Monday, June 23, 2014

Get India going, don’t worry about Hindi

We really don’t need tax-funded babus to promote Hindi or protect India’s official language from Macaulay Putras. What we need is to focus on getting India going. Hindi has no role to play in that.

Language has always been a contentious issue in India which is probably the only country without a common link language that is indigenous or integral to its civilisational history. We could argue that the English language today is as much an Indian language as it is the lingua franca of Britain, and that it is the language that has contributed the most to a globalised world. But that would not detract from the fact that it was the language of our colonial masters and is part of the legacy the British left behind when they departed in 1947.

Hindi, on the other hand, was the language of anti-colonialism; along with khadi, it came to symbolise the struggle for swarajya by adopting, and extolling the virtues of, all that was swadeshi. This is largely because the leadership of the Congress, such as it was and crafted in large measure by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, came from what is known as India’s ‘Hindi belt’.

It is another matter that most of the Congress’s leaders were equally, if not more, comfortable with English, the language in which Jawaharlal Nehru embarked upon his ‘Discovery of India’ and Gandhi pamphleteered both in his early and later days. That section of the Congress which had not been seduced by the charms of European liberalism or Fabian socialism saw Hindi as one of the three mainstays of Indian nationalism – Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan was more than a slogan; it was a lofty idea.

However, this attempt to conflate the identity of a culturally homogenous Bharat with a single language, Hindi, was not embraced by a multi-cultural India. Resistance was both overt and covert. The Congress Government led by C Rajagopalachari, which tried to enforce Hindi as a compulsory language in schools in the Madras Presidency, met with stiff resistance to he propogation of  ‘national language’. The Justice Party, which was to later evolve into the Dravidar Kazhagam, led by EV Ramasamy, was relentless in its protest that ended only after Lord Erskine, the Governor of Madras Presidency, withdrew the order in February 1940.

Twenty-five years later anti-Hindi protests resurfaced in Madras State when the DMK refused to be mollified by Nehru’s Official Languages Act that was meant to ensure the continuation of both Hindi and English as India’s official languages after the constitutionally mandated period of 15 years. It required Mrs Indira Gandhi’s amendments to the Act to end the anti-Hindi riots, but by then language had become the instrument of regional politics. The DMK won the 1967 election, the Congress has never been able to resuscitate itself in what is now Tamil Nadu.

Tamil obduracy is well documented and remains the yardstick to measure popular sentiments against Hindi as India’s official language. But the opposition exists across the country beyond the ‘Hindi belt’. In the North-East, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, indeed across vast stretches of the country, Hindi is resented if not despised. Truth be told, many would see the promotion, leave alone imposition, of Hindi as an attempt to obliterate local culture and language. India nationalism, whether we like it or not, is the sum total of sub-nationalism; it’s best kept that way. It is debatable whether it was wise to opt for linguistic States, but having made that the foundation of the Union of India, tampering with it would be unwise.

These thought are occasioned by last week’s brouhaha over a circular issued by the Raj Bhasha Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, asking Government officials to use Hindi, or Hindi and English, while communicating on social media platforms. As expected, the DMK was the first to object, followed by others who clearly rushed in to protest without even reading the circular. The media had a field day, spinning a story out of nothing. Worse, crucial details were suppressed to fuel the fire.

Even the most casual reading of the circular would have revealed to the outraged politicians and their followers, as also obnoxious Hindi bullies, that such instructions are routinely issued by the Raj Bhasha Department babus who, frankly, are more concerned about protecting their jobs and privileges than in promoting Hindi. It would have also revealed that the circular is based on a decision taken on March 10, 2014, when the Congress and not the BJP was in power. The circular is dated May 27, a day after Mr Narendra Modi took oath of office as Prime Minister and two days before Mr Rajnath Singh took charge as Home Minister. Most important, the circular is meant for officials in Category A States which, in any case, use Hindi as their official language.

Yet the circular was projected, wilfully so, by the media as an instruction issued by the Modi Sarkar. The Government was criticised and lampooned (depending on the news channel or newspaper) for getting obsessed with Hindi instead of focussing on bread and butter issues. Strangely, there was no immediate clarification by either the Government or the BJP. It required a clarification from the PMO to put an end to the manufactured controversy more than 72 hours after it surfaced as ‘Breaking News’.

Needless distraction from core issues of governance, and there’s enough on this front to keep the Government busy, is best avoided by reading out the riot act to the various departments that make up the mammoth Government of India: Nothing should be done to take away attention from immediate tasks and long-term goals. The Modi Sarkar came to power promising ‘India First’. For a junior babu to try and supplant that promise with ‘Hindi First’ is downright objectionable and outright dangerous. Others will take this as a cue to peddle their own agenda to protect their livelihood.

In any event, the Modi Sarkar is supposed to break the status quo and chart a new course. That should include abandoning misplaced notions of language chauvinism. Hindi is hale and hearty, spreading rapidly and subverting foreign languages like English, thanks to Bollywood and a thriving desi culture. We really don’t need tax-funded babus to promote Hindi or protect India’s official language from Macaulay Putras. What we need is to focus on getting India going. Hindi has no role to play in that.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Planning Commission releases study praising Gujarat’s success in manufacturing, focus on MSMEs

A new study, conducted for the Planning Commission, explains in detail how Gujarat has facilitated the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises, and emerged as among the top States in manufacturing. 

