The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. -- Sri Aurobindo (from the message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947)

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sri Aurobindo is the central figure the West has to adopt from the East


Sri Aurobindo, one of the brightest minds that ever existed, a poet, polymath, revolutionary turned sage, and author of some of the most profound books ever written, is for me the central figure of modern India - not Gandhi. And he is for me also the central figure the West has to adopt from the East... Sri Aurobindo on Reason versus Experience LILA RAJIVA: The Mind-Body Politic July 29, 2009

The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media by Lila Rajiva Publisher: Monthly Review Press (November 1, 2005)

"Lila Rajiva has written a citizen's report on the scandal of Abu Ghraib. With the eye of a forensic scientist, she assembles material from the media and reframes it in such a compelling way that I am led to conclude that we, in the U.S., have lost our moral compass. Our government knew the extent of the damage and yet, aided by the media, managed to disguise its culpability. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to see America become what it has not yet been." —VIJAY PRASHAD, author of The Karma of Brown Folk and Darker Nations: The Rise and Fall of the Third World

Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics (Agora Series) by William Bonner , Lila Rajiva Publisher: Wiley (August 31, 2007)
August 31, 2007 By Sivakumar Nadarajah "Author of America Misund... - See all my reviews

"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics" is a welcome addition to this ever interesting topic of "follow the crowd" syndrome. What makes this book click is the witty presentation and the practical approach of the authors. Bonner and Rajiva have done a fantastic job of presenting the nuances of "public spectacle' in a manner that is light-hearted as well as thought provoking. They have done a truly amazing job of striking at the center of conventional wisdom to explain why swimming against the current pays rather than following the crowd.

Their best advice: "When the higher math and the greater greed come together, watch out below!" Go read this book. It's funny, brilliant, thought provoking and often offensive, too!! N. Sivakumar Author of: America Misunderstood: What a Second Bush Victory Meant to the Rest of the World Comments (4) Permalink

Lila Rajiva is the author of two books on mass psychology, The Language of Empire (Monthly Review Press, 2005) and Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets (with Bill Bonner, Wiley, 2007). She is an activist, commentator and blogger.

Is globalization the same as the ideal of human unity?

Re: The Violence of the Global by Jean Baudrillard Debashish Tue 28 Jul 2009 07:22 AM PDT

The individual within the capitalistic state has more choice but the choices and even the access to choices are determined by mechanisms at the service of the engines of capital accumulation. In the socialist states, the state becomes the producer of surplus and the accumulator of capital and the individual is inducted into the assembly lines of mediocirty and a state-determined common life. Both these are also driven by the necessity to sell their surplus and they can only do this by the mass production of desire and coercive mechanisms of consumption. This system has now turned into a world-machine in which all populations are inducted. The have-nots of the underdeveloped world (the African of your example) are impoverished because they are the sites of material and human resource exploitation, but they are no less part of the global system, not merely in terms of objective realties but also subject formation. Individuals and states are determined through the internalized conscience and desire to become global players.

At an earlier phase of the Modern, this is how the village became impoverished by the creation of desire in the city life - the glitter of the modern lifestyle. Today these networks are hardly even questionable. The only challenges are coming from irrational "singularities" which have themselves become global in their definition, scope and their vital tie-ins to the global underworld.

Why do you think the teaching of Sri Aurobindo has been around for so long but hardly gets into the hands of any college graduate or professor? It doesn't suit the forces of desire circulation. This is why it is such a wonder that a work such as Peter's biography could slip through the cracks and enter the mainstream academic circuits of circulation. And immediately a new irrational singularity develops to prevent it from circulating!

Re: The Violence of the Global and the aims of Integral Yoga Debashish Tue 28 Jul 2009 06:05 PM PDT More pertinently though, the people who take this stand are usually the ones who believe that globalization is the same as the ideal of human unity...

Globalization kneads world humanity into a semblance of unity - but this is the unity of determined proceses, of lowest common conditioning. It claims absolute adherence from each individual in the name of liberty, and sticks the pretense of a name tag and a smiley on each shirt front while injecting with the lethal drug of comfortable anonymity. When such persons then stumble across the writings of Sri Aurobindo, they take themselves to be the paragons of integral yoga, happily riding the inevitable boat of human unity towards the supramental. Or else, they run with sticks and stones after anyone who lifts the finger of critique, displaying the fragmented irrationality which underlies the rhetoric of the global, where Sri Aurobindo is just another appropriation of brutal messianic cults. DB Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Attempt of the State to mediate in a religious conflict is stupid

Indian secularism - Place of religion in human life - The Statesman S K Chaube 21 January 1997

If knowledge is power, ignorance is a sure way to slavery - of the body and the mind. One sure way to ignorance is belief in myths. In the great debate on secularism in India a number of cultivated myths abound even among well intentioned people bearing no malice against other communities. "Indian society is secular", "Hindu society is secular", "The Indian Constitution is secular" and "The Indian State is secular" are some of them.

