Neither one washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. But when the one with the clean face sees the one with the dirty face doesn’t wash his face, he also doesn’t wash his face. So, neither one washes his face.”

The young man is desperate. “I am qualified to study Vedas. Please give me one more test.”

He groans, though, when the Guru lifts two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Neither one washes his face.”

“Wrong. Do you now see why Socratic logic is an insufficient basis for studying Vedas? Tell me, how is it possible for two men to come down the same chimney, and for one to come out with a clean face and the other with a dirty face? Don’t you see? The whole question is nonsense, foolishness, and if you spend your whole life trying to answer foolish questions, all your answers will be foolish, too.”

May we all have the wisdom to ask, and answer, the wise questions!

It is a symbolic story but it truly reflects the insufficiency of the mental preparedness of Western scholars to first unlearn many idiotic concepts of Western Thought and then preparing oneself with humility to learn the spiritual knowledge in sacred books like Vedas.

The Education System in India

By: Dr. V. Sasi Kumar

In the Beginning

In ancient times, India had the Gurukula system of education in which anyone who wished to study went to a teacher’s (Guru) house and requested to be taught. If accepted as a student by the guru, he would then stay at the guru’s place and help in all activities at home. This not only created a strong tie between the teacher and the student, but also taught the student everything about running a house. The guru taught everything the child wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to the holy scriptures and from Mathematics to Metaphysics. The student stayed as long as s/he wished or until the guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach. All learning was closely linked to nature and to life, and not confined to memorizing some information.

The modern school system was brought to India, including the English language, originally by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 1830s. The curriculum was confined to “modern” subjects such as science and mathematics, and subjects like metaphysics and philosophy were considered unnecessary. Teaching was confined to classrooms and the link with nature was broken, as also the close relationship between the teacher and the student.

The Uttar Pradesh (a state in India) Board of High School and Intermediate Education was the first Board set up in India in the year 1921 with jurisdiction over Rajputana, Central India and Gwalior. In 1929, the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana, was established. Later, boards were established in some of the states. But eventually, in 1952, the constitution of the board was amended and it was renamed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). All schools in Delhi and some other regions came under the Board. It was the function of the Board to decide on things like curriculum, textbooks and examination system for all schools affiliated to it. Today there are thousands of schools affiliated to the Board, both within India and in many other countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Universal and compulsory education for all children in the age group of 6-14 was a cherished dream of the new government of the Republic of India. This is evident from the fact that it is incorporated as a directive policy in article 45 of the constitution. But this objective remains far away even more than half a century later. However, in the recent past, the government appears to have taken a serious note of this lapse and has made primary education a Fundamental Right of every Indian citizen. The pressures of economic growth and the acute scarcity of skilled and trained manpower must certainly have played a role to make the government take such a step. The expenditure by the Government of India on school education in recent years comes to around 3% of the GDP, which is recognized to be very low.

“In recent times, several major announcements were made for developing the poor state of affairs in education sector in India, the most notable ones being the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The announcements are; (a) To progressively increase expenditure on education to around 6 percent of GDP. (b) To support this increase in expenditure on education, and to increase the quality of education, there would be an imposition of an education cess over all central government taxes. (c) To ensure that no one is denied of education due to economic backwardness and poverty. (d) To make right to education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6–14 years. (e) To universalize education through its flagship programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Mid Day Meal.” Wikipedia: Education in India.

The School System

India is divided into 28 states and 7 so-called “Union Territories”. The states have their own elected governments while the Union Territories are ruled directly by the Government of India, with the President of India appointing an administrator for each Union Territory. As per the constitution of India, school education was originally a state subject —that is, the states had complete authority on deciding policies and implementing them. The role of the Government of India (GoI) was limited to coordination and deciding on the standards of higher education. This was changed with a constitutional amendment in 1976 so that education now comes in the so-called concurrent list. That is, school education policies and programmes are suggested at the national level by the GoI though the state governments have a lot of freedom in implementing programmes. Policies are announced at the national level periodically. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), set up in 1935, continues to play a lead role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programmes.

There is a national organization that plays a key role in developing policies and programmes, called the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that prepares a National Curriculum Framework. Each state has its counterpart called the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT). These are the bodies that essentially propose educational strategies, curricula, pedagogical schemes and evaluation methodologies to the states’ departments of education. The SCERTs generally follow guidelines established by the NCERT. But the states have considerable freedom in implementing the education system.

