Hindu Temple in Azerbaijan



Jwalaji or the goddess of fire in Azerbaijan 


Baku (Azerbaijan): In an old settlement of oil workers situated 30 km from this Azerbaijani capital is a rare Hindu temple dedicated to 'Jwalaji or the goddess of fire', forgotten for decades but now catching the attention of tourists.

The temple, called the `Atishgah, in this predominantly Muslim republic of the former Soviet Union is a typical Hindu shrine with an iron 'trishul' on its roof with a dome.

Encircled by a stone wall, the Jwalaji temple stands in the middle of a courtyard, surrounded by cells for pilgrims coming all the way from India to worship the Fire Goddess in its hey day.

Built in 1713, a stone plaque in Hindi on the portal of the main gate says that this gate was built by Ram Datt in 1866. 

On the carved entrances of cells are stone plaques describing who built them and in which year. In all there are over 20 stone plaques, of which 18 are in Devanagri, one in Gurumukhi and one in Farsi (Persian), Sanskrit text on which begins in Hindu tradition with "Om Shri Ganeshaye Namah."

The temple was built on the spot where subterranean gas leaking out of the rocky ground used to burn day-and-night. Local records say that it was built by a prominent Hindu traders community living in Baku and its construction coincided with the fall of the dynasty of Shirwanshahs and annexation by Russian Empire following Russo-Iranian war. 

(source: Rare Hindu Temple in Muslim Azerbaijan  - sify.com). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor


The ancient Sanskrit and Hindi inscriptions.


Among the most interesting things to see at the temple are the ancient Sanskrit and Hindi inscriptions and the onion dome - signs that Atashgah and its fire worship were heavily influenced by India. Flames burn at each corner of the roof, fed by natural gas deposits under the ground. The temple, which is part of a larger complex of religious buildings, is located in the village of Surakhany, 20km (12mi) north-east of Baku.

(source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/azerbaijan/attractions.htm

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Vedic Math: Crunch more in less time! By Shraddha Kamdar  

Thousand-year-old 'sutras' can put the modern math methods to shame.

Scientific techniques developed thousands of years ago, mentioned in the Vedas, are now being utilised by America's National Aeronautic & Space Administration (NASA) and form a part of the curriculum in European schools.

Sadly, however, they have lost importance in the country of origin. Vedic Math, as it is called, is extracted from 16 'sutras' and 13 sub-'sutras' of the Vedas. It is a set of techniques, which can be applied to a wide spectrum of mathematic topics, to reduce the calculation time to one-tenth of the actual time of any traditional method.

Professor Atul Gupta, an IIT engineer who chanced upon a book on Vedic Math about a decade ago, was intrigued by it and learnt from it. The process was long, but nonetheless interesting and fruitful. Later, he thought of sharing his knowledge. Prof Gupta now has school students, IIT aspirants, housewives and retired persons who are simply math enthusiasts learning from him. "It is so fascinating, it has turned math-haters into math-lovers," claimed the professor.

Useful for Arithmetic, Algebra, Calculus, Trigonometry and Astromomy, the techniques are easy to learn and remember. The professor had this reporter so awe-struck with the methods, that it was difficult to wind up the interview and move out of his class. And he had not even touched the tip of the ice-berg. "Now you can imagine what a treasure this is. It should be passed on to our future generations," said Prof. Gupta. In that regard, he has already conducted several workshops with school children.

"These techniques are very helpful for IIT aspirants, as the entrance exam papers are full of such questions. If they save even about 10 minutes over all, imagine how many more questions they'd be able to attempt!" said Prof. Gupta for whom clearly Vedic Math is not just something he teaches, but is also a passion. (For more details, contact 2551-3728, 2557-7553).

How long does it take to divide 257910 by 9?

Using a Vedic Math technique, the answer can be arrived at in a couple of seconds! How?
It's simple.
Add all the digits of the number 257910 and reduce it to a single digit: 2+5+7+9+1+0=24. Reduce 24 further -- 2+4=6, which is the remainder.
Another way is by removing the digit 9 while adding. Or even the digits that add up to 9. For example, in 257910 don't use 9, 2 and 7. By adding the remaining digits, you still get the correct answer, i.e. 5+1+0=6.
This technique, called
'Navashesh', is applicable to any number, but only while dividing it by 9. It has a wide range of applications, to check humongous multiplications and additions.
Another technique is finding the square of a number ending in 5. For example, for squaring 85, all you have to do is take the square of 5, i.e. 25, at the end, and multiply 8 by the next arithmetic digit, 9 (8x9=72) and the answer is 7225.

(source: Vedic Math: Crunch more in less time! - By Shraddha Kamdar  - cybernoon.com). For more refer to chapter on Hindu Culture1 and Vedic Math websites).

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Shivaji - The Great Maratha Warrior

For about three hundred and fifty years before Shivaji, Maharashtra was not a free state. A large portion of it was under the rule of the Nizamshah of Ahmednagar and the Adilshah of Bijapur. These two had divided Maharashtra among themselves. Their officers rules Maharashtra on their behalf. Adilshah and Nizamshah, were very narrow in their outlook and oppressed the people over whom they ruled. They were also sworn enemies of each other. They constantly fought each other and as a result the people of Maharashtra suffered untold hardships. There was hunger everywhere and the people were starving. People were not free to celebrate festivals and worship their Gods openly. Life was not safe at all and injustice prevailed everywhere.


18 year old Shivaji and his faithfuls took the oath at Rohedeshwar Temple to establish a nation of the natives which Shivaji maintained was the will of the providence. 

In his next 35 years he lived an epic which thrilled the imagination of his friends and foes alike.  

Refer to chapter on Islamic Onslaught


On this background, 18 year old Shivaji and his faithfuls took the oath at Rohedeshwar Temple to establish a nation of the natives which Shivaji maintained was the will of the providence. In his next 35 years he lived an epic which thrilled the imagination of his friends and foes alike.

It is true that Shivaji contributed a lot towards the rise and growth of Maratha power in India, but it is equally true that at the time he appeared on the scene, the ground had already been prepared for him. 

According to Dr. Ishwari Prasad, "But Shivaji's rise to power cannot be treated as an isolated phenomenon in Maratha history. It was as much the result of his personal daring and heroism as of the peculiar geographical situation of the Deccan country and unifying religious influences that were animating the people with new hopes and aspirations in the 15th and 16th centuries."  


The Maratha the most formidable enemy; for he will not fail in boldness and enterprise when they are indispensible, and will always support them or supply their place, by stratagem, activity and perseverance. 


Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said: "Shivaji did not belong to Maharashtra alone; he belonged to the whole Indian nation."

"Shivaji was not an ambitious ruler anxious to establish a kingdom for himself but a patriot inspired by a vision and political ideas derived from the teachings of the ancient philosophers. He studied the merits and faults of the systems of administration in kingdoms existing at the time and determined his own policies and administration in the light of that knowledge. A devout Hindu, he was tolerant of other religions and established a number of endowments for maintainig sacred places belonging to them. As a general he was undoubtedly one of the greatest in Indian history; he saw the need for and raised a navy to guard his coastline and to fight against the British and the Dutch. Pratapgad Fort build in 1656 stands today as a monument to his military genius. Shivaji is a symbol of many virtues, more especially of love of country."    

A.B. de Braganca Pereira
Arquivo Portugues Oriental, Vol III
wrote: "Wonderous mystic, adventurous and intrepid, fortunate, roving prince, with lovely and magnetic eyes, pleasing countenance, winsome and polite, magnanimous to fallen foe like Alexander, keen and a sharp intellect, quick in decision, ambitious conqueror like Julius Caesar, given to action, resolute and strict disciplinarian, expert strategist, far-sighted and constructive statesman, brilliant organizer, who sagaciously countered his political rivals and antagonists like the Mughals, Turks of Bijapur, the Portuguese, the English, the Dutch, and the French. Undaunted by the mighty Moghuls, then the greatest power in Asia. He fought with Bijapuri to carve out a great empire."

D. Kincaid - The Grand Rebel "In spite of the character of a crusade which Ramdas's blessings gave to Shivaji's long struggle, it is remarkable how little religious animosity or intolerance Shivaji displayed. His kindness to Catholic priests is an agreeable contrast to the proscriptions of the Hindu priesthood in the Indian and Maratha territories of the Portuguese. Even his enemies remarked on his extreme respect for Mussulman priests, for mosques and for the koran. The Muslim historian Khafi Khan, who cannot mention Shivaji in his cronicle without adding epithets of vulgar abuse, nevertheless acknowledges that Shivaji never entered a conquered town without taking measures to safeguard the mosques from damage. Whenever a koran came to his possession, he treated it with the same respect as if it had been one of the sacred works of his own faith. Whenever his men captured Mussulman ladies, they were brought to Shivaji, who looked after them as if they were his wards till he could return them to their relations."   


Shivaji: The founder of the Maratha power. 

(image source: India Armour - By Lord Egerton, Lord of Tatton).  


Cosme da Guarda - Life of the Celebrated Sevaji: "Such was the good treatment Shivaji accorded to people and such was the honesty with which he observed the capitulations that none looked upon him without a feeling of love and confidence. By his people he was exceedingly loved. Both in matters of reward and punishment he was so impartial that while he lived he made no exception for any person; no merit was left unrewarded, no offence went unpunished; and this he did with so much care and attention that he specially charged his governors to inform him in writing of the conduct of his soldiers, mentioning in particular those who had distinguished themselves, and he would at once order their promotion, either in rank or in pay, according to their merit. He was naturally loved by all men of valor and good conduct."  

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi observed: 

"I think Shivaji ranks among the greatest men of the world. Since we were a slave country, our great men have been somewhat played down in world history. Had the same person been born in a European country, he would have been praised to the skies and known everywhere. It would have been said that he had illumined the world."

Sir E. Sullivan says in Warriors and Statesmen of India

"Shivaji possessed every quality requisite for success in the disturbed age in which he lived.  Cautious and wily in council, he was fierce and daring in action; he possessed an endurance that made him remarkable even amongst his hardy subjects, and an energy and decision that would in any age have raised him to distinctions.  By his own people he was painted on a white horse going at full gallop, tossing grains of rice into his mouth, to signify that his speed did not allow him to stop to eat.  He was the Hindu prince who forced the heavy Mughal cavalry to fly before the charge of the native horse of India. His strength and activity in action were glory and admiration of his race."   


O King Shivaji,
Lighting thy brow, like a lightning flash,
This thought descended,
"Into one virtuous rule, this divided broken distracted India,
I shall bind."


Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote a poem: 

In what far-off country, upon what obscure day
know not now,Seated in the gloom of some Mahratta mountain-wood
O King Shivaji,
Lighting thy brow, like a lightning flash,
This thought descended,
"Into one virtuous rule, this divided broken distracted India,
I shall bind."

As Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1870-1958) eminent historian, has well expressed:

"Shivaji proved, by his example, that the Hindu race could build a nation, found a State, defeat its enemies; they could conduct their own defence; they could protect and promote literature and art, commerce and industry; they could maintain navies and ocean going fleets of their own, and conduct naval battles on equal terms with foreigners. He taught the modern Hindus to rise to the full stature of their growth. He demonstrated that the tree of Hinduism was not dead, and that it could put forth new leaves and branches and once again rise up its head to the skies."

(source: Shivaji and His Times - By Sir Jadunath Sarkar p. 406).  

D. F. Karaka author of  Shivaji: Portrait of an Early Indian has written the following passage:

" ...by birth a Hindu, by caste a Maratha but by his own inclination Shivaji was an early Indian who fought to preserve the native heritage of the people of the land from the foreign invaders, at that time Moghul and Muslim, but to Shivaji's way of thinking, it could have been anyone else" 

(source: Shivaji: Portrait of an Early Indian - By Dosabhai Framji Karaka  p. 167).

Leaders such as Lala Lajpat Rai, Tilak, Annie Besant, Aurobindo Ghosh and poet Tagore have paid eloquent tributes to Shivaji as a great national leader and the builder of the country.

(source: Shivshahi.on the Web). For more refer to chapter on Islamic Onslaught). Refer to chapter on Seafaring in Ancient India for images of Maratha ships called Mahartha Grab and Gallivat ships attacking an English ship.

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The Great Maratha Power

J. Grant Duff says in History of the Marathas that:

"Bred a soldier as well as a statesman, Bajeerao united the enterprise, vogour, and hardihood of a Maratha chief with the polished manners, the sagacity, and address which frequently distinguish the Brahmins of the Concan.  Fully acquainted with the financial schemes of his father, he selected that part of the plan calculated to direct the predatory hordes of Maharashtra in a common effort.  In this respect, the genious of Bajeerao enlarged the schemes which his father devised; and unlike most Brahmins of him, it may be truly said- he had both- the head to plan and the hand to execute." 

Sir R. Temple says in Oriental Experiences 

"Bajirao was hardly to be surpassed as a rider and was ever forward in action, eager to expose himself under fire if the affair was arduous.  He was inured to fatigue and prided himself on enduring the same hardships as his soldiers and sharing their scanty fare.  He was moved by an ardour for success in national undertakings by a patriotic confidence in the Hindu cause as against its old enemies, the Muhammadans and its new rivals, the Europeans then rising above the political horizon.  He lived to see the Maratha spread over the Indian continent from the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal.  He died as he lived in camp under canvas among his men and he is remembered among the Marathas as the fighting Peshwa, as the incarnation of Hindu energy." 

Jadunath Sarkar says in his forward to Peshwa Bajirao I and Maratha Expansion

"Bajirao was a heaven born cavalry leader.  In the long and distinguished galaxy of Peshwas, Bajirao Ballal was unequalled for the daring and originality of his genius and the volume and value of his achievements.  He was truely a carlylean Hero as king or rather as a Man of action.'  If Sir Robert Walpole created the unchallengeable position of the Prime Minister in the unwritten constitution of England, Bajirao created the same institution in the Maratha Raj at exactly the same time." 



The great Maratha power - Bajirao Peshwa and Rani Lakshmi Bai.


Surendra Nath Sen says in The Military System of the Marathas 

"The lover of Mastani knew well how to appeal to the religious sentiments of his co-religionists, although he could scarcely be considered an orthodox Brahman... Shivaji had given the Marathas a common cry, and none appreciated the potency of that cry clearly than Peshwa Bajirao.  Shivaji's military reforms he would not or could not revive, but he stood forth, as Shivaji had done, as champion of Hinduism.  People of Central and Northern India saw in him a new deliverer."

According to J.N. Sarkar, nature developed in the Marathas "Self-reliance, courage, perseverance, a stern simplicity, a rough straight-forwardness, a sense of social equality and consequently pride in the dignity of man as man. " There were no social distinctions among the people and Maratha women added to the strength and patriotism of men. 

According to Elphinstone 

"They (the Marathas) are all active, laborious, hardy and persevering. If they have none of the pride and dignity of the Rajputs, they have none of their indolence or want of worldly wisdom. A Rajput warrior as long as he does not dishonour his race, seems almost indifferent to the result of any contest he is engaged in. A Maratha thinks of nothing but the result, and cares little for the means, if he can attain his object. For this purpose, he will strain his wits, renounce his pleasures and hazard his person; but has not a conception of sacrificing his life, or even his interest for a point of honour. This difference of sentiment affects the outward appearance of the two nations; there is something noble in the carriage of the ordinary Rajput, and something vulgar in that of the most distinguished Maratha. The Rajput is the most worthy antagonist - the Maratha the most formidable enemy; for he will not fail in boldness and enterprise when they are indispensible, and will always support them or supply their place, by stratagem, activity and perseverance. All this applies chiefly to the soldiery to whom more bad qualities might fairly be ascribed. The mere husbandmen are sober, frugal and industrious, and though they have a dash of national cunning, are neither turbulent nor insincere."

Warren Hastings had noted, "..The Marathas possess alone of all the people of Hindostan and the Deccan a principle of national attachment, which is strongly impressed on all the individuals of the nation.."  

Sir Hugh Rose the commander of the British force, wrote later, "The Ranee was remarkable for her bravery, cleverness and perseverance; her generosity to her Subordinates was unbounded. These qualities, combined with her rank, rendered her the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders." A popular Indian ballad said:

How valiantly like a man fought she,
The Rani of Jhansi
On every parapet a gun she set
Raining fire of hell,
How well like a man fought the Rani of Jhansi
How valiantly and well!

"Bundeli har boli mein suni yehi kahani thi...
Khoob laDi mardaani woh toh Jhansi Wali Rani thi...." 

(source: Hindunet.org). For more on Rani Lakshmi Bai refer to chapter on Women in Hinduism and European Imperialism). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Lord Ganesha - Vinayaka in unique form - By V Ganapathy

The Nandrudayan Vinayaga temple in Devadhanam, Tiruchi, boasts of the unique Adi Vinayagar granite idol depicting Lord Ganesha with his original divine face without the usual elephantine head and the trunk.  

The five-foot tall majestic presiding deity of the temple - Nandrudayan Vinayagar adorning a Naghabharanam around his waist, has a Naganandhi facing him at the Eastern entrance of the temple. It may be mentioned that Nandi Deva is generally associated with Siva Temples only. The Seventh Century Tamil savant Sambandar had in one of his pathikams praised the presiding deity of the temple thereby indicating that this is one of the oldest temples in Sirapalli (Tiruchi).