A new report, released by the Planning Commission, praises Gujarat for its innovative initiatives to promote the job-generating, growth-driving manufacturing sector. The report explains in detail how Gujarat has facilitated the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises, and emerged as among the top States in manufacturing. This finding negates the politically-motivated baseless allegation that only big industry is promoted in Gujarat.
The study, ‘Survey on Business Regulatory Environment for Manufacturing – State Level Assessment’, has been conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Private Limited (DTTIPL). Commissioned by the Planning Commission, the release of the report coincides with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma’s desperate attempt to downplay the DIPP-funded study on improving India’s business regulatory environment that hailed Gujarat’s land acquisition policy as the best in the country.
The ‘Gujarat Model’ just cannot be wished away, no matter how hard the detractors of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who as Chief Minister of Gujarat has taken the State to new heights of economic success, try to disprove facts. Anand Sharma will now have to contend with the report commissioned by the Planning Commission which supplements the findings of the DIPP-funded study.
The DTTIPL study has highlighted Gujarat’s iNDEXTb initiative which serves the dual purpose of facilitating enterprise and monitoring the implementation of investment proposals. The study says, “iNDEXTb is a nodal agency under the Industries Commissionerate, Government of Gujarat for providing hand-holding support to entrepreneurs. The Investor Facilitation Portal developed by iNDEXTb facilitates monitoring of investment proposals by generating MIS reports, which can be used by officials to identify applications on which action has not been taken within the stipulated time frame.”
The study points out how iNDEXTb assists entrepreneurs by helping them finalise their choice of location for setting up a manufacturing unit. This is done by providing critical information on access to three key basic inputs – land, power and water. The Investor Facilitation Portal’s assistance is available for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as large enterprises across all sectors. The facilitation is for both setting up new industries as well as for expanding existing manufacturing units.
“Some of the States have developed GIS-based software which shows mapping of land plots in industrial estates,” the study says, adding, “The real time vacancy details can be checked by applicants and the applicants can select plots based on analysis of such location.” Citing the example of Gujarat, the study says, “iNDEXTb has a GIS-based software which shows the geographic mapping of industrial areas in Gujarat, including highways, GPCB zones, CRZs, port connectivity, soil quality, power and utilities grid connectivity, etc.”
Knocking the bottom out of mendacious allegation leveled by the detractors of Narendra Modi that the State Government promotes only a few big companies, the report says: “For reaching out to micro enterprises, iNDEXTb has set up kiosks at 26 district industries centres. These kiosks are equipped with infrastructure facilities such as internet connectivity, printer and scanner.”
The study refrains from assigning ranks to States. What it has done is to cluster States on the basis of six parameters. These are: finance and tax related compliances; labour law related compliances; infrastructure and utility related approvals; land and building related approvals; environmental clearances; and, other business regulatory compliances.
States have been clustered in three categories – ‘Top’ 33.33 percentile of States; ‘Middle’ 33.33 percentile of States; and, ‘Bottom’ 33.33 percentile of States.
The findings of the study show that Gujarat figures among the ‘Top’ category comprising nine States that have been assessed on all six parameters. Gujarat figures among the top States on four select parameters – finance and tax related compliances; infrastructure and utility related approvals; land and building related approvals; and, other business regulatory compliances. On environmental clearance, Gujarat has been put in the ‘Middle’ category of States. Only on labour law related compliances, Gujarat is placed in the ‘Bottom’ category of States.
Explaining the last categorisation, an analyst said “this classification can be turned around to trash the allegation that the Modi Government does not protect the interests of workers. The fact is that the Government protects the overall interests, which can at times be conflicting, of all stakeholders by holding growth and development for all as the supreme objective.”
The study comes with the rider that it solely focuses on assessing the existing business regulatory framework in individual States. “Other key factors that impact the performance of manufacturing units, like quality of infrastructure, availability of natural resources, market linkages, labour and skill availability, access to finance, etc, have not been covered in the current study,” it says, adding, “Consequently, the relative standing of individual States may differ from their relative contribution to India’s manufacturing GDP.”
Elaborating on this point, the study explains, “For example, a particular State may have been identified as being relatively mature in its business regulatory environment but may not have an equivalent standing in terms of contribution to India’s manufacturing GDP owing to limited natural resources within its geographic boundaries.”
Commenting on Gujarat’s success in manufacturing sector, it notes that the State ranked second in the country in terms of share of manufacturing GDP, contributing around 13.7 per cent of manufacturing GDP in 2011-12. The State’s manufacturing sector contributed 28.2 per cent to Gujarat’s GSDP in 2011-12, with a CAGR of 9.5 per cent between 2007-08 and 2011-12. The sector employed around 3.4 million people in 2009-10 representing 13.7 per cent of Gujarat’s working population.
Referring to interaction with industries, the study says: “It is understood that Gujarat is a power surplus State with respondents expressing satisfaction on quality and availability of power. It was also indicated that quality and availability of water has improved over the years.  Road network and rail connectivity have also shown improvement.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Priyanka Vadra should Google for ‘tandoor case’, ‘Bhanwari Devi’, ‘Kalpana Giri’…

May more women find themselves as privileged as Priyanka Vadra. May their husbands get to bypass airport security on account of their wives’ exalted status. And may they also get to buy farmland cheap and convert it to expensive industrial land. In brief, may more mothers-in-law be as ‘empowered’ as Sonia Gandhi, ‘safe’ in the knowledge that the long arm of the law is not long enough to touch them.

Faced with its worst-ever defeat as this summer’s general election winds down, the Congress has decided to blindly hit out at Narendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate riding an unprecedented popularity wave, hoping to score a sixer. It has had no luck till now.

On Wednesday, Priyanka Vadra, who describes herself as “daughter (of Sonia Gandhi), sister (of Rahul Gandhi), wife (of Robert Vadra) and mother (we shall keep children’s names out)” lashed out at Modi, saying, “If you’re talking about women’s empowerment, don’t snoop on their conversations.”

On Tuesday Mrs Vadra had feigned anger that her husband, the one and only Robert Vadra who is possibly the biggest landlord today after the Indian Railways, and has mastered the magic of turning a lakh of rupees into real estate worth thousands of crores of rupees in less than five years, was attacked by Modi in his election rallies. “My family … my husband are being attacked,” she had raged.

Mrs Vadra’s unstated assertion was clear to all: The Nehru household, the Dynasty, the Congress’s First Family, is beyond public scrutiny and criticism; hence, the Dynasty’s son-in-law too should be treated with absolute reverence by us natives and his black deeds should never be questioned.

As Narendra Modi told ABP News on Tuesday evening, he has “no majburi” to be deferential towards the Congress’s First Family. He is not alone. Many of us natives have no obligation to be nice to the members of the Nehru household and their damaad.

Mrs Vadra had also bemoaned the ‘harsh’ language being used by those opposed to the Congress. Frankly, she has not exactly been oozing sugar and honey in her carefully crafted interactions with voters and awestruck mediapersons, the kind whom Modi disparagingly refers to as ‘news traders’.

And now this sly attack on Modi – Mrs Vadra was obviously referring to what Modi’s detractors call ‘Snoopgate’. Till date the Congress and its cronies in the commentariat have not been able to make the ‘Snoopgate’ allegation stick on Modi.

On the contrary, the disgraced cop with a dubious reputation on whose baseless claim the Congress levelled its allegation has been found to be a pervert who constantly sought to sexually harass and abuse women, abusing his power. It’s not surprising that he should have found willing patrons in the Congress.