The National Policy on Education, 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992 envisaged free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality for all children below 14 years before the 21st Century. The government committed to earmark 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education, half of which would be spent on primary education. The expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP also rose from 0.7 per cent in 1951-52 to about 3.6 per cent in 1997-98.

The school system in India has four levels: lower primary (age 6 to 10), upper primary (11 and 12), high (13 to 15) and higher secondary (17 and 18). The lower primary school is divided into five “standards”, upper primary school into two, high school into three and higher secondary into two. Students have to learn a common curriculum largely (except for regional changes in mother tongue) till the end of high school. There is some amount of specialization possible at the higher secondary level. Students throughout the country have to learn three languages (namely, English, Hindi and their mother tongue) except in regions where Hindi is the mother tongue and in some streams as discussed below.

There are mainly three streams in school education in India. Two of these are coordinated at the national level, of which one is under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and was originally meant for children of central government employees who are periodically transferred and may have to move to any place in the country. A number of “central schools” (named Kendriya Vidyalayas) have been established for the purpose in all main urban areas in the country, and they follow a common schedule so that a student going from one school to another on a particular day will hardly see any difference in what is being taught. One subject (Social Studies, consisting of History, Geography and Civics) is always taught in Hindi, and other subjects in English, in these schools. Kendriya Vidyalayas admit other children also if seats are available. All of them follow textbooks written and published by the NCERT. In addition to these government-run schools, a number of private schools in the country follow the CBSE syllabus though they may use different text books and follow different teaching schedules. They have a certain amount of freedom in what they teach in lower classes. The CBSE also has 141 affiliated schools in 21 other countries mainly catering to the needs of the Indian population there.

The second central scheme is the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). It seems that this was started as a replacement for the Cambridge School Certificate. The idea was mooted in a conference held in 1952 under the Chairmanship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Minister for Education. The main purpose of the conference was to consider the replacement of the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination by an All India Examination. In October 1956 at the meeting of the Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian Education, a proposal was adopted for the setting up of an Indian Council to administer the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate’s Examination in India and to advise the Syndicate on the best way to adapt its examination to the needs of the country. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 3rd November, 1958. In December 1967, the Council was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Council was listed in the Delhi School Education Act 1973, as a body conducting public examinations. Now a large number of schools across the country are affiliated to this Council. All these are private schools and generally cater to children from wealthy families.

Both the CBSE and the ICSE council conduct their own examinations in schools across the country that are affiliated to them at the end of 10 years of schooling (after high school) and again at the end of 12 years (after higher secondary). Admission to the 11th class is normally based on the performance in this all-India examination. Since this puts a lot of pressure on the child to perform well, there have been suggestions to remove the examination at the end of 10 years.

Exclusive Schools

In addition to the above, there are a relatively small number of schools that follow foreign curricula such as the so-called Senior Cambridge, though this was largely superseded by the ICSE stream elsewhere. Some of these schools also offer the students the opportunity to sit for the ICSE examinations. These are usually very expensive residential schools where some of the Indians working abroad send their children. They normally have fabulous infrastructure, low student-teacher ratio and very few students. Many of them have teachers from abroad. There are also other exclusive schools such as the Doon School in Dehradun that take in a small number of students and charge exorbitant fees.

Apart from all of these, there are a handful of schools around the country, such as the Rishi Valley school in Andhra Pradesh, that try to break away from the normal education system that promotes rote learning and implement innovative systems such as the Montessori method. Most such schools are expensive, have high teacher-student ratios and provide a learning environment in which each child can learn at his/her own pace. It would be interesting and instructive to do a study on what impact the kind of school has had on the life of their alumni.

State Schools

Each state in the country has its own Department of Education that runs its own school system with its own textbooks and evaluation system. As mentioned earlier, the curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation method are largely decided by the SCERT in the state, following the national guidelines prescribed by the NCERT.

Each state has three kinds of schools that follow the state curriculum. The government runs its own schools in land and buildings owned by the government and paying the staff from its own resources. These are generally known as government schools. The fees are quite low in such schools. Then there are privately owned schools with their own land and buildings. Here the fees are high and the teachers are paid by the management. Such schools mostly cater to the urban middle class families. The third kind consists of schools that are provided grant-in-aid by the government, though the school was started by a private agency in their own land and buildings. The grant-in-aid is meant to help reduce the fees and make it possible for poor families to send their children. In some states like Kerala, these schools are very similar to government schools since the teachers are paid by the government and the fees are the same as in government schools.