The myths are raised to a theoretical plane by asserting that "Our secularism is different from secularism in the West". From this absurdity one moves to the confusing array of "our definitions" of secularism and exchange of abuses like communalism and pseudo-secularism.

MYTH
This myth-making started in the Constituent Assembly. K. T. Shah, a radical Congressman, moved an amendment to the draft Constitution seeking to declare India to be a "secular, socialist" sovereign, democratic republic. It was turned down on two different grounds. On the question of socialism it was held that a Constitution is a political document and need not reflect any social philosophy. On the question of secularism it was asserted that the Indian Constitution embodied secularism as Indian - Hindu - society is essentially secular. This illusion ran through social scientific literature as well as several judgements of the top courts of this country ending up with the judgement that Hindutva is compatible with secularism.

Social science is also a science or, at least, an aspiring one. The minimum requirement for attaining the status of a science is an agreement on the terms that are used. Otherwise, if people mean different things by the same word, their words are bound to lose precision. Social science is not poetry that thrives on mystery and obscurity. One simple way to attain descriptive precision is through the fundamental principle of philology - meanings being derived from roots.

Secularism is a word derived from the word secular which means this worldly, mundane, profane. As such it is contrasted with "sacred". Secularism means attachment to this wordliness. The distinction is ancient - going back to the Roman period. In the Middle Age, the parish courts, controlled by the church, tried ordinary civil cases of the villagers while serious offences were tried by "secular courts" controlled by the King. The demand of the Protestants was that the church should not dabble in secular affairs that were governed by the State. The bloody civil strife between the Protestants and the Catholics in Europe led to a further prescription that the State should keep away from secularian conflicts in the domain of the sacred. The English monarchy went to the extent of establishing its own Church of England. The first amendment of the Constitution of the USA prohibited the U.S. Congress to make law on religious establishments. This meant that government funds could not be spent on any religious cause.

Secularism is thus a political doctrine and not a social one. It cannot be counterposed against communalism as communalism is a social doctrine. It is not true that a communally tolerant population is automatically secular.

INTOLERANCE
On the other hand, in a society where communal intolerance is high, there is a strong case for having a secular State as the State, in order to preserve its moral authority, must wash its hands of sectarian conflicts. It should not be partisan. If, on the other hand, the State is seen to be taking side in a sectarian conflict, there is a civil war, as in the cases of many countries in medieval Europe. Secularism is a cultural laissez faire.

The opposite view - the cultural welfarism patronizing all religions equally - is dangerous. For no State can fully satisfy all the contending communities. The serve dharma samabhava philosophy that allows the Government to build temples or repair mosques and churches, arrange religious festivals or pilgrimages will inevitably give scope to complaints of unequal treatment.

The crucial question is not whether Indian society is essentially secular because the majority community in India - the Hindu - is secular. For a society is made up of the entire web of human relationship, including the religious. No society can be secular for every society contains religions. In fact, except the perfect atheist, no individual is secular for there always is a place of religion in human life. But there is a secular domain of human fife, just as there is a sacred domain. This applies to social life too. A secular State is one which confines itself to the secular domain of society.

DECISION
This distinction is clearly made in Article 25 of the Constitution which authorizes the State to regulate "economic, political or other secular activities associated with religious practice". And yet, having made such a clear distinction between the sacred and the secular, if the fathers of the Indian Constitution rejected the proposal for declaring India a secular State, they must have made a conscious decision.

According to Article 27 the State shall not impose any tax for the benefit of a particular religion. There is, however, nothing in the Constitution that prevents the State from spending money for the benefit of a religion. On the other hand, according to Article 290A, sums of money are charged on the consolidated funds of the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu for payments to the Devaswom Funds for the benefit of the Hindu religious Institutions.