The four-foot tall Adi Vinayagar is installed in a separate shrine close to the sanctum sanctorum and the divine grace of the brilliantly sculptured granite idol is indeed captivating. In the one hand Lord Ganesha holds the axe, symbolising the destruction of all desires, a rope to indicate his willingness to rescue anyone from the mire of vasanas, the modaka representing the joyous reward of spiritual life, and lotus symbolising that all can achieve the supreme state of self-realisation. The large belly of Ganesha is to convey the idea that a Man of Perfection can consume and digest whatever experience he undergoes. The tiny rat which is seated in front of the Lord amidst a rich collection of food is to indicate that a perfect man - like the rat, will have total control over his desires.  

A unique Adi Vinayagar granite idol depicting Lord Ganesha with his original divine face without the usual elephantine head and the trunk. 


Inside the small shrine one could also see the idols of Adi Sankara, Sage Veda Vyasa, Goddess Gayatri, Sadasiva Brahmendra and Saint Pattinathar. According to Sage Ramarathinam, Trustee of the temple, the Kanchi Paramacharya, used to offer worship at the Thayumanavar and Uchipillayar temples atop the Rockfort. When he visited the temple about 60 years ago he suggested the rendering of the Vedas in the temple everyday it is being followed, the reciting done by scholars. Just behind the sanctum sanctorum an Anjaneya shrine has been established and the temple has separate shrines for Lord Muruga, the Navagrahas, Goddess Durga and Lord Ayyappa in the other Mandapam. Special poojas are performed for Adi Vinayagar on Thursdays. In the annual music festival conducted for the past 83 years almost all leading musicians have participated. It may be recalled that Devadhanam of today is highly congested where daily wage earners, rag pickers, dealers in old second hand household articles, etc. live. A couple of centuries ago, prior to the establishment of the Town railway station Devadhanam was the entry point to the city from the East. Situated very close to the Cauvery, Devadhanam sported some very important and ancient temples, the Bhoologanathaswami temple, Veerasoora Mahakaliamman temple, Nandrudayan temple, etc. There were four huge tanks close to these temples all of which have now been converted into lorry stand, weekly market and parks. In recent years the residents of the area have taken a keen interest in preserving old and ancient temples.

(source: Vinayaka in unique form - By V Ganapathy - hindu.com). For more refer to chapter on Symbolism in Hinduism).

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Cosmic Balance and World Peace - By Frederic Lamond

Until 3,000 years ago, all religions were pantheistic and polytheistic as Hinduism, Taoism and Shinto still are. They tolerated the religions of other tribes and cultures, recognizing in their worship the same divine energies as their own, albeit with different names.

Why then did patriarchal, monotheistic religions arise in the Middle East 3,000 years ago, and spread in their Christian forms throughout Europe and then on to the European colonized overseas territories during the last 1,500 years? Why did these monotheistic religions fight so fiercely to eradicate nature worship in the lands they controlled? Why did Christianity promote a dualistic antagonism between the spirit and the flesh, with only the former conceived as being in the ‘‘image of God’’? 

(source: Cosmic Balance and World Peace - By Frederic Lamond). For more refer to chapter on Nature Worship).

"All religions have a home in the vast cauldron of spirituality that is India."

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Ramjanmabhoomi - Evidence from Ayodhya


A 12th century plaque showing gandharvas holding garlands

Watch History of Ayodhya - videogoogle.com.



Fractured Shiva-Parvati statue, the trishul style points to 11-12th century.   -   Figurine of a goddess.

A 12th century Bhairava murthy with matted locks, large eyes and protruding teeth.


A 12th century inscription recovered from the site on 6 December 1992, considered as a 'clinching evidence' by many senior archaeologists and historians. The illustrious Gahadavalas dynasty, is credited with the construction of the Ram temple found below the Babri structure at Ayodhya

"The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a very small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and classical Nagari script of the 11-12th century A.D. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of this inscription, for example clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (silasamhati-grahais), and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvairapy-akritam kritam nripatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (aty-adbhutani) was built in the temple-city of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala showing that Ayodhya and Saketa were closely connected, Saketa being the district of which Ayodhya was a part. Line 19 describes God Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten headed personage (Dasanana, i.e. Ravana).

(Translation of the above inscription provided by Prof. Ajaya Mitra Shastri, former Chairman, Epigraphical Society of India, Nagpur. India).

Watch History of Ayodhya - videogoogle.com.

(source: Ramjanmabhoomi: Facts and Figures - Hindu Renaissance periodical - Gurupaurnima, Ravivar, Ashadh Shudhha 15, Yugabda  5105 p. 32 - 33). For more refer to chapter on GlimpsesVII).


Sir V S Naipaul on the Islamic Onslaught

"I would call it (the destruction of the Babri Masjid) an act of historical balancing. The mosque built by Babar in Ayodhya was meant as an act of contempt. Babar was no lover of India. I think it is universally accepted that Babar despised India, the Indian people and their faith."

""Fractured past" is too polite a way to describe India's calamitous millennium. The millennium began with the Muslim invasions and the grinding down of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of the north. This is such a big and bad event that people still have to find polite, destiny-defying ways of speaking about it.
In art books and history books, people write of the Muslims "arriving"in India, as though the Muslims came on a tourist bus and went away again. The Muslim view of their conquest of India is a truer one. They speak of the triumph of the faith, the destruction of idols and temples, the loot, the carting away of the local people as slaves, so cheap and numerous that they were being sold for a few rupees. The architectural evidence-the absence of Hindu monuments in the north-is convincing enough. This conquest was unlike any other that had gone before.

There are no Hindu records of this period. Defeated people never write their history. The victors write the history. The victors were Muslims. For people on the other side it is a period of darkness. Indian history is written about as a matter of rulers and kingdoms shifting and changing. This is why it all seems petty and boring to read and hard to remember. But there is a larger and more tragic and more illuminating theme. That theme is the grinding down of Hindu India.

(source: OutlookIndia.com, 15 November 1999 and  http://www.indpride.com/vsnaipaul.html).


Rampant Negationism : The Indian Marxists - By Koenraad Elst

One should know that there is a strange alliance between the Indian communist parties and the Muslim fanatics. Marxism dehumanizes people to impersonal pawns, or “forces” in the hands of god History. The Marxist historians had the field all to themselves, and they set to work to “decommunalize” Indian history-writing, ie. To erase the importance of Islam as a factor of conflict. 

In Communalism and the Writing of Indian History, Romila Thapar, Harbans Mukhia and Bipin Chandra, professors at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, the Mecca of “secularism” and negationism) in Delhi, write that the interpretation of medieval wars as religious conflicts is in fact a back-projection of contemporary religious conflict artificially created for political purposes. They explicitly deny that before the modern period there existed such a thing as Hindu identity or Muslim identity. Conflicts could not have been between Hindus and Muslims, only between rulers or classes who incidentally also belonged to one religious community or the other. It is of course a fact that in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw the Nazis employed Jewish guards: this does not disapprove Nazi-Jewish enemity. Time and again, the negationist historians (including Bipan Chandra, K N Panikkar, S. Gopal, Romila Thapar, Harnans Mukhia, Irfan Habib, R S Sharma, Gyandra Pandey, Sushil Srivastava, Asghar Ali Engineer, as well as the Muslim fundamentalist politician Syed Shahabuddin) have asserted that the tradition according to which the Babri mosque forcibly replaced a Hindu temple, is nothing but a myth purposely created in the 19th century. To explain the popularity of the myth even among local Muslim writers in the 19th century, most of them say it was a deliberate British concoction, spread in the interest of the “divide and rule” policy. They affirm this conspiracy scenario without anyhow citing, from the copious archives which the British administration in India has left behind, any kind of positive indication for their convenient hypothesis – let alone the rigorous proof on which a serious historian would base his assertions, especially in such controversial questions. 

Personal Attacks on Opponents 

In December 1990, the leading JNU historians and several allied scholars, followed by the herd of secularist pen-pushers in the Indian press, have tried to raise suspicions against the professional honesty of Prof. B B Lal and Dr. S P Gupta, the archaeologists who have unearthed evidence for the existence of a Hindu temple at the Babri Masjid site. Rebuttals by these two and a number of other archaeologists have received minimal coverage in the secularist press. 

I have been thinking of the behavior of our Marxist friends and historians, their unprovoked slander campaign against many collegues, hurling abuses and convicting anyone and everyone even before the charges could be framed and proved. Their latest target is so sober and highly respected a person as Prof. B B Lal, who has all his life never involved himself in petty politics or in the groupism so favorite a sport among the so-called Marxist intellectuals of this country. But then slander is a well-practised art among the Marxists.” 

(source: Negationism in India - By Koenraad Elst   p. 37 -41). Refer to My People, Uprooted: "A Saga of the Hindus of Eastern Bengal"  - By Tathagata Roy

Watch History of Ayodhya - videogoogle.com.

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Submerged city may be older than Mesopotamia
There is growing evidence that the East Coast of India was the real cradle of modern civilization. Perhaps it's time to rewrite the history books...?


The Big Temple built by Rajaraja Cholan - This temple is a fine example for the Indian sculptural architecture greatness. The temple tower sanctum sanctorum is 216 feet tall.


A submerged coastal city near Poompuhar in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, is the focus of a major expedition being conducted jointly by the Indian Naval Hydrographic Department (INHD) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Both the organizations are trying to piece together the city's past, which some noted marine archaeologists consider to be the birthplace of modern civilization. The once flourishing port city is located about one mile off the Nagapattinam coast.

"We have been able to locate a section of the city at a depth of 7 m and will soon start operations to recover objects that will help ascertain its past," said Rear Admiral K.R. Srinivasan, chief hydrographer to the Indian government. English marine archaeologist Graham Hancock, who conducted an underwater exploration in the area in 2001, believes that the Poompuhar site could be older than Sumeria in Mesopotamia, where modern civilization is believed to have originated nearly 5,000 years ago.

It led Hancock to surmise that the city could have been submerged by a tidal wave as high as 400 ft somewhere between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago.

(source: Submerged city may be older than Mesopotamia - By Utpal Parashar - hindustantimes.com).  For a panoramic view of the Big Temple). For more refer to chapter on Aryan Invasion Theory). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Where's India's holocaust museum? - By Francois Gautier

The massacre of 6 million Jews by Hitler and the persecution Jews suffered all over the world in the last 15 centuries has been meticulously recorded by the Jews after 1945 and has been enshrined not only in history books, but also in Holocaust museums, the most famous one being in Washington, DC.

Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists have also suffered a terrible holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush for instance, probably one of the biggest genocides of Hindus. There is practically no serious research ever done about it and no mention in history books. Yet the name Hindu Kush appears many times in the writings of Muslim chroniclers in 1333 AD. Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, said the name meant 'Hindu Killer,' a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. 'However,' writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, 'the number is easily likely to be in millions.' 

Afghanistan was a full part of the Hindu cradle up till the year 1000, and in political unity with India until Nadir Shah separated it in the 18th century. The mountain range in Eastern Afghanistan where the native Hindus were slaughtered, is still called the Hindu Kush.

(Note: To the Hindus, this mountain range was known as Paariyaatra Parvat. But when the last Hindu king of Kabul was killed. Muslims ruled this land and then called these mountains the Hindu Kush -- "Slaughter of the Hindus" ).

It is significant that one of the very few place-names on earth that reminds us not of the victory of the winners but rather of the slaughter of the losers, concerns a genocide of Hindus by the Muslims.

The saptamatrikas

A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. The Encyclopaedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Taimurlane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Taimurlane's army was about 100,000.

The Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar's court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms '1,500,000 residents perished.' 'Thus, 'it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Moslem conquests.'

Kashmir was also the crucible of knowledge, spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. It was known as Sharda Peeth, the abode of learning. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars like Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute. Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on Sharda Peeth, zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries.

Sun Temple:  The most memorable and beautiful work of Lalitaditya Mukhtapida is the construction of spacious Martand temple which the emperor got built in honour of the Sungod - Bhaskar. Martand has a very high place in the world's great architecutral designs. The  temple is a mirror of the art and skill of Kashmiri Hindus. This way Lalitaditya should not be considered a founder of a vast empire but also a founder of art and skill of Kashmiri Hindus for six centuries.

Watch History of Ayodhya - videogoogle.com.


In the Hindu imagination, Kashmir is said to be the abode of gods. Amid these deeply forested hills, Siva is said to have narrated to his consort Parvati, the sacred Amarkatha, the secret of immortality. In ancient times, Kashmir was known as Sarada Peeth, the seat of the goddess of learning. In Kashmir, visions of the lord's glory are constantly in front of us. It is only natural that the unique form of Kashmir Saivism developed here. In this philosophy there is a great emphasis on the worship of Sakti, who is the manifestation in this world of the ideal that is Siva. She is seen constantly in the beauty and grandeur of the great mountains, in crystal-clear streams of water and in the deep beauty of the still lakes of Kashmir. Indian thinkers have always seen the world around as a reflection of the beauty of God. It is believed that the feeling of ecstasy upon seeing the beauty of nature or a truly fine work of art is akin to brahmananda (the final bliss of enlightenment) itself. In that moment of bliss, the faithful sense their oneness with the whole of creation and the great beauty of God that is reflected in every aspect of the world


We would also like to start another exhibition on forced Christian conversions in the Northeast. Ultimately, we would like to build a Hindu/ Sikh/Buddhist Indian Holocaust Museum based in New Delhi, or in Bangalore. It will record not only the genocide of Hindus Sikhs and Buddhists at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecution of the Portuguese (hardly mentioned in Indian history books) and British -- nobody knows for instance that 20 million Indians died of famine between 1815 and 1920, because the English broke the agricultural backbone of India to get raw materials like cotton, jute etc.

Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT -- Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism. We need your support for this Indian Holocaust Museum.

(source: Where's India's holocaust museum? - By Francois Gautier - rediff.com and Ayodhya and After - By Koenraad Elst Voice of India SKU: INBK2650 p.278). http://www.flonnet.com/fl2109/stories/20040507000106500.htm. For more on Martand Temple refer to Converted Kashmir and http://ignca.nic.in/asp/showbig.asp?projid=rar1 and http://www.jktourism.org/cities/kashmir/site-see/shrines.htm#8 For more refer to chapter on Islamic Onslaught and European Imperialism). Refer to My People, Uprooted: "A Saga of the Hindus of Eastern Bengal"  - By Tathagata Roy

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Pray, why this leap of faith? 
Fraudulent use of Hindu Scriptures by Christian Evangelists?

For long they have said Hindu Gods were devils and any worship of Them is a heathen practice. Now Christian zealots have outdone themselves by taking a giant leap of faith and claiming that the various Vedic Sanskrit slogans were in praise of Jesus and not Hindu Gods.

Christian propaganda pamphlets and booklets in circulation especially in and around Madurai district also make the ludicrous suggestion that Swami Vivekananda had asked the people to worship Jesus. The pamphlets, which have been put in circulation by the Madurai-based Infant Jesus Hospital (headed by one Rev Fr. Caleb), also fraudulently invoke Bhagawat Gita slogans saying that they preach against idol worship. The highly inflammatory but dubious pamphlets, which the footsoldiers (primarily women) of Christian expansionism have been delivering at doorstep after doorstep in Southern districts, go as far as to decree that 'people should not follow any other faith other than Christianity'.

Just sample some of the 'interpretations' in the pamphlets:

Om Sri Brahma Puthraya Nama reads as 'I worship Jesus, who came to the world as God's son (Yowan 3:16.17)'.

Om Shri Dakshina Murthaya Nama is translated as 'I worship Jesus who is sitting on the thigh of his father (Yowan (1:18)'.

Taking specific mantras from Sama Veda, the Christian marketers say 'Om Sri Panchakaya Nama refers to Jesus, the one with five wounds (panchakaya) Yowan 20:25.27. Om Sri Ummathiya Nama is translated as 'I hail one born to the holy spirit' (Mathew 1:18).

Parajapathi is taken to be representing the Christ and several quotes are given to suggest that Hinduism had all along had been talking about the 'Holy Saviour'.  

A Tamil advertisement posted by a Church claiming that Hinduism is been derived from 'Thomasian' Dravida Christianity. The highly inflammatory but dubious pamphlets, which the footsoldiers (primarily women) of Christian expansionism have been delivering at doorstep after doorstep in Southern districts, go as far as to decree that 'people should not follow any other faith other than Christianity'.

Refer to Religious Freedom Report as a Political Weapon - According to the report, there seems to be mainly one discriminated minority in India : the Christian missionaries.

Refer to Persecution complex - Evangelical lawmakers behind creation of USCIRF


The pamphlets go the whole hog and reel out several texts from the hoary Rig Veda, saying all of them were meant for Christianity.

The mantra from Brihat Aranyako Upanishad (Asathoma sadhgamaya, Tamasoma Jyothirgamaya...) is laboriously expanded and explained to mean that Jesus is leading as the light of the world. And the 'explanation' goes on to add: 'there is a word-to-word answer in the bible to every prayer in the Upanishad'.