Mrs Vadra’s concern for women’s ‘empowerment’ and ‘safety’ – she said she was speaking as a “daughter, sister, wife and mother” – is laudable. May more women find themselves as privileged as her. May their husbands get to bypass airport security on account of their wives’ exalted status. And may they also get to buy farmland cheap and convert it to expensive industrial land. In brief, may more mothers-in-law be as ‘empowered’ as Sonia Gandhi, ‘safe’ in the knowledge that the long arm of the law is not long enough to touch them.

Meanwhile, Mrs Vadra would do well to recollect the Congress’s rather long dirty laundry list of scandals involving the abuse of women. Here are some of the stains – a few among the many – that sully the Congress which claims to be a champion of women’s ‘empowerment’ and ‘safety’:

» Sushil Sharma, a Youth Congress leader and Congress MLA, killed his wife, Naina, then proceeded to chop her body into pieces before shoving them into the tandoor at Bagiya, a restaurant in the heart of Lutyens’s Delhi, a short walking distance from 10 Janpath. Mrs Vadra could Google for ‘Tandoor case’ on her smart phone.

» Mahipal Maderna, a powerful Minister in the now ousted Congress Government of Rajasthan, is accused of sexually exploiting and then murdering Bhanwari Devi, an indigent woman. Then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tried to scuttle the investigation. Mrs Vadra could Google for ‘Bhanwari Devi case’ on her smart phone.

» Ram Kumar Chaudhary, a Congress MLA of Himachal Pradesh, was arrested for his alleged role in the murder of a young woman, Jyoti, with whom he is said to have had an ‘illicit affair’. He then dumped her as their ‘castes did not match’. Mrs Vadra could Google for ‘Jyoti murder case’ on her smart phone.

» Mahendra Vikramsinh Chavan, president of the Latur Assembly constituency Youth Congress, and Sameer Killarikar, also a Youth Congress leader, have been arrested for the murder of Kalpana Giri, a Youth Congress leader. They dumped her body in a lake after killing her. Mrs Vadra could Google for ‘Kalpana Giri murder’ on her smart phone.

We could also request Mrs Vadra to check out the colourful activities of senior Congress leader ND Tiwari – they were not exactly ‘empowering’ for the women ensnared by him, nor do they quite bear out the Congress’s concern for the ‘safety’ women.

A last point: it’s not exactly edifying for Mrs Vadra to speak so loftily of a party one of whose high-profile MPs was caught on tape, not many moons ago, in a sex-for-favour scandal. Lurid descriptions of what featured on the tape were the talk of Lutyens’s Delhi for days. Just in case Mrs Vadra missed them, Google Baba would oblige her with a huge amount of puke-inducing details about this scandal. She could then meet the woman, also a daughter, sister, wife and mother, exploited by her party MP in so hideous a manner, and ask her whether she feels ‘empowered’.

PS: The MP concerned has not been named as he was sharp enough to secure a court injunction preventing the publication of his identity and his activities behind the closed doors of his office.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Modinomics, the route to economic revival and growth

You need neither a degree from Harvard University nor ‘animal spirit’ to get the Indian economy going. What you need is common sense and commitment — Narendra Modi has both...
Modi is a maximalist who wants the most for India
Frankly you don’t need either a degree from Harvard or ‘animal spirit’ to revive the Indian economy. If knowledge imbibed at Harvard and unleashed animal spirit could have propped up the economy then it would not have been in such a sorry mess today nor would we have had to witness our Prime Minister and Finance Minister blaming the world for India’s plight. This reality, however, has not prevented our Harvard educated Finance Minister from rudely poking fun at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Among the many insults hurled by P Chidambaram is his boorish comment that Narendra Modi’s knowledge of economic affairs could be written on the back of a postage stamp. True to his style, Narendra Modi has given it back in full measure and more: While addressing economists, business executives and diplomats at the India Economic Convention 2014 organised by India Foundation in New Delhi last week, he said his knowledge was far less than what could be written on the back of a postage stamp.
The irony was not lost on those who tuned in to listen to Narendra  Modi talk about his economic agenda. That a Finance Minister who has spectacularly failed to halt, leave alone reverse, India’s rapid economic decline would have the temerity to scoff at a Chief Minister who has stayed the course of economic growth and development and heads a State whose contribution to the national economy has helped in no small measure to keep the latter afloat tells its own story of unbridled arrogance. But while being supercilious may titillate the establishment media, it does not detract from the fact that he will be leaving the robust economy which the Congress inherited in 2004 in a shambles.
Nor can P Chidambaram’s smart retort hide the fact that Manmohan Singh, touted as an ‘economist’ Prime Minister and wrongly credited for the 1991-1996 reforms that were part forced on us as part of a bailout package by the IMF and part driven by PV Narasimha Rao’s agenda to discard the baggage of Nehruvian socialism, has singularly contributed to killing the India Story. A feckless Prime Minister who chose to be in office as a stooge of the Nehru Dynasty and presided over a recklessly corrupt regime while feigning ignorance of the unrestrained loot right under his nose could not have been expected to fuel the economy with either policy or imagination. That many expected otherwise shows the Great Indian Rope Trick is not entirely a myth.
Speaking at three separate events in New Delhi this week, Narendra Modi demonstrated that the solution to the myriad woes that afflict the Indian economy can be found in good old-fashioned common sense and that thing called political determination. Both are understandably alien to those who survive on scraps from the high table of the Nehru Dynasty: Their Pavlovian response would be to peddle the voodoo economics of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council as the prescription to cure India’s creeping economic paralysis. There was a time when Manmohan Singh would, in unguarded moments of candour, call for out-of-the-box thinking — that was long before he decided to unleash his “animal spirit” only to discover even if the spirit was willing the flesh was too weak to respond to the looming crisis.
To think out of the box, to think radically, to think big and to think beyond today and tomorrow requires both common sense and commitment — call it political determination if you will. Narendra Modi is right when he says governance is not about rocket science, it is about clarity of purpose and integrity of action. Once these are in place, the rest follows by way of forward looking policy and implementable programmes that address short-term, medium-term and long-term concerns. It is not enough to talk about reviving investor confidence so that the tap of investment is turned on. To create that confidence, good governance is a sine qua non as is faith in the political leadership not to be persuaded by bogus schemes of which we have seen one too many during the wasted decade of UPA rule.
When Narendra Modi talks of investing in infrastructure, reviving the manufacturing sector, nursing the agricultural sector, boosting the service sector and infusing all of them with state-of-the-art technology, he is not really saying anything radically new. To meet the demand for 10 million jobs a year, all this needs to be done. But what makes him stand out and his voice heard in the cacophony of prescriptions is the sincerity with which he says this and the experience he draws upon. He does not pander to populism that the Congress believes fetches votes but also fetches ruination. He does not promise hollow rights but emphasises on dignity of labour and empowerment. He does not talk of giveaways but asset creation and tapping the entrepreneurial spirit and aspiration of Young India.
Many would argue that it’s not pragmatic to talk about the need for Indian companies to become globally competitive and bravely confront challenges in the run-up to elections. Even in the US, Presidential election candidates, irrespective of their political beliefs, turn to peddling protectionism and raising the bogey of foreign competition. That’s considered conventional wisdom. It requires courage to turn conventional wisdom on its head and Narendra Modi has dared to do precisely that. He has talked about the need for Indian companies, big and small, to become competitive and slug it out in the global market with competitors. He has talked about the need for changing attitudes, the need to look beyond the obvious, to embrace challenge as an opportunity, to invest in technology. He frames diplomacy of the future in terms of economic engagement and trade.
That a man whose knowledge can fit the back of a postage stamp eloquently talks about next generation technology, who calls for investment in biotechnology and environment technology, bears testimony to the stupidity of those who make bold to mock at him. Narendra Modi does not look at the small picture, the minor details, the nuts and bolts; that’s the job of those who are tasked with the responsibility of implementing policy. He thinks out of the box and he thinks big. That’s the way it should be. A Prime Minister should really be looking at the big picture, setting targets and goals which are seemingly impossible to meet. For evidence, go back to his speech at the BJP National Council on January 19 in which he talked of 100 new cities to cope with irreversible urbanisation, super-fast trains with dedicated corridors, new expressways and highways, and high technology-driven high yield farming, among a host of other big ticket ideas.
It would be easy to scoff at him and ask, but where will the money come from? The answer to that question is simple: Once investor confidence is restored and the economy’s slide is reversed, the India Story will once again capture the global imagination. Let us not forget that despite the post-Pokhran II sanctions the BJP-led NDA was successful in mobilising resources for path-breaking big ticket projects. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did not allow minor details to come in the way of realising big picture ideas. A lot happened. A lot more shall happen when Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes charge.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hindus, Wendy Doniger and our fraudulent Left-liberals