Funding is the major means of patronage and contributions to religious establishment are the major irritants with sustained effect. Allegations of State partisanship are occasionally heard in case of communal riots. The Babari Masjid demolition has been cited as an instance of State connivance at violation of the religious rights of a community. Such allegations are not easily amenable to verification. But an attempt of the State to mediate in a religious conflict is either stupid or motivated by ulterior considerations. HVK Archives: Indian secularism - Place of religion in human life

Indian Democracy at the Turn of Century edited by S.K. Chaube and Susheela Kaushik. 1999, xii, 299 p., tables, ISBN 81-7391-312-9.
Contents: Preface. 1. In defence of parliamentary democracy: a case study of India/Subrata Mukherjee. 2. India's republican democracy/S.K. Chaube. 3. Elections and Indian political process/Susheela Kaushik. 4. Regional aspirations and national cohesion: federal coalitions in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections/Balveer Arora. 5. Twelfth Lok Sabha elections (1998) and coalition making/Susheela Kaushik. 6. Ideology and politics in India: (The Lok Sabha elections: 1996 and 1998)/S.K. Chaube. 7. Voting behaviour of the southern electorate in India (1952-1998)/Noorjahan Bava. 8. New political trends in U.P.: Lok Sabha elections 1998/Sudha Pai. 9. The Lok Sabha elections in North-East India: 1996 and 1998/S.K. Chaube. 10. Electoral outcome in Punjab: identity consolidation or pragmatism/A.S. Narang. 11. The 1998 elections in West Bengal: the dwindling of the left front?/Bidyut Chakrabarty. 12. Electoral and party politics and determinants of voting behaviour in India: an essay in interpretation and reforms/M.P. Singh. 13. 1998 Lok Sabha elections: BJP forges ahead in the national capital territory of Delhi/Geeta Puri. 14. Politics in Tamilnadu: rise and fall of the Giant/Susheela Kaushik and N.S. Sankara Raman. 15. 1998 elections in Bihar: a socio-historical analysis/Subrata Mukherjee & Chandrachur Singh. 16. Electoral violence during 12th Lok Sabha elections in India/Abhay Kumar. 17. Political empowerment of women and recent elections/Susheela Kaushik. 18. Police and criminal justice system in India: some ethical concerns/R.B. Jain. 19. India's foreign policy in an era of change/Shanta Nedungadi Varma. Index.
"This volume carries contributions of distinguished political scientists who take stock of the Indian political process over the five decades since independence. It deals with the controversies over the constitutional and legal institutional system, the ideological scenario, the public policies, the political parties, the electoral process, regional politics, coalition government formation, foreign policy issues and violence. It, thereby poses the issues before India as it enters the next millennium. The authors bring their considerable expertise into their fields, reflect on the political realities and contemplate into the future possibilities." (jacket)

[S.K. Chaube is Professor of Indian Politics in the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. His books include Constituent Assembly of India: Springboard of Revolution and Electoral Politics in North-East India.]

The most effective restraint on mankind's inherently evil tendencies is faith in God

Just How Many People Has Religion Killed? Kirk Durston, National Director, New Scholars Society

A popular urban legend that I've often heard is that religion has killed more people than anything else, so the world would be a lot more peaceful place were it not for religion. The top three largest examples are thought to be the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition, and the burning of witches. Scholars estimate that the Crusades of the middle ages cost from 58,000 to 133,000 lives. The most realistic figure for the Spanish Inquisition puts the total killed from AD 1480 to AD1808 at up to 31,912. Finally, records indicate that the number of witches killed may be over 30,000. Some argue that records don't tell everything and suggest that maybe even 100,000 were killed.

These three events, totaling over 264,000 killed, are thought to be the largest atrocities perpetrated by one or another form of Christendom. As we shall shortly see, however, they pale into insignificance in comparison to the consequences of atheism. There are two points to make by way of response. The first point can be made by asking the question, "Are these activities consistent with what Jesus taught?" Most people with even an elementary knowledge of Christ will admit that such killing is inconsistent with His teachings. People often try to justify their hatred, actions, and even killing by appealing to whatever is held in high regard by the population. It follows that if Christianity is or was held in high regard by populations, that certain people with the power to carry out atrocities would attempt to justify them in the name of Christianity. It is a simple-minded person indeed who reasons, "Joe claims he is a Christian--Joe committed an atrocity in the name of Christianity--therefore Christianity promotes atrocities."

The Bible states that the person who says he loves God, but hates his brother, is a liar. There are many people through history that have done horrible things in the name of Christianity, but Jesus' words, "you will know them by their fruit" tell the real story regarding their love for God and whether they follow the commands of Jesus Christ.

The second point to make is that, yes, people who claim to love God do kill, but nowhere near to the extent that the lack of religion does. According to University of Hawaii political scientist Rudolph J. Rummel,1 the total number killed in all of human history is estimated to be about 284,638,000. Of that number, 151,491,000 were killed during the past 100 years. The single largest killer in all of human history is, by far, atheistic Communism with a total of 110,000,000 … over 1/3 of all people ever killed! If we add to that number just two other regimes where religion of any sort was strongly discouraged, Nazi Germany and Nationalist China, the number rises to 141,160,000.