Bhagwat Gita is also not left alone. In a seeming translation of a verse from Neethicharam, the pamphlet says that 'those fools who worship statues made up of stone, wood and metal would beget nothing other than misery and would not be pardoned'.

Of course, this is plain duplicitous misinterpretation. But they have not stopped with that. They go on to plain falsehoods. The pamphlets invoke Swami Vivekananda and say that he wanted hundreds and thousands of Christian religious workers to come to India so that the preaching of Jesus could go to the hearts of all Hindu people.

Understandably the locals are highly offended at the effrontery of the evangelists. Apart from the farcical and facile reasonings in the hand-outs, the locals say the fact they (evangelists) made bold to deliver them in every household makes clear their rabid fundamentalism. The brazen approach of the Christian preachers is a major talking point in the Southern districts for quite some time. They brook at no niceties. Anything goes for them. The ways are unimportant to them. In going about their patently communal ways, they have vitiated the general atmosphere in the districts. The prayers (real ones) of the peace-loving people to the authorities have had no effect so far.

(source: Pray, why this leap of faith? - newstodaynet.com and The Hijacking of Hinduism - Indians Against Christian Aggression).

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Who was this Staines really? By Chitranjan Mahopadhyay

The case is almost closed now. Dara Singh has been convicted, Graham Staines is widely regarded as a martyr. The first one is seen as a symbol of communal Hindu mind while the other as an innocent do-gooder for the tribals. But is the truth really so? Was Staines just a simple-minded social worker working amongst the tribals of Orissa for leprosy eradication and Dara Singh a rabid communalist?

Nobody denies that Staines was involved in leprosy treatment. But, as many tribals in the area point out even today, Staines was involved in something more sinister too: Converting to Christianity innocent and gullible tribals who accepted him and his family readily.

It is easy and almost facile to glorify Staines in the aftermath of his gory death. There is no justification for his killing, yet very importantly he was no saint out to merely help the tribals. Right from 1965 when he came to this sleepy village Mayurbhanj, Staines was just a simple missionary out to add numbers to his religion. The leprosy eradication work was plain incidental. 

This is a fact that can be verified even today with the tribals. Staines was the Secretary of the Evangelical Missionary Society of Mayurbhanj (EMSM).

Locals say that as a missionary, Staines was primarily preaching the gospel and spreading the tenets of Christianity in jungle camps held in different tribal belts in the district of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar. Many such camps were held very close Hindu festivals. Tribals say that during such camps the talk and focus would be around belittling Hindu festivals and Gods. This led to tension and unease in the locality.  But Staines seemed prepared for confrontations, and whenever some angry tribals accosted and took him on the subject, he would not retaliate in angry words. His reaction was a practised silence. It is easy and almost natural to interpret this as example of his essential simple and peace-loving attitude. But the actual truth was Staines was striking two mangoes with one stone: Getting the tribals converted even while stoking the anger of others to show them as the villains of the situation. Machiavelli could not have bettered this. It is a classical ploy, and it worked it works even today.

Staines efforts at conversion paid rich dividends as he managed to get the entire Ho and Santal tribes to Christianity. The tribals converted to Christianity distanced themselves from the non-Christian tribals and adopted anti-tribal customary practice of eating beef and ploughing land during Raja festival (when according to the tribal custom the land was to be kept fallow).

In a show of brinkmanship, they also played Christian audio cassettes in marriage functions to the chagrin of tribals.  

As because of this, tension and unease was a constant in the locality. Innocent tribals who had lived together in peace and harmony for long were now ranged up against each other. 



 Innocent tribals who had lived together in peace and harmony for long were now ranged up against each other.

Refer to Religious Freedom Report as a Political Weapon - According to the report, there seems to be mainly one discriminated minority in India : the Christian missionaries.

Refer to Persecution complex - Evangelical lawmakers behind creation of USCIRF


It is in such a scheme of things that an angry young man from Auriya in Uttar Pradesh named Rabindra Kumar Pal alias Dara Singh came to the area. He was young and volatile, and hence could not stand what was happening around. But his mental make up was such that he was not ready for the nuanced psychological warfare that his adversaries were waging. Like his words, Dara Singh's action were also blunt. Some of the non-Christian tribals of Manoharpur and nearby villages seething at the behaviour of tribal converts in shunning tribal traditions found a Messiah (if that is the word) in Dara Singh.

Soon enough, the inevitable happened. Staines and his sons were set ablaze.  It was a heinous crime no doubt, but in a sense it was waiting to happen. Staines was courting disaster with his extremely provocative actions.  Perhaps that was the plan, after all. After such a high-profile event which the media also jumped on to, there was nobody to really understand what had really happened. Worse, there none to ask the question 'why'. The case that the media built was: 'Dara Singh was so communal that he could not tolerate the good work of the Christian Staines'. The truth alas, as the locals say even today, was totally different.  Like many things in Indian history, the story of Staines is also being written with an ink dipped in falsehoods and sweeping generalisations. 

(source: Who was this Staines really? - By Chitranjan Mahopadhyay ). For more on Staines refer to chapter on Conversion and www.hvk.org/specialrepo/wadhwa/Graham.html). Sign the petition - UN & Religious Proselytization - petitiononline.com).

Besides his Involvement with Leprosy Home, Staines was also involved in missionary work.  The missionary work of Staines has come to light from the various despatches sent by him to Australia, which is published in a newsletter 'Tidings'. The fact that Staines was murdered for his “aggresive evangelism” should be a sign that things are not hunky-dory for religion-based missionaries in India. Why do missionaries have to try and weave religion into their humanitarian efforts? Is it not enough to care and look after the needy wiothout expecting them to change their religion as the “price” for their welfare?

Supreme Court of India bans Conversions

A Supreme Court judgment in 1977 had clearly declared conversion as an unconstitutional activity holding that the right to propagate religion didn't constitute the right to convert people of one religion to another.

(source: Supreme Court of India bans Conversions  - timesofindia.com). For more refer to The Sunshine of Secularism). For more refer to The War against Hinduism - By Stephen Knapp and
Indians Against Christian Aggression. Sign the petition - UN & Religious Proselytization - petitiononline.com). Refer to VINDICATED BY TIME: The Niyogi Committee Report  On Christian Missionary Activities - Christianity Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956 and The Sunshine of Secularism.

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Conversion confusion - By B S Ragahavan

The fury of the Church leaders all over the country directed at the Tamil Nadu ordinance against religious conversions by allurement, inducement, or coercion is not in consonance with the sobriety and restraint usually associated with members of that faith. Some Archbishops have issued threats of closing educational institutions run by them.

The outcry engineered by Christian community leaders, with Muslim support, is exactly similar to the one following the law of erstwhile Travancore State on temple entry. At that time, the Archbishop of Canterbury lambasted it as a deliberate roadblock set up against conversions of the untouchables to the Church. 

Sree Chithira Thirunal Maharaja of Travancore - Kerala made the historical Temple Entry Proclamation, opening the temples of Travancore for all Hindus irrespective of caste.

Refer to VINDICATED BY TIME: The Niyogi Committee Report  On Christian Missionary Activities - Christianity Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956


(Note: In 1936, Sree Chithira Thirunal Maharaja of Travancore made the historical Temple Entry Proclamation, opening the temples of Travancore for all Hindus irrespective of caste).                          

Likewise, when during a debate on the activities of Christian missionaries in 1954, the Home Minister, Kailash Nath Katju, made it clear that missionaries coming to India only for evangelical work had better stay home, there was a synthetic furore from the Church leaders. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (than whom it is hard to imagine a more fervent secularist) asked Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to tell off Archbishop Valerian Cardinal Gracias that that while conversion by an individual out of deep conviction was unexceptionable, there was no room for mass conversions of the kind indulged in by missionaries by inducement and alienation and that Katju had only expressed a `sensible view''. 

Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, are all linear, proselytising systems, constantly looking for ways to cut into each other's space. There has always been a fundamental difficulty when these linear, proselytising systems come into contact with a circular system, one that does not proselytise.

A letter written by Maulana Azad, as education minister, to Cardinal Gracias. 

"But there is another method of conversion: of social reasons or for a common cause, a large group of people makes up its mind to defect from one religion to another. If each individual of this group were asked to explain why he left the faith of his forebears, I am certain he will not be able to advance a reason persuasive enough that such a person has actually reflected on the question of religion and truth. On most occasions such groups are composed of people who have no education, people who are singularly incapable of making up their minds on issues that inform a matter as serious a religious belief. "Similarly, conversion of young children, who have not developed a sense of right and wrong, cannot be considered as true religious conversion."

Persons in public life who have no political or religious axe to grind have been pointing out that the ordinance is not born out of a sudden machination by Ms Jayalalithaa, that similar laws have been in existence for 30 years or more in Arunachal Pradesh, Mahya Pradesh and Orissa and that, when the Madhya Pradesh law was challenged before the Supreme Court on a variety of plausible and far-fetched grounds, it unambiguously upheld in memorable words its Constitutional sanction, nailing once for all the argument that propagation extended to proselytisation.

All this is now old hat. There are some little-known facts which should make the sponsors of the unseemly protest pause and ponder. Israel passed in mid-1970s a much more stringent law under which conversions by adopting the same methods as mentioned in the Tamil Nadu ordinance are punishable with five years rigorous imprisonment. 

Saying that all foreign missionaries were "at heart imperialistic and colonialists'' who "did harm to China'', the then Chinese Prime Minister, Chou-en-lai, at one go expelled the whole lot of them. Our Christian fathers will admit that the leading democracy of the world and votary of human rights, the US, has found nothing reprehensible in either course of action.

(source: Conversion confusion - By B S Ragahavan - hindubusinessonline.com and No mass conversions - By Saeed Naqvi - indianexpress.com). For more refer to chapter on Conversion).

Refer to Religious Freedom Report as a Political Weapon - According to the report, there seems to be mainly one discriminated minority in India : the Christian missionaries. Refer to Persecution complex - Evangelical lawmakers behind creation of USCIRF. Refer to VINDICATED BY TIME: The Niyogi Committee Report  On Christian Missionary Activities - Christianity Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956 and The Sunshine of Secularism.

Harvesting Indians abroad ?

These missionary experts concluded that Indians who had settled abroad, and whose links with their mother-culture had thus been weakened by exposure to the West, are a group that would yield a specially rich harvest: “The main concern of the recently established Fellowship of South Asian Christians (organized at the Overseas Indians Congress on Evangelism, June 9-15, 1980) is the evangelization of South Asians living abroad. This should become a dynamic force for evangelism of Asians, many of whom are Hindus, scattered in countries other than their homeland.”

(source: Harvesting Our Souls - Missionaries, their design, their claims -  Arun Shourie  p. 59).  For more refer to Indians Against Christian Aggression.

Assault on India

Missionaries are systematically targeting specific regions of India in hopes of converting the entire nation to their brand of fanatic Christianity. The central states of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (red) have the highest percentage of Hindus and are what missionaries have labeled as "The Hindu Belt". The church has aims to eliminate Hinduism believes the entire population of India can be converted to Christianity if this region is converted first. In fact, the church has deemed that the "Evangelization of the Hindu belt of India may be the greatest single challenge in world evangelization today." One of the most effective strategies that Missionaries have employed is to create indigenous missionaries. Indigenous missionaries can relate to the local population and also are not faced with visa restrictions. The Christian onslaught of India can be noticed by the simple fact that India has more indigenous missionaries than any other country in the world. The graph above shows that the number of indigenous missionaries has increased nearly four-fold in less than a decade to 44,000 indigenous missionaries!  

If the statistical trends above continue, India seems doomed to become a Christian nation. However, with coordinated efforts by the citizens and government of India, we can stop these sinister designs of missionaries and hope that India can remain to be a bastion of true religious freedom.

Assault on India - Indian Against Christian Aggression). 

Conversions subvert cultural plurality - By Sandhya Jain

Conversions are objectionable because they invariably involve loss of identity. This is unavoidable because the religions that proselytize are those that have aggressively destroyed the heritage and roots of the societies whose adherence they won, usually by violence. A cursory glance at the European, African, North and South American and Australian continents will testify to the veracity of this statement.

(source:  Conversions subvert cultural plurality - By Sandhya Jain - saag.org). Sign the petition - UN & Religious Proselytization - petitiononline.com).

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Why India Is A Nation - By Sankrant Sanu

One of the oft-repeated urban myths that sometimes pops-up in conversation even among many educated, well meaning Indians is that India as a nation is a British creation. The argument goes roughly as follows – India is an artificial entity. There are only a few periods in history when it was unified under the same political entity. It was only the British that created the idea of India as a single nation and unified it into a political state. A related assumption, in our minds, is that the developed Western countries have a comparatively far greater continuity of nationhood, and legitimacy as states, than India.

This urban myth is not accidental. It was deliberately taught in the British established system of education. John Strachey, writing in `India: Its Administration and Progress' in 1888, said “This is the first and most essential thing to remember about India – that there is not and never was an India, possessing … any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious; no Indian nation.”

To teach this self-serving colonial narrative obviously suited the British policy of divide and rule. That it still inanely survives means that it is worth setting to rest. This colonial narrative is demonstrably false. Not only is India a coherent nation but, in fact, there are few countries on the planet that are more legitimate nation-states than India. That some of us don't see this clearly only reflects how we have accepted the colonial myths as well as failed to study the history of the rest of the world.  

The United Kingdom was not really united till the act of Union in 1702 when England (including Wales) and Scotland came together. Even then they retained different laws and (even more crucially in European nationhood) retained separate national Churches. In 1801, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. In 1922, Ireland broke off as an independent country resulting in the present political formation – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thus the UK in its present political state, if that is the criteria to be used, is not even a hundred years old. Across the Atlantic, the picture is even more stark.

The first element of Indian nationhood draws from its unique geography. India is one of the few countries that can be located on a physical map of the world, even when no political boundaries are drawn. Remarkably, the idea of India, as Bharatavarsha or Aryavrata, appears to have been alive for thousands of years in our stories, thousands of years before there was an America or a Great Britain or a Mexico or France. From the Manusmriti, we learn of the land of Aryavrata stretching from the Himalayas and Vindhyas all the way to the eastern and western oceans. Without the idea of Bharata, there could have been no epic called the Maha-Bharata that engaged kings throughout this land of Bharata. Similarly, the story of Ramayana draws the north-south linkage from Ayodhya all the way down to Rameshwaram, at the tip of which is finally the land of Lanka.

This sacred geography is what makes northerners flock to Tirupati and southerners to the Kumbha Mela.  


Shankaracharya Matha Yatra

It was this idea of civilizational unity and sacred geography of India that inspired Shankaracharya to not only enunciate the mysteries of the Vedanta but to go around setting up mathas circumscribing the land of India in a large diamond shape. While sage Agasthya crossed the Vindhya and came down south, Shankracharya was born in the village of Kalady in Kerala and traveled in the opposite direction for the establishment of dharma. If this land was not linked in philosophical and cultural exchanges, and there was no notion of a unified nation, why then did Shankracharya embark on his countrywide digvijay yatra? What prompted him to establish centers spreading light for the four quadrants of this land – Dwarka in the west (in Gujarat), Puri in the east (in Orissa), Shringeri in the south (Karnataka) and Badrinath (Uttaranchal) in the north? He is then said to have gone to Srinagar (the abode of `Sri' or the Shakti) in Kashmir, which still celebrates this in the name of Shankaracharya Hill. What better demonstration that the idea of the cultural unity of the land was alive more than a thousand years ago?

And yet, these stories are not taught to us in our schools in India. We learn instead, in our colonial schools, that the British created India and gave us a link language, as if we were not talking to each other for thousands of years, traveling, telling and retelling stories before the British came. How else did these ideas travel so rapidly through the landmass of India, and how did Shankracharya circumscribe India, debating, talking and setting up institutions all within his short lifespan of 32 years? 

(source: Why India Is A Nation - By Sankrant Sanu - sulekha.com).

The epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata provide a clear example of how the various regions of India were linked by a common culture and awareness. Al-Biruni, writing about India from a place west of the Indus , is aware of the centrality of Vasudeva and Rama to the Indian tradition. All over India we find local versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They may disagree on the details, but not on the essentials. Even the regional variants of the epics show an awareness of the ‘whole’ and not merely of the region they were composed in. The ‘Great’ tradition of the Sanskrit epics is mirrored in the ‘little’ traditions, which are local in their form and yet global in their scope.

Besides this intimate knowledge of the parts, the Mahabharata presents a conception of the whole of India as a geographical unit in the famous passage in the Bhismaparva where the shape of India is described as an equilateral triangle, divided into four smaller equal triangles, the apex of which is Cape Comorin and the base formed by the line of the Himalaya mountains. As remarked by Cunningham (Ancient Geography of India, p 5), “the shape corresponds very well with the general form of the country, if we extend the limits of India to Ghazni on the north-west and fix the other two points of the triangle at Cape Comorin and Sadiya in Assam.”   (Mookerji pp. 62-63).

(source:  The Unity of India - By Dileep Karanth - svabhinava.org). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Bali - The Great Hindu Kingdoms of Indonesia

Bali is a living museum of the old Indo-Javanese civilization that flourished on East Java over 400 years ago. Bali today provides scholars with clues about India's past religious history in old sacred texts that have vanished in India itself.