The Case of Kerala

The state of Kerala, a small state in the South Western coast of India, has been different from the rest of the country in many ways for the last few decades. It has, for instance, the highest literacy rate among all states, and was declared the first fully literate state about a decade back. Life expectancy, both male and female, is very high, close to that of the developed world. Other parameters such as fertility rate, infant and child mortality are among the best in the country, if not the best. The total fertility rate has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 for the last two decades. Probably as a side-effect of economic and social development, suicide rates and alcoholism are also very high. Government policies also have been very different from the rest of the country, leading to the development model followed in Kerala, with high expenditure in education and welfare, coming to be known as the “Kerala Model“ among economists.

Kerala has also always shown interest in trying out ways of improving its school education system. Every time the NCERT came up with new ideas, it was Kerala that tried it out first. The state experimented with the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) with gusto, though there was opposition to it from various quarters, and even took it beyond primary classes. The state was the first in the country to move from the traditional behaviorist way of teaching to a social constructivist paradigm. It was mentioned in the National Curriculum Framework of NCERT in the year 2000, and Kerala started trying it out the next year. The transaction in the classroom and the evaluation methodology were changed. Instead of direct questions that could be answered only through memorizing the lessons, indirect questions and open ended questions were included so that the student needed to think before answering, and the answers could be subjective to some extent. This meant that the students had to digest what they studied and had to be able to use their knowledge in a specific situation to answer the questions. At the same time, the new method took away a lot of pressure and the children began to find examinations interesting and enjoyable instead of being stressful. A Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) system was introduced along with this, which took into consideration the overall personality of the student and reduced the dependence on a single final examination for deciding promotion to the next class. At present, the CBSE also has implemented CCE, but in a more flexible manner.

Kerala was also the first state in the country to introduce Information Technology as a subject of study at the High School level. It was started in class 8 with the textbook introducing Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. But within one year the government was forced to include Free Software also in the curriculum by protests from Free Software enthusiasts and a favorable stance taken by a school teachers association that had the majority of government teachers as its members. Eventually, from the year 2007, only GNU/Linux was taught in the schools, and all computers in schools had only GNU/Linux installed. At that time, perhaps even today, this was the largest installation of GNU/Linux in schools, and made headlines even in other countries. Every year, from 2007 onwards, about 500,000 children pass out of the schools learning the concepts behind Free Software and the GNU/Linux operating system and applications. The state is now moving towards IT Enabled Education. Eventually, IT will not be taught as a separate subject. Instead, all subjects will be taught with the help of IT so that the children will, on the one hand, learn IT skills and, on the other, make use of educational applications (such as those mentioned below) and resources in the Internet (such as textual material from sites like Wikipedia, images, animations and videos) to study their subjects and to do exercises. Teachers and students have already started using applications such as Dr. Geo, GeoGebra, and KtechLab for studying geometry and electronics. Applications like Sunclock, Kalzium and Ghemical are also popular among teachers and students.

The initiative taken by Kerala is now influencing other states and even the policies of the Government of India. States like Karnataka and Gujarat are now planning to introduce Free Software in their schools, and some other states like Maharashtra are examining the option. The new education policy of the Government of India speaks about constructivism, IT enabled education, Free Software and sharing educational resources. Once a few of the larger states successfully migrate to Free Software, it is hoped that the entire country would follow suit in a relatively short time. When that happens, India could have the largest user base of GNU/Linux and Free Software in general.


V. Sasi Kumar is a doctor in physics and a member of the FSF India Board of Directors. He advocates for Free Software and freedom of knowledge.

(Note: You can read this article in original HERE )

Two Pakistans!

By: Shreepal Singh

Pakistan Number One:

We are Pakistani people.

We were the people who in the past had lived our lives in ignorance for ages, till fortuitously the light of Islam came to us. It was a moment of good fortune in our history that Mohammad-bin-Kasim was sent to us by the Caliph of the time to deliver us from the ages’ of our ignorance and impure life.

Before Islam came to this region, the history of this area was the story of ignorance and Kufr of its people. The history of those native people is not our history. We are not the descendants of the people who had lived in this region before Islam came here. Those who lived here before that period are not our forefathers. We are the people whose glorious history starts with the advent of Islam here and we are proud of our history.

The army of Islam, which delivered the inhabitants of this area from the curse of ignorance and kufr, was the army of Arabs – the descendants of the Prophet of Islam. This vast Arabian army, after its conquest of the native infidels, took their women as Mal-e-Ganimat or the booty of war as sanctioned by the Holy Book of Islam and its soldiery converted these women and married with them. We are begotten of those women by the Arab conquerors and we owe our origin to those Arabs.  We are proud of our Arabian origin.