Our fraudulent Left-liberals, who dominate the commentariat and academic institutions, poisoning impressionable minds, are out in full force, doing what they do best: Maligning Hindus by propagating falsehood. They have seized upon Penguin Books India’s decision to withdraw and pulp a book, ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’, authored by Wendy Doniger who is on the faculty of the Divinity School at Chicago University, to accuse “Hindu nationalists”, “fringe fundamentalists”, “Hindutvawadis” of enforcing ‘censorship’. This fiction is being repeated, again and again, in keeping with Goebbels’s dictum of repeating a lie till in the popular perception it begins to appear as the truth.
Here are the facts. Wendy Doniger’s book was published in India by Penguin five years ago. It met with a hostile reception and its contents were contested by several writers well-versed with Hindu texts and Sanskrit. Even the most casual reading of the book would show that the ‘alternative history’ that Wendy Doniger peddles is so much bunk and no more.  For all her scholarship, her interpretation of text and tradition, her understanding of the finer nuances of Sanskrit, come across as amazing shallow in this book.
Critics of ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ have argued, and not without reason, that the book was crafted to intentionally pour scorn on Hinduism; to titillate those who feel it is obligatory, either for reasons of ideology or faith if not both, to denigrate Hinduism; to use the papier mâché mask of scholarship to mock at Hindus for worshipping gods and goddesses who are portrayed as high on Viagra.
Hinduism does not abnegate the recreational pleasures of sexual intercourse – an entire chapter, The Anodyne, in Nirad C Chaudhuri’s celebrated treatise, ‘The Continent of Circe’, elaborates this point. Nirad babu drew upon a vast body of Sanskrit text, both religious and secular. But whereas it is a pleasure to read Nirad babu’s exposition, and a joy to read the texts he refers to even in translation, crudity and misinterpretation makes Wendy Doniger’s “alternative history” odious.
It could be entirely coincidental, but what Wendy Doniger has to say about Hindus and Hinduism bears remarkable similarity with the salacious, slanderous contents of lesser pamphlets used by pastors sponsored by foreign evangelists who run a multi-billion-dollar trans-national business of harvesting souls. For evidence, compare Wendy Doniger’s slickly produced ‘The Hindus’ with Pastor MG Matthew’s shabbily printed ‘Haqeeqat’. I would desist from quoting either of the authors because that would amount to giving undue publicity to scurrilous comments aimed at demeaning Hindus and defaming their faith.  The similarity does not necessarily suggest a larger conspiracy, not the least because Wendy Doniger, I am told, is not a Bible-thumping Christian but a secular Jew. 
A year after the book’s publication in India, Dinanath Batra, representing an organisation called Shiksha Bachao Andolan, filed a case against Penguin Books India and Wendy Doniger, demanding that the book be withdrawn from circulation. The petition extensively cited flaws in the book and explained why these were unacceptable. In brief, someone offended by the book exercised his right to seek legal remedy. On February 4, Penguin Books India, instead of contesting the petition and fighting it out in the courts of law to uphold the author’s right to free speech, decided to cut its losses and pulp the book.
It would be in order to mention that Penguin Books India has in the past elected to dump another author without even so much as a murmur of protest. Khushwant Singh, who was an adviser to Penguin Books India those days, was the first to propose that Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ should be dropped and went on to urge Rajiv Gandhi that it should be banned. Rajiv Gandhi did ban ‘The Satanic Verses’, making India the first country to proscribe it. Penguin Books India never contested that decision. Instead, it meekly recalled and pulped all unsold copies.
Some 30 years ago Sunanda K Datta-Ray’s ‘Smash & Grab: The Annexation of Sikkim’, perhaps the only book on one of the most important chapters of post-1947 history, was withdrawn and pulped by Vikas Publishing, the biggest publisher of the times. Vikas did so to settle a case filed by India’s last representative to Gangtok who had been uncharitably portrayed in ‘Smash & Grab’. Publishers in India are not known to fight legal battles to a bitter finish.
If our Left-liberals are truly upset, they should direct their ire at Penguin Books India for letting down Wendy Doniger and her book. They won’t do that because it would mean castigating ‘people like us’. It would also mean burning bridges with Penguin Books India which they are loath to do for reasons that are not limited to India’s premiere publishing firm. Yet our Left-liberals need to be seen as angry and outraged. So they viciously turn on “Hindu nationalists”, “fringe fundamentalists”, “Hindutvawadis”, their fangs bared in hatred.
Some years ago when a callow student of fine arts at MS University in Baroda ran into trouble over two paintings, one allegedly depicting Jesus on the Cross and the other Durga, there was a similar attempt to malign Hindus. Conveniently glossed over was the fact that the protest was led not by Hindus but Christians horrified by what they perceived to be a sacrilegious portrayal of Jesus.
We didn’t hear a pipsqueak from our Left-liberals when the Church was asked to clear the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’, whose screening was proscribed in several Congress-ruled States. There are several instances of Left-liberals slyly acquiescing to censorship by the Congress which has over the decades banned and proscribed scores of books, journals and films.
Our Left-liberals forget, ever so conveniently, that book-banning would not have been an issue in this country but for Jawaharlal Nehru introducing the first amendment to the Constitution. In India, the first amendment curbed freedom of speech. In the US, the first amendment enshrined freedom of speech as non-negotiable. If intolerance towards inconvenient views and obnoxious opinions exists in this country, it stems from that original sin. Let us also never forget that our Left-liberals are the most bigoted and intolerant of all.
Banning, burning and pulping books are not welcome options. But neither is it welcome that authors who wear a halo of ‘academic scholarship’ abuse their position and perch to defame a community and its faith. And definitely the carping of the spurious Left-liberals is unacceptable.
(Photo courtesy