Indonesia, October 8, 2003: This interesting article on the history of Hinduism in Indonesia ("source" above) begins, "Over 400 years ago most of East Java was exactly like Bali is today. Prior to 1815 Bali had a greater population density than Java, suggesting its Hindu-Balinese civilization was even more successful than Java's. When Sir Stamford Raffles wrote his History Of Java in the early 19th century, he had to turn to Bali for what remained of the once-great literature of classical Java. Even today Bali provides scholars with clues about India's past religious life, clues which long ago vanished in India itself.

"Bali first came under the influence of Indic Javanese kings in the 6th to 8th centuries. The island was conquered by the first documented King of Central Java, Sanjaya, in 732; stone and copper inscriptions in Old Balinese have been found that date from 882 CE. From the 10th to the 12th centuries, the Balinese Warmadewa family established a dynastic link with Java. Court decrees were thereafter issued in the Old Javanese language of Kawi and Balinese sculpture, bronzes, and other artistic styles, bathing places, and rock-cut temples began to resemble those in East Java. 

The Sanur pillar (914 CE), partly written in Sanskrit, supports the theory that portions of the island were already Indianized in the 10th century. Bali's way of life was well defined by the early part of the 10th century. By then, the Balinese were engaged in sophisticated wet- rice cultivation, livestock breeding, stone- and woodcarving, metalworking, roof thatching, canoe building, even cockfighting. The Balinese of the time were locked into feudal genealogical and territorial bondage. They were subjects of a Hinduized ruler -- one of a number of regional Balinese princes -- who himself acknowledged the sovereignty of a Javanese overlord..."

(source: The Great Hindu Kingdoms of Indonesia and Hinduism Today).  For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Hindu organization condemns discrimination against Dalit student

A Hindu organisation in the US has condemned reported discrimination against a Dalit student who was allegedly victimised for offering prayers in a Hindu temple in India's Andhra Pradesh state.

Navya Shastra, which professes spiritual equality of all Hindus, has also promised financial assistance to Tukaram, 19, to meet his educational costs.

The boy scored a first class in his intermediate examinations and visited the village temple of Hanuman to make the traditional coconut offering in Allapur, Andhra Pradesh. When members of the upper caste community discovered this they condemned the boy and extorted Rs.500 fine from his apologetic father, Tulsiram. They also purified the temple by washing it with cow urine and dung so as to efface the imprints of an "untouchable," according to Vikram Masson, co-chairman of the organisation. Such community-based discrimination continues in India despite a constitutional ban and strict legal safeguards against community discrimination.

"Tukaram must know that others in the Hindu world strongly condemn such actions," said Jaishree Gopal, the other co-chairman of the organisation.

"Navya Shastra will award Tukaram a scholarship to help his family with Tukaram's educational costs and sincerely hopes that the Indian government and religious leaders will pay more attention to the apartheid in our midst," said Gopal.

(source:  Hindu organization condemns discrimination against Dalit student - newindpress.com and Hindu body condemns discrimination against Dalit teenager - yahoo.com).

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Fingerprints of the Gods
Ancient India and Greek legends 

It has long been recognized that India's sacred stories of gods and goddesses are closely related to those of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Nordic and Germanic peoples. So similar are they, indeed, that event the days of the week, both in India and in the West, continue to be named after the same deities, who represented the same planets: Sun for Sunday, Moon for Monday, Mars for Tuesday, Mercury for Wednesday (Woden's day in Norse legend), Jupiter for Thursday (Thor's day in Scandinivia; Brihaspati, or Jupiter's day in India), Venus for Friday, and Saturn for Saturday.

I was being given a guided tour of the Parthenon in Athens several years ago when my guide challenged me: "I bet you don't know where the ancient Greek legends come from."

"From India," I replied.

She stared at me in astonishment. "How did you know that? You are quite right, but very few people are aware of the fact."

(source: The Hindu Way of Awakening - By J Donald Walters p. 46 - 47). For more refer to chapter on India and Greece and Hinduisms influence). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Vietnam Festival Includes Ancient Hindu Temple

Cham Village, Vietnam: September 25, 2003: The Cham ethnic group's Kate Festival opened at the Cham Village in Phuoc Huu commune, Ninh Phuoc district, Ninh Thuan province, on Wednesday. The festival, held annually on the first ten days of the seventh month of the Cham Calendar, is an occasion for the Cham people to express their gratitude to their God, who is both creator of the universe and a national hero. Aside from a ritual performance in traditional Cham costumes, this year's Kate Festival also includes cultural exchange activities and the Cham's traditional and modern sporting contests. This contest will draw 715 Cham athletes and craftsmen from Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hai and Ninh Son districts, and Phan Rang-Thap Cham Township. They will compete in volleyball, football, tug of war and relay races and traditional sports events such as brocade making and water jug wearing. 

The Cham culture bred Kate festival is the culture which has been influenced by Indian culture.

HPI adds: The yearly Kate festival attracts thousands of Cham people to the ancient Hindu hill temple of Po Klaung Gerai. Their brahmin priests perform abhishekam of the Mukhalinga while Cham music and folk dance are performed in the temple courtyard. 

Vietnam Festival Includes Ancient Hindu Temple  and The Cham Festival -  For more refer to chapter on Suvarnabhumi).

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ShivaBot Hit of Robot Show

New York City, July 15, 2003: Not all robots look and act like the Terminator. The idea behind ArtBots, billed as a talent show for robots, is to show kids of all ages the softer side of bots. Fear of potentially rabid robots and other supposedly sentient technology is what motivated ArtBots organizers to host the show held in New York City recently. The show brought together 23 robots whose talents ranged from creating art to inspiring affection from passersby. "I thought that there was an awful lot of attention focused on violent, competitive aspects of robotics," said Douglas Repetto, one of the curators of ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show. "It's important to me to make the point that a given technology doesn't have a given purpose or application," Reppetto said. "It's humans who decide what to use technology for and who get to decide how this technology is applied to their life." Some of the talents displayed by the robots were pretty impressive. BabyBott looked like a giant baby bottle and cooed when it was cuddled. Its talent: making people take care of it. Another robot, Tribblation, has hundreds of pressure, temperature, sound and light sensors, enabling it to respond to stimuli like compliments and stroking. The crowd's favorite was ShivaBot, a four-armed, 6-foot-tall robot modeled after the Hindu deity Shiva. ShivaBot, plays electronic drums, bells, chimes and cymbals.

(source: ShivaBot Hit of Robot Show and Hinduism Today).

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Christian critique of Hinduism

The Brahmins were identified as the ‘clergy’ or the priests of Hinduism. An explicit hostility towards the heathen priesthood was not helped by the inability of the messengers of God’s word to convert Brahmins to Christianity. In Brahmins, they came across a literate group, which was able to read, write, do arithmetic, conduct ‘theological’ discussions, etc. During the first hundred years or so, this group was the only source of information about India as far as the missionaries were concerned. Schooled to perform many administrative tasks, the Brahmins were mostly the only ones well-versed in the European languages – enough to communicate with the Europeans. In short, they appeared both to be the intellectual group and the most influential social layer in the Indian social organization. Conversion of the heathens of India, as the missions painfully discovered, did not depend so much on winning the allegiance of the prince or the king as it did on converting the Brahmins.   


Brahmin priests at Rameshwar, South India.


As Francis Xavier saw the Brahmins: 

“These are the most perverse people in the world….they never tell the truth, but think of nothing but how to tell subtle lies and to deceive the simple and ignorant people, telling them that the idols demand certain offerings, and these are simply the things that the Brahmans themselves invent, and of which they stand in need in order to maintain their wives and children and houses…They threaten the people that, if they do not bring the offerings, the gods will kill them, or cause them to fall sick, or send demons to their houses, and through the fear that the idols will do them harm, the poor simple people do exactly as the Brahmans tell them…If there were no Brahmans in the area, all the Hindus would accept conversion to our faith."  

The Brahmins, by and large, were unimpressed by the theological sophistication of the Christian critique of paganism.

Howell, (1767) wrote that the modern Hindus were "As degenerate, crafty, superstitious, litigious and wicked a people, as any race of beings in the known world."

The hatred of heathen priesthood, and/or priesthood in general; impotence to convert the Brahmans; an identification of the latter as ‘priests’; inability to understand the culture they were functioning in; a supercilious arrogance born of a bottomless ignorance  - these were the ingredients that went into concocting the charges of duplicity, double standards, unauthenticity and immorality, against the heathen priestly caste. (Lach, 258) 

As time progressed, this attack would also target the caste system

Missionaries united in condemning the caste laws – ‘ a lie against nature, against humanity, against history” – as being contrary to the spirit of Christian brotherhood; they declared caste to be the “bane of India”, and demanded that caste should be utterly rejected by all converts to Christianity. (Sharpe p. 31). 

The ‘caste system’, together with the priestly caste of the Brahmins, epitomized all that was wrong with this nation of idolators – and there were plenty of wrongs to talk about. In 1882, William Hastie spoke of the Hindu Idolatry and English Enlightenment (1882 – 30) by describing India as “the most stupendous fortress and citadel of ancient error and idolatry…Its foundations pierce downwards into the Stygian pool.” Hinduism itself was, as he saw it, a mass of “senseless mummeries, loathsome impurities…every conceivable form of licentiousness, falsehood, injustice, cruelty, robbery, murder….Its sublimest spiritual states have been but the reflex of physiological conditions in disease.” 

This attack was born out of the inability of Christianity to gain a serious foothold in the Indian society. The ‘red race’ was primitive – it could be decimated; the ‘blacks’ were backward – they could be enslaved; the ‘yellow’ and the ‘brown’ were inferior – they could be colonized. But how to convert them? One would persecute resistance and opposition. How to respond to indifference? The attitude of these heathens towards Christianity, it is this: indifference. 

To some, even the daily practices of the Jains appeared to be an expression of abomination and idolatry. The unwillingness or the refusal of the Jains to hurt or kill animals was, of course, idolatry: “This people eat neither flesh nor fish, nor anything subject to death; they slay nothing, nor are they willing to see the slaughter of any animals; and thus they maintain their idolatry, and hold it so firmly that it is a terrible thing.” (Dames, ) 

Christianity was intolerant of both heretics and heathens. It persecuted beliefs and practices that ran counter to those of its own. It fought against those traditions which it construed as rival and competing religions.

(source: The Heathen in His Blindness...: Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion - By S. Balagangadhara p.  82 -149). For more refer to chapter on First Indologists and European Imperialism). For more refer to The War against Hinduism - By Stephen Knapp and Indians Against Christian Aggression.

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Imperial Plunder? How the British looted from India and around the Globe

Chhatrapati Shivaji' sword

The tussle for the ownership of the 350-year-old Bhawani sword of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, which is part of the personal collection of the Queen of England, has reared its head once again with Barrister Bhaskar Ghorpade, India's Counsel in England, deciding to file a petition for its return. 

The petition states that the sword is the cultural heritage of India and is of emotional value to the people here and hence should be returned as a "gesture of goodwill" and for cementing ties between India and England. According to historians, the famous sword came into the British hands after the capture of the Raigadh Fort in Maharashtra on June 7, 1818. Mr. Ghorpade came into the limelight as India's Counsel when he won the famous Nataraja Case after a prolonged legal battle of 11 years and was successful in retrieving the statue for the country.

(source:  Plea to be filed for return of Shivaji's sword -  hindu.com).


History For the Taking?
56 years after freedom, Maratha Bhonsles are still fighting Empire

Fifty-six years after India gained independence from British rule, a royal family from Nagpur continues to wage its battle against the Empire. The Bhonsles are fighting a 150-year-old legal suit against Britain, and the Lord's Bank of England, in a London court for the return of illegally sold assets worth billions.

The seeds were sown in the late 19th century, when the British attacked Nagpur, then ruled by the Bhonsles. After Bhonsles were defeated, the British victors turned looters. 


56 years after freedom, Maratha Bhonsles are still fighting the British Empire.

For more refer to chapter European Imperialism.


An estimated 14 trucks of Gold and 125 trucks of Silver, apart from a horde of ornaments, precious and semi-precious stones, rich treasures, horses and elephants were looted and sent to Kolkata.

Records reveal that they were auctioned at Kolkata. From their proceeds was born the Lord's Bank in England!

The Bhonsles are represented by London's Gandhi Law Firm, Mudhoji Raje says. During Raghuji Raje's period, the case was even represented by renowned freedom fighter and social worker Dadabhai Nooroji, he adds.

56 years after freedom, Bhonsles still fighting Empire - hindustantimes.com). 


Ethiopian Loot 

A 300 year old copy of the Book of Psalms, handwritten in the ancient Ehiopian language of Ge’ez is displayed in Ethiopia. It was among hundreds of treasures looted by the British troops from Ethiopia in 1867 and was recently returned. Ethiopia demands that Britain return remaining items, which are in British museums. 

(source: The Philadelphia Inquirer – Sat October 4 2003).

Colonial Arrogance?

Australian Aboriginal artefacts and a ceremonial headdress including two early bark etchings are also in two British museums. The fragile bark etchings, which were made in around 1845 by members of the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe in the Wimmera district of western Victoria, were part of their cultural heritage. Gary Murray said: "It's not British culture we are talking about here, we are talking about our rights as a first nation. "We believe strongly that they connect us to our country, our culture and ancestry.

"If the British found the Crown Jewels in Australia they would be sending the warships in to get them back."

(source:  UK exhibits seized in Australia by Aborigines - BBC).

The Parthenon Elgin Marble of Greece - background history

It is a travesty to rob a people or a region of its heritage, and never mind that this is justified today in the name of globalisation. The argument that Lord Elgin had legally transferred the marble sculptures is also untenable since the Ottoman empire no longer exists.  The sun has long set on the British empire and Greece is perfectly capable of taking responsibility for its national treasures.   Would Britain rest peacefully if, for instance, Nelson’s head was in some other country, leaving just the torso as part of the Nelson’s column, asks a “Marble Reunited” campaigner. Certainly not.  

Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin, was the British ambassador at Constantinople in 1799 and he wanted to be of service to the Arts by making his countrymen more familiar with Greek antiquities. In 1801 Elgin obtained a firman , or authority, from the Sultan which gave him permission to take away any sculptures or inscriptions which did not interfere with the works or walls of the citadel. The looting of the Parthenon began immediately. The sculptures were lowered from the temple and transported by British sailors on a gun carriage. Many sculptures were removed from the temple of Parthenon and transported to England. The famous "Elgin Marbles" are in London now.

"Wouldn't it be more appropriate, though to see these sculptures in the context of the Parthenon?" CNN asked. "Isn't it like seeing sections of Buckingham Palace in Athens?" 

The Victorians were moved by the fancy that the English were the new Greeks - rulers of an empire maintained not by brute force but by moral and intellectual grandeur. Pagan Greeks were appointed as the ancestors of English muscular Christianity

(source: online articles and Cultural treasures belong to their place of origin - timesofindia.com and cnn.com and guardian.co.uk).

Some of the artifacts belonging to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's regime have been displayed at Victoria Albert Museum, (including his golden throne) Osborne House and several other museums of Scotland and Britain. In fact, the British Government has been under tremendous pressure from several of the sovereign nations, which were once a part of its Imperial Empire, to return the artifacts and other valuable items of their historic interest, which the British had forcibly taken from the then rulers as a "gift" or otherwise. Besides India and Greece, even Ethiopia, China and Italy have been pressing the British Government to return their artifacts. The World Jews Congress has been demanding 160 artifacts now displayed in various museums in Scotland.

(source: Tribuneindia.com and Towards Balkanisation, III: Missionaries - Varsha Bhosle - rediff.com).

The Kohinoor Diamond - Samantik Mani of India

N. B. Sen writes that the Kohinoor, the king of diamonds and the diamond of kings, has a legendary origin in the dawn of history, before the times of the Mahabharat, 5000 years ago. It is the most brilliant and the most dazzling diamond of the world. Its entire history is linked with royalties of various countries. Its journey has been confined to four countries — India, Persia, Afghanistan and England. The story of the Kohinoor starts from the times of Lord Krishna and the great battle of Mahabharat which was fought in 3102 B.C  The original name of this diamond was ‘Samantik Mani’

When Nadir Shah first saw this diamond he was so much dazzled by its size, beauty and brilliance that he exclaimed in wonder" "Koh-i-Noor", which in Persian means " Mountain of Light". He stole the fabulous Peacock Throne and took it to Iran. For more refer to chapter on Islamic Onslaught

This fabulous diamond was brought to England under the Treaty of Lahore dated March 29, 1849, and handed over to Queen Victoria in a ceremony held on July 3, 1850, at Buckingham Palace by Sir J. W. Logg, Deputy Chairman of the East India Company, in the presence of Sir John Hobhouse.

(source: The Kohinoor, Duleep Singh and his descendents - tribuneindia.com).

Clive's Indian stolen plunder fetches 4.7mn pounds

Rare treasures, brought from India by British colonial commander Robert Clive, were sold for 4.7 million pounds at an auction at Christie's here. The highest price was more than 2.9 million pounds paid by an anonymous bidder for a 17th century jeweled flask which until recently was on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum here. Cards of the Ganjifa game, a princely game in which the card decks were often made in rare materials such as ivory, mother of pearl or gold. Such cards were but a small part of Robert Clive’s vast booty that he “collected” in India and took home to England.