Almost 50% of all the killings in human history were committed in the past 100 years by regimes that either actively promoted atheism or strongly discouraged religion. We have not considered the over one billion abortions, where Christianity seems to be particularly unwelcome. When the murders of history are tallied up, it is very clear that atheism is the most dangerous philosophy ever embraced by humanity. The most effective restraint on mankind's inherently evil tendencies is faith in God through Jesus Christ, a faith that actually follows the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ as a daily way of life. 1 http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM (all stats have come from this site)

Perception of rising global violence has no basis in reality

TOP ARTICLE It's Only Getting Better-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India Vikram Sinha 7 March 2009

With the sharp decline of interstate conflicts since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been thought to be a concurrent rise of a more insidious threat. Starting with Afghanistan's civil war and the break-up of the erstwhile Yugoslavia, analysts and the media have perpetuated the idea of ethno-religious conflict and its offshoots as the new scourge of global order. Much has been made of the intra-state conflicts that have seemed to dominate the international arena since, with the Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia all providing adequate fodder to bolster this world view. Not surprisingly, it has gained a fair amount of currency. This model of conflict is, after all, the oldest transnational threat in existence today.

But now consider the truth. Between 1991 and 2001, 43 conflicts revolving around self-determination were contained or stopped while only 28 started or restarted. The number of armed secessionist conflicts in 2004 was the lowest since 1976 and the number of genocides globally fell by 80 per cent between 1988 and 2001. The paucity of reliable data means that it is more difficult to gain an exact picture of matters as they stand today, but extrapolation is not difficult. Iraq and the Afghanistan/Pakistan morass are the only new major conflicts to have flared up in the intervening years. The general trend is one of increasing human security and peace. And the pity is that this has gone largely unnoticed. The old paradigm of proxy conflict fuelled by superpower rivalry has given way to the rhetoric of internationalism with peacemaking and conflict resolution as its currency. Not even George W Bush could alter this in any fundamental way as the global response to his successor has shown.

Yet, myths abound. Grave-faced talking heads periodically conclude that civilised society is teetering on the brink of an extremism-fuelled conflagration, that wars are getting deadlier and genocide is rife. International organisations, NGOs and governments reiterate it, either due to a lack of data or because of their political agendas. And the public accepts it because it dovetails neatly with common assumptions, and then reinforces them.

The fundamental shift for the better in the international order goes beyond the old definition of human security as an absence of conflict. The UN has increasingly defined the concept in a positive sense, looking at enabling factors. And economic trends reflect the improvement here as well. Caveats about increasing income inequality aside the issue at stake is human well-being which may not always be concurrent with wealth the decrease in conflict and the growth of the globalisation process mean that the average person today is exponentially better off than he was a few decades ago. Infant mortality rates, child labour and malnutrition have all shown an uninterrupted decline since the middle of the 20th century while life expectancy and education levels have been on the rise. And eventually, these tie into secondary indicators like the rule of law and political freedom that govern conflict trends.

Neither is there cause for pessimism if one looks to the future. The peace that has existed between the major powers since the end of the Second World War is the longest uninterrupted stretch in several centuries. This is not likely to change. For all the crystal-gazing about a clash between the champion of the old world order, the US, and the emerging power, China, few analysts lend much credence to the possibility of open conflict. Once seen merely as an adjunct to the democratic peace paradigm, the economic interdependence theory is coming into its own. The incremental rapprochement between China and Taiwan bears testament to this as, in a perverse way, does the global financial crisis.

From the religious wars of Europe to colonial exploitation; from the games of power triggered by the Treaty of Westphalia to their inevitable culmination in the World Wars; from independence to partition and through the horrors of 1969, 1984, 1993 and 2002, global and Indian society have charted a bloody course. But it has been one that would have disappointed Clausewitz, increasingly moving away from conflict as a legitimate means of policy and political expression. Problems remain. Terrorism, that South Asian bugbear, is enjoying a resurgence of sorts. But it is difficult to believe that the trends of six decades and more can be reversed when, at last, we are moving towards a global consensus on the issue. Perhaps it is time to consider the possibility that we might not, after all, be locked in a circle of violence.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will India have the capacity to create forms of alternative universality?

A year for nimble thinking
Indian Express Pratap Bhanu Mehta Thursday , Jan 01, 2009

It is customary for New Year surveys to make predictions. But if 2008 taught us anything it was the need for a little epistemic humbling. On the one hand it was a year that, at one level, reinforced clarity over why democracy, with all its imperfections, is such a great thing. Tocqueville once argued that what made democracy great was that it allowed one to make “retrievable mistakes”, there was no dead-end finality to its determinations.