It is not painful to us – or a matter of shame for us – that the native women were used to beget us by our Arabian forefathers because in the light of Islam these women were the justified booty of war. These women were converted and thereby delivered of their ignorance, and were utilized to beget children of Islam, which was an act of Shabab – an act of piety – on the part of our forefathers. We are proud of our Arabian forefathers.

The fact that a large native population – consisting of men, women and children – converted to Islam and continued to propagate their population with their surnames, Hindu-castes’ vestiges and titles still remaining intact till today is an inconvenient chapter in our history and deserves to be glossed over by us in the interest of our glorious history of Arabian descent and its Islamic expansion in this vast region.

We are of an Arabian descent and our forefathers had unfurled the Islamic flag by their valor in this land of Kafirs, of which some part is still left under the rule of Kafirs. We have been left with a legacy by our forefathers to unfurl the Islamic flag in this remaining part still being ruled by Kafirs. It is an unfinished agenda of the Islamic conquest and expansion in this left over part. Our glorious history in this land of once united India commences with the advent of our glorious religion. Not only we are of an Arabian origin, we have a glorious religion in Islam and the glorious Holy Book Koran, and we are proud of our origin, religion and the Holy Book.

We are proud of our religion because it is the word of Allah. We are proud of our religion because it is the last word of Allah. It is the merit of our religion that it, being the word of Allah, is eternally true and is not amenable to doubt and questioning. It is the merit of our religion that doubting and questioning the last word of Allah is equal to doubting and questioning Allah himself. It is the greatest crime on the part of those who doubt, question or defile the word of Allah, calling for the severest punishment of death to those who so doubt, question or defile.

Our long traditions have taught us that the meaning of the word of Allah as given in the Holy Book can be discerned by any learned person – Mulla or Alim and Fazil – who devotes his life-time in reading and learning the Holy Book and other related and assisting literature. An attempt by those who go beyond mere words used in the Holy Book to discern their true meaning, like Sufis, and who allege that they have surrendered themselves to Allah to understand their true meaning are nothing but heretics bordering blasphemy. Their interpretation of Allah’s word deserves no attention of the devout Muslim.

We have a long list of our glorious forefathers who in obedience of the command of our religion brought the light of Islam to this part of the world, carried a victorious sword against the native infidel inhabitants and established the rule of Islamic law over this vast land. Mohhamad-bin-Kasim, Mohammad Gazni, Mohammad Ghauri, Iltutmish, Kutub-u-ddin Aibak, Alla-U-ddin Khiljee, Babar, Humayun, Akbar, Aurangzeb and countless many others who had the good fortune to devote their life to fulfill the dictates of the Holy Book are the shining stars of our ancestry. However, among them some were more and some were less illustrious in carrying their duty towards their religion and we cherish the memory of those who were more illustrious in performing their religious duties.

We admit with remorse that some of our forefathers with less illustrious career in carrying out their religious obligations did commit mistakes. We admit with remorse that, because of the lack of prudence on the part of some of our forefathers, the British people by making their cunning moves were able to subdue them and ultimately to usurp political power from their hands in 1857. These British people, in order to take revenge against our forefathers’ efforts to regain their power, put Islamic people of this land in a calculated design under the subjugation of infidel Hindus, who were once our slaves.

Still the outmaneuvered Islamic people, despite their calculated subjugation by the British, did not lose their heart and with their usual valor initiated the struggle against these wily British and Hindu combine. The Islamic people carried this struggle forward, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, till its success in 1947 in the form of partition of India carving out our own country Pakistan.

We are fortunate that we have got ultimate light in Islam. Our ancient ancestors might be pagans living in the ignorance long back in the past ages but their descendants long back 1400 years ago had come out of this ignorance with the advent of Islam. For us Islam is the ultimate light for all eternity to come. True to our religion and its mandate, we as people are sincerely engaged in creating a worldwide Ummah. As Muslim people, we are conducting ourselves in the light of our religion and its obligatory prescriptions in carrying out Jihad. Towards this end, we are leading our Jihad against infidels the world over in general and against infidel Hindus of India – our erstwhile slaves – in particular.