(source: Clive's Indian plunder fetches 4.7mn pounds - hindu.com. For more refer to chapter European Imperialism).


French Loot?

The Sancy Diamond

Sancy Diamond, a 55-carat pale yellow stone that fluoresces yellow and pink. It was found in the Krishma River in 1701India, passed through French and English kings, was bought by a Bombay merchant in the 19th century but lost to America's Lady Astor (who set it on her wedding tiara) before it was retrieved by the French. Current resting place: The Louvre.   

The Regent Diamond

The Regent, which weighed more than 410 carats when discovered by a slave near Golconda in the 18th century.  

The bauble was once owned by William Pitt, the English prime minister, who sold it to the Duke of Orleans, the regent of France (hence, The Regent). Louis XV wore it at his coronation and it adorned the hat of Marie Antoinette.  

After the French Revolution, it was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte who set it in the hilt of his sword. It is now on display in the Louvre.   

(source: Lost baubles from India - timesofindia.com). For more refer to chapter Glimpses II).

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Elihu Yale, Yale University and the Wealth from India 

Born in America, in Europe bred,
In Africa traveled, in Asia wed;
Where long he lived and thrived, in London dead,
Much good, some ill he did, so hope all’s even
And that his soul thro’ mercy’s gone to heaven.

Epitaph on the tomb of Elihu Yale -  Wrexham, England. 

Elihu Yale was born on April 5, 1649 in Boston, Massachusetts. Yale joined East India Company and traveled to India in 1672, eventually rising to the rank of governor of Fort St. George in Madras. Governor Yale’s administrative methods were, to put it mildly, somewhat forceful. When his groom missed work for three days, Mr. Yale ordered him to be arrested and executed. On being, informed that being absent without leave was not a capital offense, he immediately amended the charge to piracy and hanged the luckless groom. After serving five years as governor, Elihu Yale was removed from office for neglecting his duties and speculating with company funds. By then he had amassed a huge fortune and returned to England in 1699, carrying five tons of spices, precious stones, and leather goods. His departure must have been a great relief to his domestic staff! A Connecticut college contacted him in 1718, requesting financial support. He donated a parcel of goods that sold for 562 pounds, enough money to persuade the college to change its name to Yale. 

(source: Cuisines of India: The Art and Tradition of Regional Indian Cooking
 – By Smita Chandra
p. 73-74). 

Since Yale University was founded in 1718 with the help of a cargo of gift raised in India by Elihu Yale, who was a governor of Madras it was only appropriate that it was there that Indian studies in the United States were begun in 1841.  

(source: India and World Civilization – By D P Singhal p. 225). For more refer to chapter European Imperialism).

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Raga-rocked, US high on Kirtan craze - By Chidanand Rajghatta

On a balmy Friday fall evening, when much of the Washington area is parrying after a hard week's work, a group of Americans is gathered at the Willow Tree Yoga Center near Takoma Park, a funky suburb that is famous for its radical politics and is often called the home of the ageless hippies. For long years, this ex-hippie neighborhood just outside Washington DC has always been into yoga. But more recently, it has added something else to its spiritual repertoire-kirtans. Yes, kirtans, the devotional singing invoking the name of gods that comes from our part of the world. On this day, Willow Tree is hosting Wynne Paris, a world beat musician who has become one of the most devoted kirtan singers in the US.

A long-haired hipster, Paris began his professional life as a nightclub rocker and evolved into a kir-tan-chanting troubadour after his wife brought home a CD by Krishna Das four years ago. Krishna Das, like Paris, is an American whose real name is Jeff Kagel. He is considered America's first kirtan maestro. Today, there are a dozen of them, including Shubal-ananda (whose real name is Larry Cobb), Bhagavan Das (born Michael Riggs), Jai (Doug) Uttal and Dave Stringer (his real name).

The refined Indian ear might prefer to describe the kirtans Americans sing as raga rock. They use a mix of Indian and western instruments, the chanting is innovative (to say the least), and the accent is definitely American. Paris himself uses both the guitar and the sarod. Others are known to employ the violin, mandolin, harmonium, tabla and sundry instruments, including the electric guitar. Kirtans have been produced in blue grass, reggae, soul and even rock and roll styles. Raga rock isn't really all that new. Following their stint with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, John Lennon and George Harrison dabbled with it as far back as the 1970s in collaboration of Pandit Ravi Shankar, before the fad faded. But with the resurgence in the US of all things Indian in the last three or four years, RR has made a big comeback.

Part of it has to do with the mushrooming of yoga centers across the US, including schools that teach new forms of yoga such as "hot yoga" (jokingly referred to as "hotta yoga" after the original Hatha Yoga). As Americans have evolved yoga to suit their needs and whims, they have also embellished it with all kinds of bells and whistles, including kirtans and bhajans. Says Paris, "We know it's nothing like the original, but hey, if it brings us peace of mind, it works."

It certainly does, judging by the following the yankee kirtans are attracting at yoga centers, not just in stressed out urban areas, but in American suburbia and even backwoods USA. At the Samadhi Yoga Center in Manchester, Connecticut, attendance for the four-days-a-week kirtan session has gone up from three to 50 over the past few months. The center now has write-ups on kirtans in its newsletter called Time and Space.  Paris himself has jammed kirtans at the Holy Cow Yoga Center in Charleston, Three Rivers Yoga Studio in Houston, Elysian Fields Yoga in Georgia and the Omkar Ashram in Colorado. He is booked to perform till the end of the year. Jokes Samadhi Yoga Center co-founder Matthew Falkowski, who is hosting a grand kirtan session for Durga Puja next week, "Now we've got to get the Indians involved in kirtans."

(source: Raga-rocked, US high on Kirtan craze - By Chidanand Rajghatta - timesofindia.com).

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City temple belongs to Mahabharata period: expert

The Baba Balak Nath temple located on Dakshin Marg,  part of a prized archeological site, according to Mr Devendra Handa, former head of the Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archeology of Panjab University.

Excavations done at the site in recent years have conclusively proved that it belongs to the Mahabharata period and should be preserved as a national heritage site”, said Mr Handa here today after going round the temple.  Mr Handa said the earliest relics found at the site were painted greyware, which were nearly 3000 years old and belonged to the Mahabharata period (1000 BC). “Other relics were found in a running sequence. These included northern black polished ware (5th to 2nd century BC), Sungha (second to first century BC) and Kushan period (third and fourth century BC), early medieval (7th to 12th century AD and also artifacts belonging to the Muslim period.”

Mr Handa said that he had also seen several broken sculptures of Hindu deities of the early medieval period during his visits to the temple in the early 60s. “These have since disappeared, which is a sad commentary over the manner sites of historic and archeological importance are managed and maintained by the powers that be. It is the same story at the Mansa Devi temple at Mani Majra. Many of the ancient mural and paintings in the temple have and incorrect preservation procedures”. 

(source: City temple belongs to Mahabharata period: expert - A.S. Prashar - tribuneindia.com).   For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Martinque Hindu priest ordained 

Nicole Etiene, 50, of Fort de France, Martinique, will receive the Upanayan Sanskar (sacred thread) at the Munroe Road, Chaguanas temple of Pundit Samsundar Ramdeen today. He is among five people who will be ordained as pundits in the ceremony. Etiene, whose native language is French, said yesterday that he was following in the footsteps of his grandmother who was a Hindu devotee and taught him about the culture. "I was just attracted to Hinduism," he said. "My late grandmother was a Hindu and she would practice the rituals. I was interested in the faith, but did not follow it.  

"Three years ago one of my friends invited me to a Sunday morning service at the Shakti temple in Martinique and that was it. Since then, I have changed and began to practise Hinduism." Etiene is the lone Hindu in his family. The Shakti temple in Martinique is run by Pundit Ramdeen. He said his siblings have followed the Catholic faith and Christianity, but he is the only one who has followed in his grandmother's footsteps. "I wanted to be part of my family's culture," he said. He said to him Hinduism was a calling and taking the Upanayan Sanskar was part of his life's mission. "I did not choose to become a pundit, it chose me," Etiene said. "I think it was something inside me that called out to me and I think this is the right step for me to take.  

"At first my family did not agree, but now they are supporting me in this path. "I am happy to take this step and happy that my family is supporting me They are now accustomed to my new way of life. "In addition to being a vegetarian, they are getting involved also." Etiene also sees the taking of the Upanayan Sanskar as serving as a "bond with my ancestors such as my grandmother, who was an Indian and Hindu, for me." He said he would take all that he has learned from his Guru Ramdeen and share it with his fellow Martiniquans. He also plans to go to France to share the teachings of Hinduism.

(source: Martinque Hindu priest ordained - hinduismtoday.com).

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Mount Kailash - the most sacred mountain in the world.

Poet Kalidas wrote in the 3rd Century C.E.:

"When the earth of Manasarovar touches anyone’s body or when anyone bathes therein, he shall go to the paradise of Brahma, and who drinks its water shall go to the heaven of Shiva and shall be released from the sins of 100 births. Even the beast that bears the name of Manasarovar shall go to the paradise of Brahma. Its water is like pearls."

Amaury de Riencourt has written: "India is an immense subcontinent in its own right, almost as isolated from the rest of the world by towering mountain ranges rising out of impenetrable jungles and soaring up to eternal snows – a huge wall, known in the past as Himavat, stretching like a bent bow from Baluchistan to the wooded valleys of upper Burma. Here was no mere mountain range like the others."

"The Himalayas must have seemed to Indians of thousands of years ago like a colossal outburst of cosmic anger throwing up tiers of towering peaks on top of one another or, in another mood, what the great poet Kalidasa called the “massed laughter” of the god Shiva."

(source: The Soul of India – by Amaury de Riencourt p. 3).

“As the dew is dried up by the morning Sun, So are the sins of mankind by the sight of the Himlayas” – Skanda Purana.


Mount Kailash, the adobe of Shiva and the giant lake of shifting colours - lake Mansarovar. It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty, with 4 great faces. Strangely enough, four major rivers do indeed originate near Kailash, the Indus, the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the Karnali and the Sutlej. Mt. Kailash has the unique distinction of being the world’s most venerated holy place at the same time that it is the least visited. The supremely sacred site of four religions and billions of people, Kailash is seen by no more than a few thousand pilgrims each year.

Hindus consider Kailash to be the throne of Lord Shiva, one of the three principle gods of the Hindu pantheon, whose long, matted hair forms the holy Ganges River. Kailash is a glittering snow dome towering above the Tibetan Plateau like a beckoning jewel, visible from miles away. Manasarovar is famous as one of the highest lakes in the world. Four of the greatest rivers of South Asia -- the Indus, Sutlej, Karnali and the Brahmaputra (the Yarlung Zangpo in Tibet) -- originate from around Mount Kailash. There are two lakes here; one the rakshasa tal, where Ravana performed penances towards Shiva, and the other the Mansarovar, considered to be one of the 51 Sakth Peethams. A ritual bath will deliver a pilgrim to Brahma's paradise and a drink of its water relinquishes the sins of a hundred lifetimes. It is said that a Single Parikarma erases the accumulated sins of a lifetime, while 108 circumbulation will achieve Salvation or Nirvana. Mt. Kailash is regarded by Hindus as an embodiment of Shiva and Parvati. The Buddhists refer to the sacred mountain as Kangri Karchchak; they regard the presiding deity of Mt. Kailash as Deity with three eyes, holding the damaru and the trishul; his consort is referred to as Dorje Fangmo. The Jains regard Mt. Kailash as the Ashtapada mountain where the first Tirtankara Adinath (Rishabhadeva) attained nirvana.

Mount. Kailash is also one of the highest mountain in Tibet ( 22,022 ft). Lake Manasarovar lying at 14,950 ft. is the highest fresh-water lake in the world.  


Other Sacerd mountains in the World 
Spiritual significance of Uluru in Australia

In the beginning the earth was flat and there were no marks on the land, as the Tjurkurpa people travelled the land they performed great deeds of creation and destruction. This was still the creation time and as the waters receded the Mother earth gave forth a huge rock singular and complete. For thousands of years this rock stood alone in the heart of Australia, as if protecting the Mother earth which had given it life. Gaining its strength and powers from her, vibrating the atmosphere with innocence and peace. Many who see Uluru are in awe of its power – to face the rock is to ask fundamental questions about ones own place in the creation, for the spirit of man dwells in all men equally. Different races share different dreams yet the essence of life is common to all transcending the barriers of time, race, religion and culture. To deny the spiritual significance of Uluru is to deny the essence of life within ourselves.  

Uluru, the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark. Ulluru was renamed as Ayers Rock for the Premier of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. Mount Fuji in Japan and Denali - 'the high one'  (renamed Mount McKinley) in Alaska are also considered sacred. The Japanese see Mount Fuji as a sacred mountain. It was and still is a destination for pilgrims. Two forms of Goddess Saraswati in the form of Bensaitensama, commonly called "Benten," at the famed island of Enoshima, near Mount Fuji are worshipped.

(source: Spiritual significance of Uluru). For more refer to chapter on Nature Worship).

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Intellectual poverty in India - or Self - Hate?

Ananda K Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) the late curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, was unexcelled in his knowledge of the art of the Orient, and unmatched in his understanding of Indian culture, language, religion and philosophy. He is the author of ' The Dance of Shiva: Essays on Indian Art and Culture'

"We who think we are educated and progressive....we ourselves have despised and hated everything Indian...I do not think we fully realize the depth of our present intellectual poverty.. The creative force in us has died, because we had no faith in ourselves  - we could only learn to be intellectual parasites...."

Kapil Kapoor, Indian thinker has observed:

"All this traditional Indian knowledge has been marginalized by and excluded from the mainstream education system. Efforts to incorporate it or teach it have been politically opposed and condemned as "revivalism." Europe's thirteenth-century onwards successful venture of relocating the European mind in is classical Greek roots is lauded and expounded in the Indian universities as "revival of learning" and as "Renaissance." 

But when it comes to India, the political intellectuals dismiss exactly the same venture as "revivalism" or "obscurantism." The educated Indian, particularly the Hindu, suffers from such a deep loss of self-respect that he is unwilling to be recognized as such. He feels, in fact, deeply threatened by any surfacing or manifestation of the identity that he has worked so hared to, and has been trained to reject. But it lies somewhere in his psyche as "an unhappy tale," as something that is best forgotten. It is these people wearing various garbs - liberals, left, secular, modern  - who oppose, more often than not from sheer ignorance, any attempt to introduce Indian traditions of thought, in the mainstream education system - a classic case of self-hate taking the form of mother-hate."

(source: India and The New World Culture - By Michel Danino - Hindu Renaissance - p. 6 - 7). For more on Ananda Coomarswamy refer to chapter on Quotes101_120).

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Democracy of a high standard — Ancient example 

The inscriptions on the walls of the Sundaravarada temple in Uttiramerur, near Kanchipuram, show how democracy was practised 1,000 years ago. 

This temple was built around 750 A.D. during the Pallava rule, but underwent a second great renovation in the hands of Rajendra Chola in 1013 A.D., and again in the reign of the great Vijayanagar Emperor, Krishnadevaraya in 1520 A.D. The village is known for its historic inscription of a written constitution that deals with elections to the village assembly, qualifications required of candidates contesting in elections, circumstances under which a candidate may be disqualified, mode of election, tenure of the elected candidates and the right of the public to recall the elected members when they failed to discharge their duties properly and so on.

It is interesting how in every aspect of life the highest standard of democracy was enforced in Uttiramerur.

Fines for wrongdoers - A 10th Century record deals with how to administer fines imposed on wrong doers in the village. Those who were fined for misdeeds are classified into criminals ("dushtargal"), fined by the great village assembly and the serving elected members of the village assembly who were fined.

Testing gold quality - Another record dated 921 A.D. was a regulation passed by the Village Assembly. As gold was in circulation for commercial transactions it was found necessary that the gold offered should be tested for its fineness to the satisfaction of the community.

Appointment of Professors - Another interesting record deals with an establishment of a higher institution of learning and the qualifications prescribed for the professor, the method of appointment and the duration of his service. As this was related to a Vedic college, the qualifications required mastery of the Vedas. For instance, the incumbent could not be a native of that village but one who came from other regions. It was believed that the teacher from the same village might take things easy and not do full justice to his profession. The second clause states that the teacher should have mastered one Veda completely in addition to mastery of grammar, "Mimamsa", and the two religious systems, "darsanas". Alternately he should have mastered one of the Vedas, in addition to grammar with commentary ("Vyakarana" with "bhashya") and Logic with commentary and classical notes ("nyaaya" with "bashya" and "tika") and etymological science ("nirukta") with commentary.