Abusing freedom, falsifying gods -- The Haqeeqat of Christian evangelism in India

(This article was published on March 25, 2006 in The Pioneer. I am republishing it for the remarkable similarity between the language used by Christian evangelists to denigrate Hinduism and the bunk peddled by 'scholars' like Wendy Doniger as she did in her book 'The Hindus: An Alternative History'. Seen in the photo is Pastor MA Thomas, founder of Emmanuel Mission International of Kota, Rajasthan.)
* * *

On Monday, March 20, 2006, Assist News Service, based in Lake Forest, California, USA, which circulates news about the work of evangelists around the world, put out a story by Michael Ireland, its chief correspondent, headlined 'India's Prime Minister launches investigation into arrest and persecution of Indian Christians'.
According to this story, "India's Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has launched an investigation into the arrest of Hopegivers International President Dr Samuel Thomas.

'Our letter writing campaign is working,' says Hopegivers Executive Director Michael Glenn, 'we must continue to write and fax letters of protest this week.'

Glenn said that because of the campaign, 'The Prime Minister of India has today appointed a four-member commission to investigate the persecution in Kota where our president and top administrative staff have been falsely accused and jailed. This is simply a naked effort to force Emmanuel to shut its doors'." 

The story then goes on to urge Christians in the US to petition Senators, Congressmen and the US President against what it portrays as outrageous action by the Government of Rajasthan, prodded by 'Hindu fascists', against Dr Thomas and his fellow evangelists of Emmanuel Mission International that operates five registered societies in that State. These are: Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti, Emmanuel Anath Ashram, Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Chikitsalaya Samiti and Emmanuel Believers Fellowship, all funded by the US-based Hopegivers.

What it does not mention, however, is the reason why Dr Thomas and his associates have been booked for violating Sections 153(a) and 295(a) of the IPC, "which deal with deliberately outraging religious feelings or insulting the religious beliefs of another community." Dr Samuel Thomas has been arrested and his father, Mr MA Thomas, has been declared an absconder.

And, while choosing not to elaborate on the nature of charges, the report quotes Ms Shelley Thomas, wife of Dr Thomas, who is at present in the US: "Nothing that my husband has done was intended to outrage or insult any other religion... This is a totally false charge and unrelated to the organised violence, threats, and attacks that have been conducted against us for the last six weeks." 

It also points out that the Government of Rajasthan has "revoked without due process or hearing, all the operating licenses of the Hopegivers-supported bookstores, churches, the hospital and leprosy or HIV-AIDS outreaches, orphanages, printing presses, schools and other institutions."

Dr Thomas has been quoted saying, "Of course, none of these actions are legal. The terrorists and hate groups have taken the law into their own hands and sadly, we have lost confidence in the local Government to control them."

Since evangelist advocacy groups have willfully refused to tell the full story, it would be in order to place the facts on record.

The immediate provocation that led to the arrest of Dr Thomas and others involved with the Emmanuel mission's work in Kota is born of the contents of a book that he and his associates have been distributing among the people. The book, Haqeeqat, is authored by a Kerala-based evangelist, MG Matthew, and purports to be a rebuttal of MS Golwalkar's writings that have been published by the RSS as Bunch of Thoughts. 

In reality, it is unadulterated abuse of Hindu scriptures, faith, ritual and tradition. It denigrates every tenet of Hinduism and pours undiluted scorn on Hindu icons and gurus. It casts aspersions on the chastity of Hindu women and questions received wisdom.

Published by the Kerala-based Truth & Life Publications, which puts out evangelist literature, it has been translated into Hindi by Dennis Nathaniel, associated with the Emmanuel mission, who has been arrested by Rajasthan Police. The book has been banned in Rajasthan. The author, against whom a non-bailable warrant has been issued, is believed to be hiding somewhere in Kerala. 

Here are some samples of what Haqeeqat, which was being used by the Thomases and their associates to convince Hindus in Kota to abandon their faith and embrace Christianity, has to say:

* "Hindu gods and goddesses are fictitious and were invented to persecute Dalits" (Page 9). 