In this endeavor, we care less whether this Jihad is waged by using swords or atom bombs. Being unmindful whether we survive in this Jihad or become a shaheed, we are resolute and confident in our conviction that ultimately a worldwide Muslim Ummah will be established on this earth. Our nation is an Islamic republic and, being true to our religion, we as the Muslim people are solemnly committed to carry forward its command, by utilizing intentional lies and deceptions – Taquia – as warfare tactics sanctioned by our religion, for establishing a Muslim Ummah the world over, at whatever the cost we may be called upon to pay. We, as a nation, bring-up our children and raise our armies with this Narrative. And, we are proud that in furtherance of our solemn commitment to the command of our religion we so bring-up our children, raise our armies and remain ever ready to become shaheed – martyr – here in this world to reap their sweet fruits in the next world.

Pakistan Number Two:

We are Pakistani people.

We are proud to be Pakistanis. We are very ancient people. We inherit the DNA of our forefathers who had lived at least 5000 years ago in Mohenjo Daro, Harappa, Dholaveera and Rakhigarhi. We are not ashamed of this legacy; on the contrary, we are proud of our ancient progenitors. We are proud that we are very ancient people.

We are the people who crafted and perfected the most ancient language of the world – Sanskrit language. The great grammarian Panini – who set rules in ancient times for this language – belonged to us; we own him and cherish his ingenuity. It is not our demerit. It is our merit and we are proud of it.

We are the people who had defeated Alexander – the ancient world’s conqueror Alexander, the Great. We had mortally wounded that world-conqueror and forced him and his naughty arrogance to go back home, safely – if possible. We are proud of the bravery of our forefathers, we are proud of our history. We are not ashamed of our progenitors. We own them, cherish them and bow to them in reverence. It is not our demerit that our forefathers had ingenuity and were brave and courageous people; it is our merit that we carry the genes of our brave ancestors.

We are proud that Poros – who by his bravery gave a taste to that world-conqueror of his own bitter medicine – belongs to us; we own him as our ancestor. We are proud that our ancestor Chandra Gupta Maurya had defeated Selucus – the successor king of that Alexander – and had forced him to offer his daughter Helena in marriage to the victor (Chandra Gupta Maurya). It is not our demerit that Chandra Gupta Maurya, the first emperor of Asia, belonged to us; it is our merit. It is the merit of our ancient and great history.

We are an ingenious people and we are proud of this merit. Since the days of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, we have been fond of investigating and adopting the best that was available to us in the passing current of time. We have been investigating, adopting and adapting the best to the still better one. It is our merit that we had the ingenuity to improve the best one into still better one. We are proud of our ingenuity; we are not ashamed of improving upon what we had got. We are not a stale and dead people.

In the mighty current of time that we call history, it was we who had compiled the most ancient book of humanity called Rig-Veda. In those dark ages too, we were inquiring into the mysteries of this universe and its creation. It was a great achievement of our forefathers. We were Hindus and we are not ashamed of our history; we cherish our past that once belonged to us.

We as people have never been dumb in our thoughts and inflexible in meeting new challenges of the changing times. We possessed of ingenuity and we lost no time in adopting the teachings of Buddha and investigating and understanding the mysteries of this universe in the light of what Buddha had taught. In our usual investigative urge, we had carved out caves in hills and mountains to turn them into Buddhist mediation dwellings, which exist till today. We are not ashamed of our history. It is our merit and we cherish it.

We know the time never stops and so our history did not stop at ‘one best, forever best’. We cherish the change; it is not our demerit; it is our merit that we march with the time.

Mohammad-bi-Kasim came to us with his army at our doorstep in Debal – now known as Karachi. He had an order from the Caliph and a message from Holy Koran. He had his army of man and not of women in his mission. We accepted the message and the order, and once again plunged ourselves into our new inquiry into the mysteries of this universe – this time in the light of the Holy Book of Islam.

We as a people – men and women, all – embraced the new light but did not surrender our women – except in comparatively a few cases – to the soldiers of this messenger of the Holy Book and the servant of Caliph. Our surnames, titles and tribal nomenclature, which we still bear with our names, are the testimony to this reality of retaining our womenfolks with us.  We are not ashamed of our roots and our history; we cherish them with pride.

We as a people were possessed of the ingenuity and we took the light of the Holy Book to the core of our heart, and our leading lights of the time – Bulle Shah, Farid-uddin, Nizam-u-ddin, Salim Chisti  and a host of Sufis like them – taught us the real meaning of what has been said in the Holy Book. They taught us that only he who has denounced the attractions of this perishable world is alone wise enough to understand the real meaning of what has been said by Allah in the Holy Book and not him who has simply memorized this Holy Book by merely reading it. We are proud of such leading lights and we revere them.  We do not denounce but cherish our history.