Those who are conversant with ancient Indian learning know that these are very high standards compared to this age, where a professor of Ancient History, for example, need not have even basic understanding of Sanskrit or epigraphy to interpret the original sources of ancient Indian culture. 


inscriptions of democracy

Efficient election system - The salient features were that a person should have a minimum educational qualification, should be above 35 years of age and below 70, should own a minimum of landed property, should have a residence built in his own land and finally, should be a tax payer. Only such men, who felt it was their responsibility to contribute to the governance, were allowed to contest

(source: Democracy of a high standard — ancient example - Dr. R Nagaswamy - hindu.com). For more refer to article  Democracy). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Goddess Durga and A blasphemous picture
Canadian newspaper earns Indians' wrath

A blasphemous nude picture of Goddess Durga, published by Canada's leading daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, has caused widespread anger and outrage among Indians the worldover.

Indians living in Canada had expressed their resentment over the publication of the photograph, made available by the international news agency, Reuters, by contacting IndiaCause, an organisation that represents Indians in North America and all over the world.

The offending photograph, accompanied a write-up on the occasion of Durga Puja on the 4 October issue of the newspaper, raises the doubt if it was an intentional effort to defame the Indian community. For Reuters had made available four photographs of Durga to its subscribers - three of them depicting the Goddess in a decent and clothed manner.

That The Toronto Star picked up the offending picture of an incomplete idol has raised the hackles of the Indians, who are also blaming Reuters for shooting such a picture. Why should the newspaper go in for the nude photograph when they had a choice of three other decent ones or even shooting their picture of the deity from any of the Durga temples in Toronto, asks IndiaCause that had successfully fought against several such indecent depictions of Indian Gods and Goddesses by various organisations - on slippers, toilet closets etc.

Since Toronto Star had not bothered to reply to the letter dashed off by IndiaCause, indicating that the newspaper stood by the photograph, it wondered if the same paper or for that matter Reuters would dare to publish a nude picture of Virgin Mary on Christmas Day. Those strongly feeling about the publication of the photograph have been asked to write to the Attorney General of Canada, Ontario Press Council, Human Rights Commission, Advertisers of The Star, Premier Elect of Ontario and Reuters. 

(source: Canadian newspaper earns Indians' wrath - newstodaynet.com).

For more refer to chapter on Symbolism in Hinduism.

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An American's Love for Durga

Anne Lowenkopf, a California-based American writer, finds Devi Mahatmyam not only relevant but also useful and inspirational in the present age.

Of particular interest to her is the following portion of the Sanskrit hymns which recount the heroic exploits of Devi Durga while overpowering the rampaging asuras: "I am all alone in the world here. Who else is there besides me? See these goddesses who are but my own powers entering into my own self." Anne finds the Mother Goddess to be all-encompassing. According to her, the vision of the loving and protective mother excites attention today when more and more young adults live alone, outside family and organised peer groups. They seem to feel close to a deity who in turn gives them unconditional love and comfort.  

She is thrilled at her discovery of a "Goddess who did not punish the created for what went wrong in her creation, who took the heat for evil and death and yet was untouched by both." She narrates an incident in which an American — brought up in the climate of Victorian notions of maternal behaviour — asked a contemporary devotee of the Devi how he could be drawn to such a fierce goddess. He was told: "Ah, but you need a strong mother who will go to battle for you when you are in trouble." 

Shankaracharya sang the Mother Goddess's praise thus: "Immersed in dangers, O Durga, I turn my mind to you, O Ocean of Mercy and spouse of Shiva; please don't consider this as my deceit, since children remember their mother when they suffer from hunger and thirst."  In the Soundarya Lahari he underscores Her unique power in the following words: "If Shiva is united with Shakti, He becomes capable of being almighty; if not, He is not even able to move His limbs." There may be a bad son, he says, but never a bad mother.  

Vedanta gives her a cosmic dimension as Jagdamba. As Para Shakti or the embodiment of infinite energy, she is also the Para Prakriti, bountiful nature, nourishing us. She symbolises the rationale for ecological balance and fruitful co-existence.  The shakti-pithas, the holy spots, which are centres of pilgrimage, are a testimony to the symbiotic ties between the Mother Goddess and the Mother Earth. These are the places where the various parts of her body fell when being carried away by an enraged Shiva, who suffered humiliation at the hands of Daksha, Shakti's father. 

(source: An American's Love for Durga - timesofindia.com).

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Bangalore scientist throws new light on the Mahabharata

Analysing the planetary references depicted in the Mahabharata, a Bangalore-based scientist claimed to have zeroed in on the period during which the two clans, Kauravas and Pandavas, gained political power and fought each other in the battle of Kurukshetra. Based on historical and archeological evidence, the epic had been dated earlier between 600 to 3000 BC though the dates have never been proved conclusively.

“The eclipses and planetary observations of the Mahabharata should belong to 1493 BC to 1443 BC of Indian history. The war should have taken place in 1478 BC with an error bond of one year,” Dr R N Iyengar from the department of civil engineering at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, said.

The analysis was made by calculating planet and star positions described in the epic in modern astronomical terms using three software including a German-made one used widely by USA National Aeronautics and Space Administration for recreating historical events.

(source: B’lore scientist throws new light on the Mahabharata - deccanherald.com and http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati/rniyengar.pdf. -  For more refer to chapter on Hindu Scriptures).

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Evangelical zeal not matched by humility, curiosity -

Almost every Sunday morning there would be a gentle knock at the door. Two middle-aged women with leather-bound Bibles in their hands, an unfailing evangelical zeal in their hearts and a never-fading smile on their faces would be waiting there wanting to come in. I always ushered them in.

My Sunday sessions with the visiting women usually lasted about 30 minutes, and I started liking the sessions, especially because they gave me an opportunity to reread the Bible and also provided a welcome change from my rigorous academic work.A couple of months later, tired of their sermonizing and occasional sardonic remarks about Hinduism that revealed how little they knew about my religion, I thought I should do something about these weekly encounters.  

I suggested breaking the 30-minute sessions into two parts. "You talk about Christianity during the first 15 minutes, and I'll talk about Hinduism the next 15,'' I said. ``That way, we can learn about each other's religion.''` `We look forward to next Sunday,'' they promised as they took leave. That was the last time I ever saw them.

I was reminded of these encounters when I read about the latest ``Evangelical Campaign'' in the Family & Religion section of the Mercury News recently. I learned that more than 100 Santa Clara Valley churches have come together to convince the non-Christian residents of the South Bay area that they can make their lives richer by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I was first heartened to read that this new brand of ``friendship evangelism'' is aimed at promoting dialogue in order ``to draw people into the faith.'' But then doubts crept in when I read about a San Jose woman, who recalled her recent visit to an Indian village. "They worshiped `demons'; they were rock worshipers,'' she said.

Importance of symbolism - This is something similar to a non-Christian, after visiting a church full of parishioners, saying, ``They worship wooden crosses; they are wood worshipers!'' Those who understand the significance of the cross would dismiss such a statement as uniformed. Symbolism is an integral part of any religion. You miss the symbolism, you miss the religion.

(source: Evangelical zeal not matched by humility, curiosity -

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Where Lord Ram is preach ream and Ravana krong reap

A primary link between India and Cambodia that dates back over a millennium is an interesting version of the epic Ramayana, which has recorded the trials and tribulations of Ram in some 48,000 Sanskrit verses.

The Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana, has a strong Buddhist influence and the image of Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu, the preserver in Hinduism's Trinity, has been modified to resemble that of Siddhartha, who eventually became the Buddha. While the bas-reliefs of the famous Angkor temples depict several episodes of the Ramayana, there are also some Buddhist monasteries here that have preserved some palm-leaf manuscripts of Reamker among their sacred texts.

"Reamker in Cambodia dates back to the third century," said Mil loom, a government-approved guide, who claims to have joined the profession when he was all of five. "The Angkor Wat temple has several episodes from the Reamker in the stone carvings," he added, showing a scene from the epic depicting a fight between two monkey lords that is engraved in the temple.

The temple, which has been conserved and restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). 


A primary link between India and Cambodia that dates back over a millennium is an interesting version of the epic Ramayana, which has recorded the trials and tribulations of Ram in some 48,000 Sanskrit verses.


Interestingly, the local influence is also evident from the fact that Agni, the Hindu fire god, rides a rhinoceros in the Cambodian version of the Ramayana, rather than a ram as in Valmiki's original Sanskrit edition. The central theme of the epic - victory of good over evil and the essence of its protagonist s a model son, emperor, mentor and husband is well preserved in the Reamker. But it also has innovations not round in Indian versions. Save Hanuman, the names of the main characters of the epic stand either modified or changed altogether. Ram, for example, is Preah Ream, Lakshman is Preah Leak, Sita is Neang Seda and Ravana is Krong Reap. The Reamker also has some additional characters, such as Nil Ek, the aide-de-camp of Ram's trusted follower and monkey general Hanuman, and Sovann Maccha, the queen of the mermaids. 

Sovann Maccha first thwarts attempts by Preah Ream's monkey soldiers to build a bridge over the mighty sea to the land of giant ogres called Krong Langka, (an adaptation of Lanka in the Indian epic), where Neang Seda is held captive by Krong Reap. She later Relents after Hanuman plans to seduce her into supporting his cause, which is to rescue Preah Ream's wife, Neang Seda, from the clutches of the 10-headed ruler of Langka, Krong Reap. The Cambodian version of the Ramayana is among the numerous adaptations of the epic among Asian nations, just as there are different versions in India. Hikayat Seri Ram of Malaysia has a distinct influence of Islam. Thais believe that Ramakein is their own creation and that Ram was a native of Thailand. In Myanmar, Ram is described as a pious Buddhist king, while Tibetans say that Sita was the daughter of Dasagriva, or Ravana.

(source: Where Lord Ram is preach ream and Ravana krong reap - By Arvind Padmanabhan - timesofindia.com). For more refer to chapter on Suvarnabhumi and Hindu Scriptures)..

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No Cheers for Columbus

According to American Historian Will Durant The Story of civilizations - Our Oriental Heritage ISBN: 1567310125 1937 p.633:

"From the time of Megasthenes, who described India to Greece ca 302 B.C., down to the eighteenth century, India was all a marvel and a mystery to Europe. Marco Polo (1254-1323) pictured its western fringe vaguely, Columbus blundered upon America in trying to reach it, Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa to rediscover it, and merchants spoke rapaciously of "the wealth of the Indies." 


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged Latin Americans on Saturday not to celebrate Columbus Day, saying the 1492 discovery of the Americas triggered a 150-year "genocide" of native Indians by foreign conquerors who behaved "worse than Hitler."

"Christopher Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity," the populist president told a meeting in Caracas of representatives of Indian peoples from across the continent. Columbus Day on Oct. 12 is celebrated as a holiday in the United States and several Latin American nations, but Chavez said it should be remembered as the "Day of Indian Resistance." "We Venezuelans, we Latin Americans, have no reason to honor Columbus," he added.

The Venezuelan leader said Spanish, Portuguese and other foreign conquerors had massacred South America's Indian inhabitants at an average rate of roughly "one every 10 minutes." He described Spanish conquistadors like Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro, as "worse than Hitler." He said even the continent's geographical names, like America and Venezuela, were imposed by foreigners. 

No Cheers for Columbus - yahoo.com). For more refer to chapter India on Pacific Waves?  

Anti-Columbus protests were held recently on the campus of New York's Cornell University with students accusing the 15th century explorer of being responsible for the murder of more than 12 million Indians and participating in the Caribbean slave trade. "Without taking a look at our human history, genocide could happen again," said Jason Corwin, media assistant for Cornell's film program, according to the student newspaper The Cornell Daily Sun.

Lloyd Elm, an American Indian studies professor at Cornell University, reportedly told the anti-Columbus rally that "traditional American schools sanitize information" and many students are led to believe that "the history of this great, great, country began in 1492."

(source: Columbus' Critics Blamed for Pointing Fingers at Whites - By By Marc Morano).

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Jewish settlement in Kerala 

“Hail and Prosperity! The following gift was graciously made by him who has assumed the title  of King of Kings! …To Joseph Rabban Prince of Anjuvannam and to his descendants…so long as the world and moon exist. Anjuvannam shall be his hereditary possession. Hail! 

          - Proclamation of King Ravi Varman, 10th century A.D. 

The Jewish settlement at Anjuvannam in Kerala, has established on land granted by King Ravi Varman, grew into an independent principality, which the Jews called Shingly, that survived for more than five centuries. The Jews prospered as pepper traders in Kerala, but the tiny domain given to them “so long as the world and moon exist” did not survive. An attack by Arabs in the 15th century almost destroyed their city. Even more hostile were the Portuguese, who had recently arrived in India and persecuted the Jews mercilessly. The survivors fled to the Hindu kingdom of Cochin, where they were welcomed by the king and given land next to his own palace. Their descendants still live in the Jewish community that was rebuilt in Cochin in 1567. 

Later Jewish immigrants to India came mainly from Iraq and Syria; Indian Jewish cuisine and customs are an interesting mix of Jewish, Kerala and Arab traditions. The festival of Purim coincides with the Hindu celebration of Holi, and Jewish children adopted the Hindu custom of dousing each other with colored water.

(source: Indian Jews and their heritage - hindu.com).

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How US Schools Misrepresent Hinduism! -  Contributed By Rita Frenchman Gavankar

It's 8:00 a.m., and students slowly trickle into Mr. West's
6th grade history class. The majority of the people, including the teacher, are white. One African-American, two Orientals, and myself, a second generation Indian girl, make up the rest of the class. 
On the blackboard is written
"World Religions." As the rest of the class prepares for a boring two hours, I can already feel my stomach sink - what did I do to deserve this? We are handed a fill-in-the-blank chart of major world religions and are instructed to look in our books for the answers.

Finishing quickly, I hand in my chart to Mr. West at his desk, and turn to leave.
"Now wait a minute, you put 'monotheistic' down for Hindooism," he remarks.

"I know," I reply, feeling my face burn as the class looks up. "Hindoos are polytheistic." "No, they're not," "Are you a Hindoo?"
"Yeah." "Oh."  Scattered murmurs break out among my peers, whispering about how freaky Hindus worship elephants and monkeys. Great.

 "Well," Mr. West says standing up and going to the chalkboard, "from what I understand,
Hindoos are all about their caste system." And he begins a long, irrelevant, and incorrect explanation, which he memorized from our textbook. 
What does that have to do with being monotheistic? I don't even bother correcting him, to save myself any more embarrassment. I wanted to get out of there. Fast. 

7th grade starts, and it's culture day in history.

"Both of my parents are Indian--" I begin when it's my turn. "Do you mean Native American Indian, or Middle Eastern Indian?" my teacher asks. Sounds like it's going to be another fun year in social studies. 
When 8th grade starts,
India and Hinduism are summed up in a few short sentences by the teacher. India is described as filled with pollution, cows, and poverty-stricken people. Hindus love to bathe in rivers where they throw the ashes of their parents and yes, they do worship elephants and monkeys.

"Do you speak Indian?" I'm asked at least two times a week. "I heard there were two thousand gods and every full moon you had to give a sacrifice to them. Do you do that?" No. I try to explain that all the gods are really aspects of one almighty being. I've never sacrificed anything except my dignity, which slowly dwindles with each question. The release of popular award-winning books such as Homeless Bird, which portrays the typical Indian girl who is forced to get married at thirteen, didn't help Indians anywhere.

And, who could have guessed,
the author hadn't even been to India! No kidding.

Six entire chapters in the textbook were devoted to Christianity, whereas one page is given to the history of India and the teachings of Hinduism. A second page is entirely about Lord Shiva, accompanied by a rather unbecoming picture of an ancient dancing Shiva statue. Buddhism gets one paragraph. This doesn't make sense, as most of the school already knows so much about Christianity, but hardly any even knew Buddhism or Hinduism existed. Now that they did, we would be ridiculed publicly. Thank you, Board of Education. 

At last, high school starts. I almost die of shock when I see the 9th grade textbook has devoted an entire 3 sentences to Sikhism and Jainism. It claims Sikhism "combines the Muslim belief of one god with the Hindu belief of reincarnation." Christianity in India and the ever-popular "western influence" get pages and pages of text. 

But the fun just gets funnier -- the next picture of a sari earns a whole two sentences. Oh, but it's not an exquisite silk or glittering embroidered sari. Nope, it's a dirty yellow (perhaps once white) cotton sari worn by an old woman bathing in the Ganges River.
In spite of its pollution, "Hindus readily drink and bathe in the Ganges' water people even come to die in the river." To further prove their point, they stick in a picture of a filth and trash laden section of Ganges, not a clean part, which much of it is. I kid you not, upon reading this and looking at the picture, a boy in my class had to be excused to the nurse's office because his stomach had become queasy. 

Now we come to the
sacred cow. They say entire streets are blocked because Hindus don't want to run over our beloved cow. C'mon, even in America, people aren't going to just run over a local cow; they'll find a way to move it or get around it. 

On an ending note, Indians are technologically behind. They fail to mention that we have a space program, nuclear capabilities, and many Indians, believe it or not, have heard of a computer. Every day, young desi children and teenagers are unreasonably tormented because of our perceived background. The school textbooks are half the cause. The average American doesn't know squat about India, and with the help of poorly researched textbooks, they learn nonsense.

(source: How US Schools Misrepresent Hinduism! - By Rita Frenchman Gavankar - Hindu Unity.org).

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India a major threat to US dominance: Intel chief

Observing that India and China are 'key threats' to continued American dominance in important high technology sectors, Intel Chairman Andrew S Grove has said India could surpass America in software and tech-service jobs by 2010.