* "To prevent indigenous people from acquiring knowledge, Saraswati invented difficult Vedas (which nobody can understand)". (Page 16)

* "With the progression of time, people all over the world (except India) were freed of their ignorance and they began to disown wicked and cruel gods and goddesses. But in India, because people are (enveloped) in the darkness of ignorance, imaginary gods and goddesses are still worshipped." (Page 17)

* "Naked sanyasis are worshipped by (Hindu) women. The moment (Hindu) women see naked sanyasis, they fall on the ground and prostrate themselves before the sanyasis. (Hindu) women pour water on the sanyasis' penises and then happily drink that water. Ling Devata is gratified when he sees all these repulsive things and feels empowered... These people are ignorant and do not know the difference between what is right and wrong." (Page 93) 

* "Sita was abandoned in the forest as per Ram's wishes... Ram later asked Lakshman to kill Sita. In the end, Ram frustrated with life, drowned himself in Saryu. Such are the teachings of half-naked rishis who are praised by Hindutvawadis." (Page 100)

* "Lord Shiva, to get people to worship him, dropped his penis on Earth (Devi), shaking the ground and the sky! ... . Poor Dharti Devi was shaken by the weight of his penis. Seeing this, all the Gods were scared. It seems Gods would use their penises as bombs! Whenever and wherever they wanted to, they would drop their 'penis bombs' to terrorise the people. Thus, they were able to enslave the people... But compared to foreign bombs, these penis bombs were a damp squib." (Page 106-107)

* "(Ramakrishna) Paramahansa should have known that Ganga is the world's filthiest and dirtiest river. How many dead bodies float down this river every day? How many half-burnt dead bodies are dumped into it every day? And Hindus call it the holy river! In fact, all the rivers of India are dirty and polluted... Hindutvawadis pollute the rivers... and then depend on their false Gods to cleanse them..." (Page 122-123) 

* "(For Hindus) men can be Gods, women can be Goddesses... animals are gods, snakes are gods... they (Hindu Gods) fight among themselves, marry among themselves, throw out their wives, run away with others' wives, they steal, get intoxicated, drink blood, are reincarnated as animals, fish and tortoise, some of them can lift mountains... Some Gods are in same-sex relationships and are yet able to produce babies. These Gods and Goddesses are always armed because they believe in killing and plunder. Some Gods think their penises are more powerful than nuclear bombs. Others like animals live naked among their followers. Some of them spend their time in yogic exercises, others are in samadhi and happy to see the number of blind followers swell... You can wash away your sins by worshipping the penises of Gods" (Page 146)

* "How could Arya Hindus bring Aryanisation on this earth. To be Arya, one has to be born of an Arya womb... If Arya Hindus want to bring Aryanisation then they must lend or rent out all Arya wombs to non-Aryans. Non-Aryans should be given Brahmin women so that children are born from Brahmin womb" (Page 182-183). 

* "In modern India, many Ramas of this belief are living a carefree life. They marry several times, desert their wives, marry several times, and leave them. Many Ramas kill their Sitas. They are following their God Rama." (Page 269)

* "(Lord) Krishna had a despicable sex life... Shri Krishna is famous because of his love life. He had 16,008 wives. And all Yadav women were his illegitimate lovers. (Hindu) women are drawn towards him because of pornographic and vulgar tales of his sex life." (Page 391) 

This is not the first time that the Emmanuel mission has run foul of the local administration and upset Hindus. On February 24, 2005, there was a near riot situation following the mission's crude attempt to convert Hindus through allurement and false propaganda. On that occasion, the mission head, Mr MA Thomas, had promised not to continue with such provocative activities.

The agenda papers at the National Integration Council meeting held under the tutelage of the UPA Government had this to say about Emmanuel mission and similar evangelist outfits:

"Communal tensions due to alleged conversion/reconversions: 

In recent years, the issue of conversion/re-conversion has also become a major cause of communal tensions in some parts of the country. Allegations of forced conversions/ reconversions and subsequent communal tensions have surfaced from time to time. On many occasions even apprehensions, not founded on facts, on this account have given rise to communal tensions. Cases in point are the recent events on the occasion of the annual religious Assembly of the Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti at Kota, Rajasthan, in February 2005. The situation was controlled due to prompt measures taken by the District States of Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have already passed legislations to regulate conversions by coercive means or offering allurements."

And yet, there is outrage over action against the Thomases. Such perverse drivel, such horrendous hate, as exemplified by the contents of Haqeeqat, the operating manual of Emmanuel mission, of course, is of no consequence to those who have taken up cudgels on behalf of its peddlers masquerading as Good Samaritans and Christian evangelists. 

Instead, they are faxing letters to the White House, the US State Department, the United Nations, and Indian ambassadors to the US and the UN to paint the Government of Rajasthan in communal colours.

And, if Hopegivers Executive Director Michael Glenn is to be believed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appointed a four-member commission to inquire into the "persecution" of peddlers of anti-Hindu hate. If this is true, then a public statement is called for from the Prime Minister's Office. If it's untrue, then the least the PMO can do is issue a denial.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Nitish Kumar is welcome to smirk, but Narendra Modi wave is sweeping Bihar

Narendra Modi consoles the family of Rajnarian Singh, a victim of the October 27 serial bomb blasts at Gandhi Maidan, in Patna on Diwali eve. Photo courtesy PTI.
The fraudulent Left-liberal ‘idea of India’ now looks dangerously similar to the ‘idea of India’ of jihadis who were allowed to bomb Modi’s Patna rally

Let it be said, and said right away, that if the alleged Indian Mujahideen jihadis who planted more than 16 bombs in the stretch of Patna’s sprawling Gandhi Maidan where Narendra Modi addressed a mammoth public rally on October 27, are guilty of trying to trigger a stampede with catastrophic consequences, then Nitish Kumar is guilty of not preventing a situation that could have been used by assassins to target the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate. The consequences of even a failed attempt on Narendra Modi’s life would have been too horrendous even to imagine. It would be silly to suggest that the Chief Minister of Bihar is not sharp enough to have known both the consequences.

Yet Nitish Kumar not only failed to ensure adequate security measures for the ‘Hunkar Rally’ of which he had known for months, he also displayed amazing callous indifference after the bombings left six persons dead and at least a hundred people injured. Hours after the rally Nitish Kumar, while speaking to mediapersons, put on a little boy act, pretending great surprise that something so dastardly should have happened and refuting valid charges of lax, indeed absent, security measures at the venue. He also asserted, firmly and repeatedly, that his administration had not received any information from the Intelligence Bureau, alerting the police about a potential attempt to target Narendra Modi. In the event, both his ersatz condemnation of the jihadi strike and denial of an IB alert have been proved to be as hollow as his cynical politics of donning the ‘topi’ and the ‘tilak’ to fool Muslims and Hindus.