We are possessed of ingenuity since the dawn of history. We have shown this ingenuity throughout our history since the days of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Also we are not going to put a full stop today to this ingenuity. We have marched with time, improved and innovated in all spheres of human endeavors. This time also, the new wind of science and technology can never bypass us since we are deeply rooted in our history of innovation and adaptation as no one else is rooted.

A new wave of reason is roaring today across the sea of humanity and we, as before in the past ages, would not deprive ourselves of this new door of knowledge. We have proved in the past that we are flexible and innovative, and we shall prove to the world once again that today also we are as we were in the past: Ever ready to welcome and knock at one more door of knowledge, a new one door of knowledge: the door of reason and science.

Our past is not a roadblock to our future. On the contrary, our past is the pride in our unfolding future. We wear our past as the garland to welcome the future. We are proud of our history, which shows that no past legacy has ever been too heavy for us to tie our feet from marching ahead with the changing times. And this time too, we shall prove ourselves true to our history.

Are Jihadis to blame for attacking us?

By: Maria Wirth

The fear of lone wolf attacks has changed the atmosphere in Europe. Especially women feel insecure while walking alone, but even men are not keen to go out alone at night. The security business is booming. Pepper sprays and other articles for self-defense are sold out. More security, more police is seen as the solution to a problem which unfortunately is not well analyzed.

On a memorial for the victims of the recent terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, where the German Chancellor, too, placed a white rose, a board asked in big letters: “Warum?” This “Why” naturally haunts good natured, naive Germans who welcomed the refugees and volunteered in refugee shelters.

Yet, inexcusably, this ‘Why’ also seems to haunt many of the political class. Chancellor Merkel considered the attack as incomprehensible. It seems she and her government have no clue why certain people turn against their hosts when they had been so generous. So how can they defeat Islamist terrorism when they don’t know what motivates the terrorists?

For the last few decades, Europeans in particular have been sold a wonderful world, where we all live happily together as global citizens irrespective of race, gender, religion and nationality. Sweden was in the forefront. In a TV clip, children from Sweden, Africa and Asia sang a song about how Sweden belongs to all of them and how wonderful it is to love each other, merrily dancing around holding hands.

No doubt, a ‘liberal world order’, where all human beings irrespective of differences are respected, is a worthy idea. Donald Trump has been demonized for not endorsing it and is seen as the greatest danger to it. Angela Merkel reminded him, perhaps a bit too self-righteously, of those liberal values when she congratulated him for winning the US election.

Yet, whoever has eyes to see knows that the reality is the stark opposite of a wonderful, liberal world, not only in Sweden. The huge influx of ‘refugees’ did not make things better for Europe, as was heralded. It made things infinitely worse. And since the situation has meanwhile gone so much out of hand with crime rates sky-rocketing and the fear of terror attacks all-pervasive, the liberal elite feel compelled to explain what went wrong. The problem is, they are dishonest – or plain ignorant.

They explain: the new world order does not come about without a “cultural change”. Yet instead of embracing multi-culturalism, the natives of a place resist it. They wrongly are suspicious of ‘the other’. They want to stick to their old way of life and therefore we have a big problem now: the nationalist right-wing is on the upswing. This, we are told, is extremely unfortunate.

They don’t call it only unfortunate. They label right-wingers as fascist, Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and openly spew hatred against them, all the while claiming that they, the ‘liberals’, only want all to love each other.

If someone asks whether the newcomers to Europe even want a liberal world, he is shouted down. Never blame the migrants, is the maxim, and never ever claim that religion may be a cause why happily living together won’t work. To be precise: never mention Islam. One can criticize Christianity nowadays and malign Hinduism, but Islam is out-of-bounds. To bring in Islam as a possible cause for friction is forbidden, so much so that there is a risk of ending up in jail in our ‘liberal’ societies.

Why is it so? Why do liberals close their eyes to the fact that Islam is not liberal? Neither is Christianity. Nor do these two religions hide it. Both insist that their followers must ‘religiously’ stick to the doctrine if they don’t want to burn in hell for ever.

Now, how to establish a liberal world when about half the world population is indoctrinated to believe that all humanity needs to follow a particular book before peace can descend on earth? It is even more complicated: about a quarter is told that God wants all to follow the Bible and Jesus, and another quarter is told that Allah wants all to follow the Quran and Mohammed.

Whether Jesus or Mohammed had intended this narrow-minded interpretation is not the question. It is also not the question whether there are verses in those books which contradict this narrow view. The problem is that this narrow interpretation is indoctrinated since over thousand years and even today into children with terrible effect and nobody stops it.