India's booming software industry, which is increasingly doing work for US companies, could surpass America in software and tech-service jobs by 2010, Grove, one of the founding fathers of America's hi-tech industry and co-founder of Intel, told a global technology summit in Washington via satellite on Thursday. He said that the nation's software and service businesses are under siege by countries like India and China taking advantage of cheap labour costs and strong incentives for new financial investment.

(source: India a major threat to US dominance: Intel chief - rediff.com).

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Welcome the rise of China and India - By Roger Bootle

We are entering a period when the rise of China and India will radically reshape the location of economic activity across the world. This is the Great Displacement. It is the modern equivalent of the development of North America in the 19th century - only bigger.

History lesson

The top chart shows the shares of world GDP for China, India and the UK from 1500 to the present. According to the great authority, Angus Maddison (author of The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective) in 1500, China and India each accounted for about a quarter of the world's output and the UK for only about 1 per cent.

By the early 19th century, although India had already begun its long relative decline and the UK its long relative ascent, India's economy was still some three times the size of Britain's.

Once I had grasped it, this fact immediately solved something that had puzzled me for years, namely how could the conquest of India have meant so much for Britain?  


India's economy was still some three times the size of Britain's.  


After all, in the modern world, although it has had a huge population, India has had a smaller economy than the UK. But not in the 19th century. In relative terms the Indian economy was enormous. You can readily see how the control of such a large economy by a small set of islands off the European coast was such a sensation. No wonder India was the jewel in the crown.

For more refer to chapter on European Imperialism, Seafaring in Ancient India). For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

China, of course, was never formally part of anyone's empire, but for much of the 19th century she was dominated by the Western powers, including Britain, and again the chart shows why she was such a tasty morsel for them to pick over. In the 20th century her relative decline continued, spurred by decades of bad government, unrest, war, civil war and finally communism. This culminated in a period of economic madness and self-destruction under Mao which has no parallel in history. In 1950 China's GDP was below Britain's. But the recent past is a highly misleading guide to China's latent strength. And now China is on the way back.

Welcome the rise of China and India - telegraph.co.uk  - 12/10/03).

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Benisagar: A 5th Vedic Hindu University

This university possibly never found a mention in Huien Tsang's memoirs.But around the same time the great Chinese traveller-scholar was laying bare the tenets of Buddhism to his students at Nalanda University, a few hundred miles to the south, devout Hindus were absorbed in studying the four Vedas, a recent archaeological find suggests.

The 5th century AD Brahmi script denotes the Sanskrit language. The seal recovered from Benisagar indicates that it was a seat of learning where the four Vedas were taught.


Evidence of a 5th Century AD Vedic Hindu university located at Benisagar village in West Singhbhum district (bordering Mayurbhanj in Orissa) has recently been unearthed by archaeologists. According to Mr Onkar Chauhan, archaeological superintendent of the Ranchi Chapter of the Archaeological Survey of India, the findings are based on the recovery of a seal, which bears characters of the Brahmi script belonging to the Gupta era. Mr Chauhan told The Statesman that the seal was discovered from the rain gullies of an ancient mound in August this year and is currently in the possession of a local villager. The seal, which is circular with a linear border, has a horizontal line bifurcating the motifs and the legends. The motifs are depicted on the upper half while the legends lie on the lower half. The motifs, according to Mr Chauhan, represent rosary beads, kamandalu and danda, while the legends comprise nine letters. It reads: Priyangu Dheyam Chaturvidya, translated, one who is well-versed in the four Vedas. The 5th century AD Brahmi script denotes the Sanskrit language.

Mr Chauhan said the archaeological remains of the place consist of low mounds, ruins of bricks and stone temple, apart from phallic and stone images. The mounds are scattered all over the area, but the many-layered remains converge at a particular spot known as Devasthan on the eastern embankment of a large tank - Benisagar - from which the village derives its name. The discovered seal is one that belonged to Brahmins. Mr Chauhan said that the large number of private seals discovered during excavations of Bhita and Basrah regions in Kutch bear resemblance to the Benisagar seal. In both cases, the script character used in the inscription measures 1.5 inches. While the Kutch seal dates back to the 8th century AD, the Benisagar seal belongs to the 5th century AD.
Researches revealed, the Vedic systems of learning were prevalent between 1st and 11th century AD. The four education systems included Charan, Agahara, Travidya and Chaturvidya. The seal recovered from Benisagar indicates that it was a seat of learning where the four Vedas were taught.

(source: Benisagar: A Nalanda contemporary seat of learning - Statesman News Service - October 18 2004).

Facts about Benisagar - This is situated in the border of West Singhbhum &  Orissa.The place was named after the king Beni. This is famous for archaeological findings. The famous Khiching temple relate to the king Kichak of Mahabharat. According to local belief the Pandavas spent sometime over here during their Agyant Baas.

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Can You Sing Om? - By Michele Orecklin
Western practitioners are putting a new spin on the call-and-response yogic chant known as kirtan

Even if he wanted to, the musician who calls himself Krishna Das could not hide the fact that he was born on Long Island as Jeff Kagel. For one thing, there's his undeniably white skin, and when he sings in Hindi or Sanskrit, he does so with an undeniably American accent. But Das, who is known as K.D., has no desire to hide his New York roots or the fact that his musical style owes as much to the blues as to his Indian guru, Neem Karoli Baba (1900-1973).

Neem Karoli Baba (1900-1973).

K. D. is a practitioner of kirtan, devotional chanting, which originated as a component of the religious form of yoga known as Bhakti and is conducted by call and response. Chanters repeat short phrases over and over, invoking the names of Hindu gods. With the current embrace of all things yogic in this country, the ancient ritual is enjoying a vogue, and as practiced by K.D. and other prominent American performers, it has taken on a decidedly Western slant. While Jai Uttal (ne Doug Uttal), Bhagavan Das (born Michael Riggs) and Dave Stringer (his real name) chant in Hindi and Sanskrit, all incorporate Western instruments and melodies on their CDs and in their live performances at yoga centers and small arenas around the country.

In addition to the traditional accompaniment of harmonium and tabla (Indian drums), Stringer employs electric guitars and violins. "You can sing chants the way they are sung in India," says K.D., whose last album, Door of Faith, was produced by kirtan devotee Rick Rubin, who has worked with Johnny Cash and the Beastie Boys.

"It's empowering to sing with others who experience the process with you," says Reed. Greg Wendt, a financial adviser in Los Angeles, explains that kirtans allow him to "spend time with people on a spiritual path and share that passion with our voices."

Wendt says that when he chants, "the stress melts in my body and I feel this opening in my heart." Georg Feuerstein, founder of the Yoga Research and Education Center near Redding, Calif., says kirtan is an exclusively Hindu practice in which believers praise gods to whom they are devoted.

(source: Can You Sing Om? - By Michele Orecklin - time.com).

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Funds for Conversions in Kalpana's name?

Kalpana Chawla, the Indian astronaut who died tragically in the Columbia spacecraft crash, may be a heroine for many in the country. But to a Christian group, operating a trust from Tamilnadu, her name is good enough to raise funds. Though the trust has not specified for what it is raising the funds, speculations are rife that it could be for conversion activities.

The Trust, under the name Scot Christian Trust operating in Bodinayakanur in Theni district, has been soliciting funds especially from the rural public in the State under the pretext of collecting money 'to feed her family'. Kalpana has also been described as a space scientist in the soliciting material. The trust has put out notices (clumsily written ones) saying that, 'due to space craft accident (Columbia), we (India and all the people of India and Kalpana Chawla's family) have (been) startled, her family had a great loss and also our country had lost a great space scientist.

'To feed her family, we are gathering donations all over the world, to help her family. So you kindly send your donations to the below address by cash or D.D or Cheque (for your donations tax deduction is applicable): Scot Christian Trust,125, P.H.Road, Thendral Complex, Bodinaykanur - 625 513. Theni Dist. Tamil Nadu, South India. E-mail: scotchristiantrust@yahoo.co.in Secretary : Jayascot@yahoo.co.in Fax: 0091(4546) 281838.'

Kalpana should be surely turning in her grave. If her life was an exploration in the sky, her death to some seems to be an exploitation in earth. 

(source: Funds for conversions in Kalpana's name? - newstodaynet.com). For more refer to chapter on Conversion).For more refer to The War against Hinduism - By Stephen Knapp).

Refer to VINDICATED BY TIME: The Niyogi Committee Report  On Christian Missionary Activities - Christianity Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956 and The Sunshine of Secularism.


Singing Hindi devotional songs to the Lord Rama and ringing brass bells in ritual, about 300 people gathered Sunday afternoon at the Hindu Temple and Community Center in Sunnyvale to remember Kalpana Chawla and six other astronauts who perished in the space shuttle Columbia. ``She was not only an astronaut; she was a daughter of India. She was one of our own,'' said Raj Bhanot, co-founder of the center, one of the largest Hindu temples in the South Bay. A scholarship fund in honor of Chawla has been established at the temple, drawing an initial $2,000 donation at Sunday's gathering.

Chawla attended the temple in the early 1990s when she was a research scientist with NASA at Moffett Field, developing three-dimensional simulations of air flows. Those who knew her at the temple marveled at the trajectory of her life, from a determined schooling in a village in India, to the pursuit of her dream to fly. She became the first Indo-American to go on space missions.

(source: Daughter of India' honored)

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White hand on our nuke button? - By Tavleen Singh

As a steadfast member of the school of political thinking that totally opposes foreign prime ministers for India I never fail to take up the issue whenever it slips back into the news. Ignoring Sonia’s foreignness is about as difficult as ignoring a boil on someone’s nose and yet we ignore it totally these days. It is my view that we will have to pay a very heavy price for this which is why, despite hate mail and admonitions from Congress friends, I rake up Sonia’s foreignness any chance I get.

I was wandering about Rajasthani villages conducting the usual pre-election vox populi. Naturally, one of my questions was about Sonia’s foreignness. In the drawing rooms of Delhi and Mumbai the ‘‘educated’’ view is that the ‘‘common man’’ thinks Italy is a village in Tamil Nadu. Happily, most of the people I talked to knew exactly where Italy was and said they did not like the idea of a foreign prime minister one bit. It was wrong, they said, an insult to national pride. So, when I hit urban terrain and came upon the sanctimonious editorials in the national press I was quite taken aback.

To me it came as a reminder that the ‘‘common man’’ is some times wiser politically than those of us who think of ourselves as uncommonly well educated. In the Sonia context he is wiser because instinctively he appears to understand that India becomes a global joke the day we elect an imported leader. Who will take us seriously? But, there are more serious reasons why Sonia’s foreignness will never be a ‘‘non-issue’’ and these relate — as this column has pointed out before — to matters of governance.

Think of how much more we regress if our only reason for choosing a foreigner for the most important job in the country is that she married into a political family. Why do we laugh then at Rabri Devi? Surely, she is more qualified than Sonia for high public office. She is at least Indian by birth. Speaking of which why is it that so few people remember that the lady who seeks to be our next prime minister has only recently acquired her love for India. How else to explain why, despite being the Prime Minister’s daughter-in-law, she chose to remain a foreigner till 1983 when her husband’s decision to enter electoral politics made an Italian wife a serious inconvenience. As it is when times got bad he was sneered at as Italy ka daamad.

Think of how much worse it will be if Sonia — heaven forbid — should make it to the Prime Minister’s office and times get bad? What if there is another war with Pakistan, can you see the Army chief reporting to a foreigner? Think of the answer to that question in the context of marriage to foreigners being forbidden to Army officers till not so long ago. Think of it also in a nuclear context and remember that it is the Prime Minister’s hand on the button.

Beneath our supposedly civilised veneer let us not forget that every Indian child grows up being taught about the foreigners who ruled us for a thousand years. A colleague recently tried to count the number of columnists who openly opposed the idea of a foreign prime minister and, would it surprise you if I said, that he did not get beyond the fingers of one hand. 

Is it any wonder that foreigners found it so easy in the past to subjugate us? 

(source: White hand on our nuke button? - By Tavleen Singh - indianexpress.com). For more refer to chapters on Islamic Onslaught and European Imperialism).  

Secularism and Sonia Gandhi

Secularism is our destiny,’’ she said loftily to a Delhi newspaper. She explained what she understood secularism to mean. ‘‘Secularism in the sense of equal respect for all religions, in the sense of combating communalism of all kinds, in the sense of giving minorities safety, security and equality of opportunity.’’

Secularism does not mean any of these things. It is a European word that relates to separating the church from the state and in that sense irrelevant in India since no Shankaracharya ever ruled or had an army, as the Vatican once did,

But, Congress gets away with occupying the ‘‘secular’’ high ground because 50 years of propaganda have brainwashed most of our thinkers, academics and hacks into believing a lot of nonsense about communalism and secularism.

(source: Blame Cong for rise of Hindutva - By Tavleen Singh - indianexpress.com).

Sonia in politics - A national disaster - By S Gurumurthy

Some of you may even say I am a racist. I was discussing this issue with Cho Ramaswamy. He told me something he may not write but I will share this with you. Cho said, and I quote, "If Sonia Gandhi had been black, had been a person of African origin, this problem would never have arisen."

Do you understand what this means, unpalatable though it may be to some of you? It is this fascination for the white skin and it is we, the English educated Indians, who are responsible for this. Tamil patriot and poet Bharathi said, " Ayiram undingu jathi, enil anniyar vanthu pugal enna neethi. " Yes, we may have hundreds of castes but that is no reason for an alien to fish in our troubled waters and play arbiter here. That is what Lokmanya Tilak mean by Swaraj first. We may fight among ourselves, we may even kill each other, but we don't want a foreign arbiter.

(source:  Sonia in politics - A national disaster - By S Gurumurthy - sify.com).

Sonia, our Lady of Renunciation?

With the clamour in her ears comparing her to Jesus and the Buddha and the pathetic paeans of her courtiers in the media, it would have been easy not to notice the groundswell of shock and shame. The modern equivalent was SMS and messages went like this in Hindi.

Ab to khush ho na Hindustani? Raj karegi imported rani/217 hijdon ne ek videshi ko di kamaan, ab kabhi na kehna mera Bharat Mahaan. 

(source: Perhaps Sonia was wiser than we think - By Tavleen Singh - indianexpress.com).

Are you as confused about who rules India as I am? Puzzled that although Santa Sonia, our Lady of Renunciation, so graciously handed the reins of power to her chosen subordinate, we still see much more of her than we see of him. When our friendly neighbourhood military dictator wanted to continue the dialogue initiated by the Vajpayee government, he also seemed not to notice that it was bad protocol to invite the Congress president to Pakistan when the Prime Minister is someone else.

There is something about the Gandhis that has always (except briefly during the Emergency) inspired this kind of sycophantic drivel.. My problem is that I appear to be among a small handful who do not see any renunciation. Quite the opposite. It seems to me that Sonia has managed to put herself in the wonderful position of being all powerful without any accountability.

(source: The de facto PM – By Tavleen Singh - indianexpress.com).  

Abrupt renouncer to gradual usurper, Sonia's U-turn?  

When she announced she had renounced, the entire herd of Congress MPs fell at her feet to the full view of the world on free-to-air telecast. Thus she renounced, not silently, but thunderously. She announced this on Tuesday, May 18, late evening.

The media first called it a drama, went wild with admiration as it turned true. `Gandhi, the Mahatma', ‘Saint Sonia', ‘Vedantic' renunciation' - the media turned hysterical thus.

Soon she became the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance. One week later she was appointed as the head of the National Advisory Council, a new body created to position her above the PM. She was given a Cabinet rank. She would get an office in Vigyan Bhavan, the best building in the Capital. Three days back the Law Minister announced that she could call for any file. This virtually made her the Super PM, almost officially.

Abrupt renouncer to gradual usurper, Sonia's U-turn?   - By S Gurumurthy).

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Multinationals Eyeing Patent On Rudraksha?

Rudraksh is formed by association of two words, 'RUDRA' and 'AKSHA" . Rudra is the name of Lord Shiva. Aksha means 'tear'. It is said that the plant of Rudraksh is originated from the tear drops of Lord Shiva.


Kochi, India, October 5, 2003: A multinational pharmaceutical company is understood to have initiated steps to gain patent rights over rudraksha, the seed of the tree known as Elaeocarpus ganitrus, in botanical terms. Another international jewelry firm has reportedly come up with diamond-studded rudraksha ornaments, says this article. The rudraksha seed is used in Ayurvedic medicines for curing psychiatric disorders, hypertension and gastrointestinal diseases. The tree is generally found in the Himalayas, Nepal, Varanasi etc. The medicinal values of rudraksha are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts such as `Ashtanga Hrudayam', according to Ayurvedic doctors. The fully-grown fruit in dried form, known as bead, appears in multi-faces or 'mukhas' due to the dividing lines from one side to the other. The value of the rudraksha depends on the number of faces it possesses. 