It is now established that the IB did send a letter to the police chiefs of various States, including Bihar’s Director-General of Police, on October 1, alerting them about the Indian Mujahideen’s plans to bomb cities. That alert may have been ‘non-specific’, but a subsequent message sent by IB on October 23 to Bihar’s Additional Director-General of Police who heads the Special Branch was as specific as any intelligence report can be. According to this message, Indian Mujahideen operatives were planning to attack Narendra Modi’s rally. Two messages, two alerts, yet Nitish Kumar says his administration had no information. We can only surmise that he is telling a lie — blatantly, brazenly.
What serves to underscore Nitish Kumar’s brazenness, his almost criminal callousness, is the subsequent silence he has maintained on this issue. We haven’t heard a pipsqueak from him on why his administration, which he counter-poses as the ‘Nitish Model’ to the ‘Modi Model’ of governance, failed to take preventive measures, why only a handful of constables were deployed to ostensibly ‘sanitise’ themaidan, why no senior police officer trained in standard security operations was on duty on the day of the rally, why there was no emergency evacuation plan in place even hours after the first bomb had exploded at Patna Railway Station. If we are to presume that the police kept him in the dark about the IB alert, we are yet to see him take disciplinary action against the errant police officers. If we are to believe that he is truly shaken by the turn of events, then it is grossly missing from his crass and fanciful attacks on Narendra Modi.

Hence we can only come to the conclusion that Nitish Kumar couldn’t care a toss whether the bombers succeeded in their evil mission to trigger low intensity blasts, create panic among the more than five lakh people who had gathered on Gandhi Maidan, and trigger multiple stampedes that would have left hundreds dead. He couldn’t care less if in the resultant chaos assassins would have found it easier to target Narendra Modi in a classic replay of similar assassinations in other places at other times. This was a copybook conspiracy that fortuitously failed —not for want of effort by the conspirators but due to possibly their incompetence or, as some would believe, the intervention of the hand of fate. Destiny has other plans for Narendra Modi, plans which understandably unsettle those who think they are destined to rule India, not the man who now rides the crest of a never-seen-before popularity wave. There is no reason to respect such individuals: They are undeserving of regard.
The intolerable cussedness if not complicity (that would be an exaggeration unless evidence emerges to the contrary; it may be entirely coincidental that he instructed his officers not to provide Narendra Modi with a custom-built bulletproof SUV and jammers to neutralise remote-controlled bombs) of Nitish Kumar is further heightened by the fumbling investigations by the National Investigation Agency. It is stunningly unbelievable that a potential key witness was allowed to escape from the NIA’s custody. It is equally unthinkable that the NIA should come up with the lamest of all excuses in defence of its appalling lapse in guarding Mehre Alam, who could have led the investigators to the hideouts of the conspirators, by saying that he could not have escaped from its custody as he had not been formally arrested. Which would raise the question: Why wasn’t he arrested? Does the answer lie in Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s recent instruction that has left jihadis feeling bolder?

We could also ask some discomfiting questions to the ‘topi-tilak’-wallah Chief Minister of Bihar whose smug smile reflects his confidence that he shan’t be called to account for his severe lapses, and that’s putting it mildly. We could, for instance, ask him as to why he told the Bihar Police not to arrest Yasin Bhatkal after IB sleuths picked him up at the India-Nepal border. The IB does not have the power to arrest and needed Bihar Police to take Bhatkal into custody before bringing him to Delhi. We could ask him why he has refused to allow intensive combing of certain districts, for example Darbhanga and Madhubani, where Indian Mujahideen cells are believed to be located. We could ask him why his party, the Janata Dal (United), found it expedient to declare Ishrat Jahan, a Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative, as “Bihar ki beti”. We could ask him what restrictions he enforced for Eid-ul-Juha this year, corresponding to the restrictions he imposed on community Durga Puja.

Sadly, these questions will not be asked because that would be deemed to be politically incorrect, an assault on the secularism practised by charlatans who occupy high office and, hence, an attack on the ‘idea of India’ about which fraudulent Left-liberals in the political establishment and the establishment media never tire preaching, an idea that increasingly looks not dissimilar to the ‘idea of India’ of jihadis, some of whom planted the bombs at Gandhi Maidan.

All, of course, is not lost. Or else Narendra Modi would not have been in Bihar on Saturday, visiting the homes of those who died in last weekend’s bombings, meeting their families, sharing their grief on the eve of Deepawali. While Nitish Kumar smirks, Narendra Modi has emerged the winner, winning hearts in Bihar and India.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Church and the Mahatma: How Gandhi was reviled by missionaries

Jomo Kenyatta had a sharp tongue and a sharper mind, both of which he used to devastating effect while lashing out at the 'civilising' West. The White man's fictional burden of taming the savage East and enlightening the 'Dark Continent' was no more than a convenient cover to hide his role as the master of the subjugated races.

Colonialism and Empire-building were inspired as much by a sense of racial superiority as driven by greed; it was a complex social, political and economic enterprise facilitated in no small measure by Christian missionaries who helped deracinate the indigenous people -- the 'heathens' -- and convert them into loyal subjects of an alien Emperor.

As in India, so in the African colonies were people uprooted from their ancient cultural moorings in preparation for their political suppression and economic deprivation. They were accorded the 'privilege' of embracing a strange faith and genuflecting at the altar of Christ in exchange of what they possessed and held dear till then: Their land, their language, their rites and rituals, and their religion. By the time the natives realised that all this was no more than a con job to disinherit them and enrich their foreign rulers, they had invariably lost most, if not all, of what once belonged to them.

Jomo Kenyatta, not given to niceties and asphyxiating political correctness, put it succinctly: "When the missionaries came, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, 'Let us pray'. We closed our eyes. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible!"

At a gathering of Christian missionaries a couple of years ago soon after the evangelist-provoked violence at Kandhamal in Odisha, I made bold to recall Jomo Kenyatta's famous comment which fetched a fusillade of denial and denunciation. I was accused of trying to divert attention from the depredations of 'rapacious' and 'murderous' Hindu mobs which have brought a 'bad name' to the land of Mahatma Gandhi, the "apostle of peace" as one of them described him. That's a Christian description, I protested, to which the response was: How else would you describe him? Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a crafty politician who made a fetish of non-violence; so call him a 'man of peace' if you must, but don't describe him as a follower of Jesus, as were the 12 apostles of Christ, which he definitely wasn't.