Wolfgang Trusheim, of Frankfurt’s State Security office, gives a worrying account:

‘This is about war, about children being indoctrinated. They are only in primary school and already fantasize about how when they grow up, they want to join the jihad, kill infidels. They say: “I’m not allowed to play football with you, but when I’m grown up, I will kill you, because you are an infidel.”’ (see gatestone link below)

On YouTube there was a clip about a religious class for Muslim boys in a German school. The teacher spoke in broken German and kept repeating to the 6 to 10 year olds that they must not make friends with German boys, as those boys are bad and will be send to hell by Allah.

Is it then a surprise that a 12 year old boy tried to plant a bomb in a Christmas market in southern Germany? The question is: Can he be blamed for wanting to kill kafirs? And if he can’t be blamed, can he be blamed when he is 17 or 20?

How are children supposed to get out of the brainwashing when their surrounding endorses the claim that Allah only likes Muslims, does not like kafir and will make them suffer in hell for all eternity? When even respected leaders, like the first education minister in independent India Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, had exhorted Muslims to join jihad for a pan-Islamic Caliphate, have obviously not got out of their own brainwashing?  And most importantly, when the Muslim youth has serious doubts whether he will qualify for paradise and wants to make sure that he ends up there and not in hellfire?

A very crucial tenet of both Islam and Christianity is that a human being has only one life. Belief in rebirth was banned for Christians in a Council in 553 AD even before Islam was born. This “one life only” has an advantage for those religions: the fear of eternal hell prevents their followers from relaxing and experimenting. And both religions make sure that the fear of hell seeps deeply into the psyche of children. Hindus and others who did not go through this indoctrination can’t imagine that the fear of hell can be real, but it is. “What if eternal hell is true after all?” This question often haunts lukewarm Christians and probably also Muslims and makes their life miserable and guilt-ridden.

Even moderate sounding outfits like the ‘Centre for Peace and Spirituality’ founded by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan preach this basic tenet (on the back cover of the book “Quranic wisdom”):

“According to the Quran, a person’s life has been divided into two phases: the pre-death and the post-death period. The present life is only temporary and is meant as a test. Depending upon our performance in this test, we shall be judged in the eternal life after death. The Quran aims to make one aware of this reality and help one lead one’s life in this world in such a way that one is rewarded with Paradise in the life hereafter.”

Reading the Quran one gets clearly the impression that paradise is only for true Muslims, not for the hypocrites among them and of course not for kafirs. And what is expected from a true Muslim? Apart from being good to other Muslims (and harsh to unbelievers) and following the rules, jihad is the surest way to paradise. A jihadi is even promised a higher status in paradise (Quran 4.95). Is it a surprise that especially criminals join jihad to ‘redeem’ themselves? Should they be called monsters or should they be congratulated for fulfilling what they (wrongly) understand as the Supreme Being’s wish?

Clearly, something has been very badly misunderstood. Killing cannot possibly be rewarded by the Supreme who is the creator, if not the essence, in all of us. Is it not the responsibility of elders to point this out and save not only the potential victims of future terror attacks but also the Muslim youth?

Especially Hindus and Buddhists need to challenge this wrong understanding. How can they ‘respect’ it only because ‘religion’ is attached to it? Why are Christianity and Islam treated like protected species and must not be touched?

There is a reason: Ever since dogmatic religions (from Latin ‘to bind’) appeared, which insist on binding all humanity to unverifiable dogmas, criticism was violently punished for centuries. Today criticism is sought to be stopped in a more civilised way – through laws about freedom of religion, guaranteed by an UN Charter.

Yet what does the right to religious freedom actually mean? Does it mean the right to Islamize the world? Does it mean the right to Christianize the world? Do Hindus have the right to stay Hindus? If the right to freedom of religion is given to a religion which has as its final goal the obliteration of all other religions, like Christianity and Islam have, would it not obliterate the rights of other religions?

Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) requires outlawing “any advocacy of … religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”

Further, article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), grants the freedom of speech with the restriction, among others, “for the protection of the reputation and rights of others.”

These laws are violated on a daily basis in religious classes all over the world, yet the focus of law enforcement agencies is on social media posts and overlooks the far greater danger.

Does it protect the ‘reputation of others’ when a clergyman tells children that their classmates from other religions will burn in hell after Judgement Day? Is the clergyman free to make such discriminatory statements, because religious freedom is guaranteed and his holy book makes those claims? Is it necessary to respect the claim that a book has been divinely revealed even if it contains what would be called hate speech? Since there are several books from different religions which all claim to be the divinely revealed truth and which contradict each other, how can those claims be taken at face value and be protected by law? Should there not be a genuine, open-minded debate on what actually constitutes truth?