Subas Rai, a researcher at the Benaras Hindu University, has published a book, `Rudraksha -- properties and biomedical implications'. He had studied the magnetic properties, inductance and capacitance of the beads.According to Mr. Rai, ``electrical signals over the body surface vary from region to region and differ for both halves of the body due to varying magnitude of ionic currents involved in the functioning of different cell tissues, nerves and organs. Fluctuation in these signals beyond certain limits results in disease symptoms. Different electrical signals are used to cure many diseases. Such bio-effects are mediated through sensory and other nerves. Rudraksha beads as capacitors with body by virtue of giving output signals with amplitudes specific to mukhi of the beads and to body organs helps the bio-system to attain normal health condition''.

Ancient sages wore rudraksha beads. The beads are believed to give peace of mind and more inner strength. Like neem, tulsi and turmeric, the biomedical properties of rudraksha are being studied worldwide. 

The use of rudrakshas has been increasing for the past few years, according to Tanay Seetha, founder of Rudralife, an organization for the propagation of rudraksha. HPI adds: For some reason, this article in Chennai's The Hindu states the practice of wearing rudraksha has been "followed by prominent politicians, bureaucrats and others." It is the practice of all devout Saivites to wear rudraksha beads and hardly limited to politicians or bureaucrats.

(source: Multinationals Eyeing Patent On Rudraksha? and Hinduism Today). for more refer to chapter on Nature Worship).

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The timeless temple of Ambarnath in Konkan

Clouds gather, rumble, then flash and burst with loud reports... Streams swell, lakes breach their bounds... It's Tandava: Shiva's dance. Few of Man's creations can withstand it for long. Especially in the Konkan, where the skies pour June through September. But the Shiva temple at Ambarnath has withstood 943 monsoons without losing much of its grandeur.

Surely, the temple must be a favourite of its patron god to outlast not only the rain but also four centuries of Muslim rule and a forest breathing up its walls!

This exquisite temple was got built by Chittaraja—a king of the Silhara dynasty—in the late 11th century. An inscription above the north-facing door of the temple states Saka 982 (1060 AD) as the date of construction. The Silharas started out as vassals of the Rashtrakutas. Govinda III, a Rashtrakuta king, had conferred the kingdom of North Konkan on Kapardin-I, founder of the Silhara dynasty, around 800 AD. The Silharas thereafter ruled North Konkan, comprising the modern Thana, Bombay and Colaba districts, till 1240 AD. The temple was constructed at a time when the Silharas were facing political problems. Chittaraja had to accept the suzerainty of the Kadambas, another dynasty. Nonetheless, he could muster the means to erect a beautiful temple. 




The Ambarnath temple is made of richly carved stone blocks. It is not very big, like some of the temples down south, but impresses no less.

The temple's sides are irregular and one view is that, its floor plan is based on a spread-out tiger skin-Shiva's mat. It has two main sections: A mandap or forecourt and the garbhagriha or sanctum. The mandap has a circular, step-cut roof. It has three doors, in the north, south and west. The main door is in the west and it has an idol of Nandi, Shiva's mount, under the porch. The north and south doors are in a line. The mandap's concave ceiling has an ornate pattern carved into it. Its four supporting pillars are also carved top to bottom. Seen from the west, the mandap's three porches form a 'T'.

The garbha or sanctum is an uneven circle from the outside. Its roof was shaped as a spire, but it has partly collapsed. To enter the sanctum, one has to go up two steps and down twelve from the mandap. The prayer chamber is lit from a vent at the top. Its marble flooring, shivling and a Shiva bust modelled on Shivaji are unmistakably new. Its dark walls are also completely unadorned. The carvings on the temple's outer walls are probably theme-based but even a novice can make out carvings of Shiva, Ganesha and Nandi. Though some of the carvings have been dulled by seeping water, most stand out sharply. An Archaeological Survey of India board at the site states that the Ambarnath temple is "perhaps the oldest shrine dedicated to Shiva in the coastal parts of Maharashtra." However, continued worship at the temple is affecting its beauty. Devotees still burn incense in the alcoves and pour milk over the Nandi idol. Some restraint on their part might allow their great grandchildren also to see the temple in its full glory.

(source: The timeless temple of Ambarnath - By Abhilash Gaur - tribuneindia.com).

For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Symbol of an awakened civilization

The real India is waking up to a new, historical reality. This awakening is a result of the unfolding of a mighty creative genius of millions of unknown Indians whose names are not known and whose lives are nothing special to remember otherwise. It is they who can metaphorically be descried as the 'Real Bharat.' They are charting a new course for the future of our country. The historic Ram Janambhoomi movement is but a symbol of that new awakening -- a symbol that reminds the world that India, at last, is becoming alive to its history.

It is not just a movement for a temple. It manifests the innate yearning of a people for self-respect and honour, an urge to unshackle themselves from the humiliations history heaped on it. It happens to every country; in fact it has happened several times in the history of several countries.

About India this was what Arnold Toynbee had to say:

 'Aurangzeb's purpose in building those three mosques (Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura) was the same intentionally offensive political purpose that moved the Russians to build their Orthodox cathedral in the city centre at Warsaw. Those mosques were intended to signify that an Islamic government was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism's holiest of holy places. I must say that Aurangzeb had a veritable genius for picking out provocative sites. Aurangzeb and Philip II of Spain are a pair. They are incarnations of the gloomily fanatical vein in the Christian-Muslim-Jewish family of religions. Aurangzeb -- poor wretched misguided bad man -- spent a lifetime of hard labour in raising massive monuments to his own discredit. Perhaps the Poles were really kinder in destroying the Russians' self-discrediting monument in Warsaw than you have been in sparing Aurangzeb's mosques.' 

(source: One World and India - By Arnold Toynbee (1960  p 59-60).  


Symbol of an awakened civilization.


Medieval Indian history is replete with instances of wanton aggression on its holy places by Muslim hordes. Innumerable instances of defaced Hindu idols and destroyed Hindu/Jain/Buddhist holy places stare at us everywhere. These destructions were not done just for the sake of fun as some eminent Indian (read Marxist) historians would want us to believe. These were deliberate acts of religious vandalism perpetrated by intolerant Islamic invaders. The movement for the Ram Janambhoomi is basically a movement for the self-assertion of a civilization. 

It is a wounded civilisation trying to re-invent its roots. It has to be understood properly, instead of dismissed with contempt. 

That is what Sir Vidia Naipaul also says:

'If people just acknowledged history, certain deep emotions of shame and defeat would not be driven underground and would not find this rather nasty and violent expression. As people become more secure in India, as a middle and lower middle class begins to grow, they will feel this emotion more and more. And it is in these people that deep things are stirred by what was, clearly, a very bad defeat. The guides who take people around the temples of Belur and Halebid are talking about this all the time. I do not think they were talking about it like that when I was there last, which is about 20 something years ago. So new people come up and they begin to look at their world and from being great acceptors, they have become questioners. And I think we should simply try to understand this passion. It is not an ignoble passion at all. It is men trying to understand themselves. Do not dismiss them. Treat them seriously.' ('The truth governs writing,' an interview by Sadanand Menon, The Hindu, July 5, 1998).

(source: Symbol of an awakened civilization - By Ram Madhev - rediff.com). For more on Sir Naipaul, refer to chapters Islamic Onslaught and Quotes251_270).

For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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Christian Children's Clubs Bless Communities in India

With more than 1 billion people, India has the second largest population in the world. More than a third of that population is made up of children under the age of 18.

The predominant Hindu religion offers children little hope for a better life. But, India's Christians offer hope and a new life in Christ.

India has 380 million children under the age of 18. They are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Yet, these children are among the most responsive to the Gospel message. John DeVries heads Mission India of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a U.S.-based ministry that supports children's Bible clubs in India.

Each year tens of thousands of indigenous Indian Christians hold the clubs for 10 days at a time, in cities across the nation. So, millions of children learn about Jesus Christ through songs, games, and instructional materials. 

Specifically, DeVries said, "The impact and the answers to the prayers of children were just sweeping through that area. And, as our people visited the slum and then walked out of it, local leaders joined them and said to the leaders of our team,
'You know, before we walked in darkness but now we walk in light.' And these were Hindus talking to our team."

(source: Christian Children's Clubs Bless Communities in India - cbnnews.com). Note: If Hindu kids are walking in darkness. then refer to Mass. Reports 1,000 Church Child Abuse Victims and Paedophile cases haunts the Church). For more refer to chapter on Conversion).

Refer to VINDICATED BY TIME: The Niyogi Committee Report  On Christian Missionary Activities - Christianity Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956 and The Sunshine of Secularism.

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Hallmark to Add Hindu Deepavali Card

September 17, 2003: This year, for the first time ever, Hallmark will sell cards for the Hindu celebration of Deepavali or Diwali, as well as for the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr. "With the increase in the number of Hindus and Muslims, we realized there was an ongoing need that we were not satisfying," said Deidre Parkes, spokeswoman for the Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark company that has been making greeting cards for Americans since 1910. While based on a desire to sell more cards, the new Hallmark cards are also a recognition of the changing face of America, said Egon Mayer, a sociologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Mayer directed the American Religious Identification Survey, which showed that the number of Hindu adults in the United States rose from 227,000 to 760,000 between 1990 and 2001. During the same period, the number of Muslim adults went from about 527,000 to 1.1 million.

(source: Hallmark to Add Hindu Deepavali Card  -  For more visit Hallmark Press Room).

Diwali comes to the White House 

More than a hundred Indian community leaders will join US President George W Bush in celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, for the first time in the White House. Giving in to a longstanding demand of the Indian community in the US, which pointed out that the White House celebrates festivals of all other religions, but not Diwali, Bush has agreed to the festivities, which would be held at the Indian Treaty Room. A hundred Indian community leaders from different parts of the United States would attend the celebration organized by Abel Guerra, Public Liaison Officer at the White House. However, the event is closed to the press, even to those with regular White House press credentials, but the attendees are free to publicize the event afterwards, White House sources said.

(source: Diwali comes to the White House - hindustantimes.com).

Englishmen vandalise Diwali fete in London

The London Metropolitan police charged the two whitemen who gate-crashed into a Diwali celebration at the Sanathan Mandir in Ealing Road and desecrated the idol of Lord Rama with "religiously aggravated criminal damage".

The two men, identified as Toby Champeney, 40, part-time worker with no fixed abode and Benjamin Lloyd, 27, an occupational therapist from Uxbridge, were to be produced before Brent Magistrate, a spokesman of the police told PTI.  The two Britons, who broke the idol of Lord Rama at the Ealing Road Sanatam Mandir in Wembley last month, were sentenced for "racially aggravated criminal damages". The Brent Magistrate Court on November 17 sentenced Toby Champney to two months imprisonment for "racially aggravated criminal damages". His fellow Christian preacher, Benjamin Lloyd Jones was fined 400 pounds for racially aggravated threatening behaviour, and set free. The lower court's sentence has angered the Hindu community and many of them have raised the question of why a higher court had not heard the case.

(source: Englishmen vandalise Diwali fete in London -  sify.com and Two Britons sentenced for breaking Ram idol - hindu.com).

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India needs common civil code: President A P J Abdul Kalam

Chandigarh: Responding to a query on the need for a uniform civil code at an interactive session with 900 school students at the PGI on Monday, President A P J Abdul Kalam made it clear that a uniform civil code was required keeping in view the population of the country.

He said, ''We are a billion-strong population and any law has to be uniformly applicable.'' In the midst of the his favourite audience, Kalam came across as a charmer deftly tackling the queries thrown at him by the students. Questions also touched on national security issues, brain drain, the reservation policy, the utility of India's nuclear programme, vote bank politics and the country's space programme.

(source: India needs common civil code: Kalam - timesofindia.com).

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BJP to launch stir for Dalits’ temple entry

The BJP will conduct a survey of such temples and other religious places in the state where Dalits are denied entry for offering prayers or prasad. And after identifying such temples and other religious places, an agitation will be launched for Dalits’ entry into them.

An announcement to this effect was made by leader of the opposition in the state assembly Sushil Kumar Modi on Sunday at Bahera village of Kaimur district, where a Dalit was shot dead when he tried to offer prayers and prasad to the goddess during the Durga Puja on October 4, defying the long-standing ban imposed by upper castes. 

Modi promised that without caring for the political implications of his decision, he would himself lead the agitation for Dalits’ entry into the religious places. He called upon all the political parties to join the fight against such social evils. 

(source: BJP to launch stir for Dalits’ temple entry - timesofindia.com).

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A one man army out to propagate Hinduism

He is an academic, a Hindu missionary, a master of Hindu philosophy and religion, an Indian in love with Indonesia, all rolled into one. Dr. Somvir, a member of the faculty of letters at the Udayana University here and a resident of this Indonesian resort, says his mission in life is to spread Hindu values, come what may. . "I am here to propagate Hindu religion and philosophy," Somvir. "I have no other love, no other interest. I am engaged in this effort every single minute, and I like it immensely." In Bali, where 95 per cent of the three million people practice a form of Hinduism that is blended with Buddhism.

He has just been given two hectares of land to start a gurukul, a boarding school modelled on Hindu lines, to cater to some 400 students. The gurukul  that will come up in 2004 will teach modern subjects as well as Sanskrit, English and local languages.It will also serve as a home to 10 cows, an animal revered by Hindus. Somvir, a Yadav who stopped using his family name decades ago, first came to Indonesia in 1993 to do research on the origins of Sanskrit sources in Ramayana in Indonesia and spent a year researching in Jakarta and Bali. "Since coming here I have done nothing except propagate Hinduism and Hindu philosophy," he says. "I decided this is what I will do, whether or not I get any assistance. I have so far taught more than 3,000 students."
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations finally recognized his efforts and has been funding his work since 1999. He now teaches Sanskrit, Vedas and Hindu ethics in three universities here, for free. Somvir has opened a yoga centre named after saint-philosopher Swami Vivekananda at Bali's Maha Saraswati University, where a weekly class is held free every Sunday and is attended by some 40 people. 

"There is tremendous interest in Hinduism and in particular Ramayana here," he said. "Ramayana is like a daily diet of the people. Both Sanskrit and Ramayana are embedded in people's minds. "There is hardly anyone here who does not know the Ramayana or does not sing its verses." Somvir is now putting together a dictionary of 2,000 words from Bhasa Indonesia and the old Javanese language that owe their origin to Sanskrit.

(source: A one man army out to propagate Hinduism - hindustantimes.com).

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Don’t follow the West blindly:  says Governor M Rama Jois

Governor M Rama Jois has noted: "He also laid stress on the position of women in our culture. He said a mother stands next only to God. He said that beauty shows are harming the Indian culture. "Ugly exhibition of beauty for money is wrong," he opined. The governor said that education minus "dharma" and culture would create brutes and that "literate necessarily doesn't mean educated people." 

Quoting from Fatherless America he said that 65 per cent American children do not know who is their father. "If we follow western tradition, we will also meet a similar fate," he cautioned and advised the children never to alienate themselves from their tradition. "

(source: Don’t follow the West blindly - timesofindia.com). For more on M Rama Jois refer to chapter on Quotes321-340

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Did You Know?

Spirited Away – Asia’s Looted Treasures

In India, Cambodia and China, ruthless art thieves are stripping cultural sites of precious artifacts, then shifting them to smugglers and dealers who hawk them overseas.

No country has lost so much so quickly as Cambodia, whose jungles hid cities built by the mysterious Angkor empire between the 9th and 14th centuries.

Vishnu and Lakshmi


Peace has proved far more destructive to the turbulent nation's antiquities than war. When the relic-rich northwest was under Khmer Rouge control through the mid-'90s, Western dealers couldn't reach many of the prime sites for fear of land mines or crossfire. It was only with the full cessation of civil war a few years ago that foreigners could once again freely visit the relic sites around the legendary Angkor Wat temple complex. Since then, thousands of ancient Khmer relics have flooded the art market.

Most of the antiquities travel overland from Cambodia to Thailand, where ritzy Bangkok galleries openly display looted relics. "Of course they are all real," says a saleswoman in one of the galleries, gesturing toward two 1.5-meter-high statues of the Hindu god Vishnu in the window priced at $17,500 each. "I'll give you a certificate that says so." She has more in the back—even though other Bangkok shopkeepers say such items are getting harder to come by. A ban on the import of Khmer stone antiquities by several industrialized nations, including Japan and the U.S., coupled with regular Thai police raids on antique shops have curtailed the trade. But the saleswoman remains undaunted. "You can have these for a bargain," she says.

In the meantime, the industrial-scale looting continues unabated. In 1999, entire slabs of bas-relief from Banteay Chhmar, a magnificent temple in western Cambodia, were loaded onto trucks and driven to Thailand. Roads were bulldozed through the jungle to carry out the sandstone chunks, leading Thai police who later intercepted the load to charge the Cambodian military with complicity. This March, looters trekked upriver to Kbal Spean, a distant jungle enclave where elaborately carved bas-reliefs from the 11th century decorate the riverbed and surrounding rocks. It was nighttime, and they found the site unguarded due to lack of funds. Using an electric saw, the raiders gouged out the face of Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi. Apparently, they were not experts: Lakshmi's face cleaved into several pieces, one of which was found beside the desecrated site the next day. Still, Tranet estimates that the Vishnu face alone could sell for up to $50,000 in Bangkok—and several times that in the West.

(source: Spirited Away – Asia’s Looted Treasures - time.com).  For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

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