In any event, the Mahatma the Church now holds up to shame those who object to proselytisation and conversion through allurement and deceit, the harvesting of the souls of the poor and the vulnerable, was mercilessly denigrated and lampooned in his lifetime by Christian missionaries in keeping with their loyalty to the Empire. Charles Freer Andrews was an exception and his association with Gandhi did not exactly make him welcome in mission residences.

Many years ago, while researching the Goa Inquisition, I had chanced upon material about the attitude of Christian missionaries towards Gandhi. Those notes resurfaced while I was clearing out the accumulated, fraying papers in my study; they make for interesting reading, especially when Gandhi is being touted by Christian missionaries as an 'Apostle of Peace', one of their own, in an effort to silence their critics.
Yet, there was a time when missionaries loathed Gandhi and held him in contempt, and not all who did so were of foreign origin.

For Christian missionaries, Gandhi was an "extraordinary casuist"... Unless stopped, his views would become a "dangerous phenomenon of present day politics in India"... His teachings can lead to "chaos and anarchy only"... His politics will lead to "mischievous consequences". 

These words have been taken from history. From cold print. From journals published by Christian missionaries. Journals that still exist as evidence of missionaries willingly allowing themselves to be used as instruments of British rule in India. And the target of their ire is Mahatma Gandhi, whom the Church now describes as an "apostle of peace" because it suits its social, political and cultural agenda.

Gandhi's arrival on the scene had greatly charged the nationalist movement and expanded the spread and scope of the struggle against British colonial rule. Gandhi's philosophy of peaceful resistance to colonial rule had found expression in the non-cooperation agitation. This in turn set alarm bells ringing - the colonial establishment, including the Church, was quick to realise Gandhi's potential. It retaliated in full force, using its arsenal, including missionaries and their publications.

In September 1919, the Christian Missionary Review fired the first salvo. A year later, the Christian Missionary Review dropped all niceties and described Gandhi as an "extraordinary casuist", an "unscrupulous and irresponsible demagogue" responsible for the disturbances in Punjab the previous year. Urging India's colonial masters to "adequately" deal with Gandhi's "egotistical mysticism," the Christian Missionary Review said that unless putdown, Gandhi and his nationalism would emerge as "one of the dangerous phenomena of present day politics in India."

In fact, the murderous attitude of the British in Punjab and the terrible fallout of the Rowlatt Act, found ample support among the missionaries. Bishop Henry Whitehead not only supported the Act but went on to denigrate the nationalist agitation against the Act as a "striking illustration of the incapacity of a large section of Indian politicians to face facts and realities, or to understand the first principles of civilised government." We all know of the action of the "civilised Government" so ardently backed by the missionaries - the massacre at Jallianwala Bag.

Indeed, Ms Marcella Sherwood, speaking on behalf of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society and Rev Canon Guildford, speaking on behalf of the Church Missionary Society, lauded Gen Dyer's brutality, saying it was "justified by its results". The Christian Missionary Review, describing Gen Dyer as a "brave man", said, absurdly though, that his action was "the only means of saving life".Another missonary publication, rather disingenuously named The Young Men of India, heaped praise on Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Lt Governor of Punjab during those terrible days of bloodshed and brutality by a ruthless colonial administration, saying that he was "the strongest and best ruler the country has had in modern times." The Harvest Field, also a missionary journal, was quick to point out that during the nationalist uprising against the Rowlatt Act, Indian Christians were not found "wanting in loyalty to the (British) Government." The International Review of Missions was clear in its pronouncement that the means and methods adopted by the British to put down the uprising in Punjab were neither un-Christian nor a blot on British rule.

It is important that we understand the import of the missionaries' view of the nationalist uprising against the Rowlatt Act, their justification of the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, their unrestrained praise for Gen Dyer. Those who saw nothing wrong with drenching the ground of Jallianwala Bagh with the blood of Indian nationalists, those who saw nothing "un-Christian" about the bloodshed, those who found "loyalty to the British" in the cowardice of Indian Christians, could not but have derided Gandhi and his non-violence.

For, Gandhi's unique contribution to India's freedom movement, as also to freedom struggles in oppressed nations across the world, Satyagraha, was considered "un-Christian" by a majority of Protestant missionaries. The Christian Missionary Review describing Gandhi's agenda as dangerous, predicted that it would lead to violence, chaos and anarchy.

This view was seconded by The Young Men of India. Commenting on Gandhi's freedom campaign fashioned around the philosophy of Satyagraha, in March 1920, The Young Men of India wrote: "Though Mr Gandhi may have satisfied his conscience as to its morality, to plain common sense it means playing with fire, with the certainty that if used with masses of Indian people, the fire will become a conflagration?" . The Harvest Field, yet another missionary journal, in its May 1921 issue, put on record its belief that "Mr Gandhi's teachings" would result in "chaos and anarchy only." Gandhi, it said, had brought a "sword to his beloved land." "We have no animus against the man," said the Madras Christian College Magazine in October, 1921 -- the best way to rubbish a person, to inflict the most grievous wound, is to preface the attack with "we have nothing against the man" -- "but we have always regarded the doctrines he has been preaching and the policy he has advocated as pernicious." The Magazine, of course, had a pious purpose behind its attack: to save India from the mischievous consequences that must follow from their (Gandhi's doctrines) adoption." Such concern! Such piety!

But that was not all. The Madras Christian College Magazine went on to offer a homily. All those who want "peace and sobriety of life and progress," it urged, should reject the "sophistry of non-violence". Let us recall these words when the current president of the Congress today pays tribute to Gandhi as an apostle of non-violence.

By 1922, the Madras Christian College Magazine had dropped all pretensions. It declared that there was nothing "positive or constructive" about Gandhi's programme of Satyagraha and that his role till then had been "negative throughout". Gandhi, the Madras Christian College Magazine added with a sweeping flourish, was "an anarchist at heart? prone to mental confusion."

In her book, The Attitude of British Protestant Missionaries Towards Nationalism in India, Elizabeth Susan Alexander, offers an explanation for such vile diatribe against Gandhi as articulated by the missionary publications: "British officials came to accept missionaries as partners in the 'noble' task of shouldering the 'white man's burden.' British officials defended their support of Christian missionaries as being in the interest of their rule, for missionaries were used as instruments of their policies of reform? Missionary activities were seen to have lucrative results for British commercial interests."

Lucrative results now accrue to the Christian West which funds missionaries and evangelists.