Many questions, which hardly anyone asks – not even those who framed the right on religious freedom in international bodies like the UN.

We are faced with a big problem which is due to divergent and implausible religious views. A young jihadi is convinced that killing kafirs is the right thing to do as it pleases Allah who wants only Muslims in the world.

And a young Christian missionary is convinced that ‘bringing the light of Christ to those who wallow in darkness’ by hook or crook is the right thing to do, as Jesus wanted all people baptised.

Yet ultimately, both, the jihadi and the missionary are pawns in a cynical power game. They are convenient foot soldiers. Did not the USA of all countries encourage students (Taliban) to become radical Islamists by developing religious curricula and sending schoolbooks with violent content to Afghanistan? Why? Because they wanted them to fight the Soviets ferociously as a holy war – in their own (USA) interest of course. (see link to Washington Post).

Once children are ‘taught’ the wrong truth, it is not easy to get it out from their system even when they are grown up. Their identity is intimately connected with what they believe, and reason often cannot break through their natural impulse to defend their identity especially when the people in their surroundings share the same belief.

It needs an open environment, where questions can be asked fearlessly, where sensible answers are given and where holy books are not untouchable holy cows. This atmosphere is partly there for Christianity in the west, but is sorely missing in regard to Islam.

A good start would be a debate on whether there is only one life or whether rebirth is more likely. Why is there obvious injustice in the world? Why are some born to caring parents and others to abusive drunkards? If the Supreme Being really wanted all to be Christians or Muslims, why would He give to some the advantage of being born in a Christian or Muslim family and to others not? How can the creator (or is he the essence?) of all be so cruel to damn us to excruciating pain in hellfire for billion trillion… years after a few years of life where our only fault was that we called out to the Supreme by a different name, but in our heart we were great believers?

Those who believe (or do they know?) in rebirth have the better arguments. Research into rebirth, with over 3000 cases in the archive of Virginia University, also supports the Hindu view that everybody gets many lives on this appearance level of human existence. (see link)

Humanity would gain greatly if such topics would be debated in an open atmosphere. Truth would be honoured. Trust in ‘the other’ would come back. A liberal, plural world would be possible.

Only some hard-line clerics might lose out. Yet the ‘liberals’ in the media with their soft corner for illiberal ideologies would probably rush to their defence …


(Blog of Maria Wirth may be read HERE)

Year 2017: Children have ‘The First Right’ over this Earth!

By: Shreepal Singh

Children derive their rights – even the right to come into this world – from us and we derive our rights from our forefathers. It is a natural process – a system – of ‘right in succession’ and today we adults are endowed with a capacity to abruptly terminate this process, this succession. But by the very fact that we are merely the part of this succession process, we inherit a duty along with our rights.

We humans are animals in our needs but we are more than animals in our desires, and our designs to pursue those desires. In pursuit of our individual and group desires, we have turned this beautiful Earth into a miserable place to live in. Our Earth is full – full to the brim – of Nature’s bounties. These Nature’s loving gifts to us are more than enough to meet our needs, our reasonable needs.

Today we adults know – we know because we have gone to Mars, Moon and peeped into a little bit of the interiors of this mysterious universe – that we are extremely lucky. We know that our Earth is exceptionally fortunate in the matters of its placement around its star – Sun – and of the carving out a niche of habitable dot in an otherwise hostile and barren universe.

Today we have the capacity to destroy this dot by making it place full of violence (in the name of God), barren of resources (in the name of development), inhospitable to life (in the name of creating wealth and prosperity), full of rival artificial creatures (by manufacturing them with Artificial Intelligence and Genetic Engineering) or even a barren chunk of mere rock (by exploding atomic bombs).

In the hot-pursuit of our ‘man-made ideals’ – and without realizing that we are yet to develop an ethics that may safely handle the volatile consequences of our such capacity – we are turning this planet into a more and more risky place to live in. It is a crime against our children, to which we owe a solemn duty to provide a place better than we inherited. We inherited a place afflicted with diseases and poverty and we have fought with these curses, and have got victory over them to some extent but we had not inherited a place sitting on the atomic-powder keg. Now what we are passing on to our children is a place more than a place sitting on this powder keg.

Let us resolve in this year 2017 that we shall collectively defeat the violence in the name of God, innovate and improve our ideals of development, wealth, and well-being, and evolve a new human-ethics to guide us. We owe this much duty to our beloved children.

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