In the United States, it showed how new beginnings are still possible. In India, it consistently provided a sobering antidote to the grandstanding of the presumptuous. While the Indian democratic experiment has struggled in Jammu and Kashmir, the end of 2008 provided the opportunity of yet another beginning. If there is one thing we can be confident of, it is this: democracy will not be subverted by the people; but the people will have to be constantly watchful of those who claim to represent them.

If 2008 reinforced faith in democracy, it seriously undermined the authority of expertise, at least about social phenomena. For all our claims about mastery over the world, our knowledge and capacity to predict the social world remains fragile and is often undercut by the vagaries of human nature. The authority claims of so many institutions that produce knowledge on which people base their decisions — investment banks, rating agencies, regulators, academic departments — came tumbling down, raising serious questions about how norms and assumptions get entrenched in powerful institutions.

What was extraordinary was that even facts turned out not to be facts, and recreating reliable knowledge systems in the new year will not be easy. It was difficult not to be reminded of the fantastic comparison one of our greatest medievalists, Anthony Grafton, once made between the role of astrologers and economists. He wrote,

“at the most abstract level, astrologers ancient and early modern carried out the tasks that twentieth-century society assigns to the economist. Like the economist, the astrologer tried to bring the chaotic phenomena of everyday life into order by fitting them to sharply defined quantitative models. Like the economist, the astrologer insisted, when teaching or writing for professional peers, that astrology had only a limited ability to predict the future. Like the economist, the astrologer generally found that the events did not match the prediction; and like the economist, the astrologer normally received as a reward for the confirmation of the powers of his art a better job and higher salary.”

He also reminded us that medievalists saw astrology as empirical science: hundreds of thousands of horoscopes were collected to determine correlations, and these were revised in the light of new data. There was a huge gap between what the models constructed allowed on their own terms, and what got disseminated. After all, in astrology as in economics, it was the “other things being equal” clause that mattered most. 2008 reminded us, how other things are not always equal. It is a disquieting thought, but also one that opens up new possibilities for the new year.

2009 will be determined less by the authority of predictions, more by the quality of our thinking. But genuine thinking cannot be outsourced. Just this lesson was the central message of a text whose centenary falls this year: Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj. This slim text, written in 1909, will probably not be understood in this new millennium. In many respects it is a flawed text. But the central aspirations it set out for humanity remain a permanent rebuke to our pretensions. It is still not difficult to marvel at, and be humbled by, the intellectual agenda this slim book set. Our failing was not rejecting his answers. It was avoiding his questions.

  • What would a political system committed to the pacification of violence look like?
  • What is the relation between material sophistication and self-knowledge?
  • What would make democracy more than a talking shop?
  • How do we reconcile individuality, an insistence on the authority of our own experience, with social intercourse?
  • In what roles do owners of wealth see themselves: overlords or trustees?
  • What is the meaning of Swaraj?
  • Will India have the capacity to create forms of alternative universality, or will it remain mired in collective narcissism?

These are old but unavoidable questions. Gandhi, more than anyone else, would have insisted that in these uncharted waters, we do our own thinking, mindful as he put it. “Our besetting sin is not our differences, it is our littleness.” The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi express@expressindia.com

Anti-defection law has crippled the ability of our MPs

46-day report card 24 Dec 2008 Indian Express C.V. Madhukar: Wednesday, Dec 24, 2008 The executive rules. And Parliament seems to be unable to do anything about it. Whatever happened to the delicate balance of power that is supposed to exist between the executive and the legislature?

In India, Parliament can be convened when the executive wishes to do so, and our MPs can do almost nothing about it. At the fag end of December amid the winter chill in Delhi, we are still witnessing the monsoon session of Parliament, which is usually held between the end of July and the end of August each year. In the ’50s, we started off with about 130 days a year of sittings on average. We have hit a record low this year — with just 46 days of sittings, which is lower than even election years in the entire history of the Indian Parliament. This is despite a decision in a whips conference in 2005, when it was decided that the Parliament should meet for at least 100 days in a calendar year.

The Parliament is weaker today as an institution in many more ways, and our MPs are a disenfranchised lot. They have no individualised research staff to back them up, they have no individual office spaces in Delhi to do their work or hold formal meetings. They have no way of getting independent estimates on whether the expenditure mentioned in a bill for implementation of its provisions is accurate. And the anti-defection law has crippled the ability of our MPs to represent their constituents’ interests in the Parliament. No MP can vote against a party whip irrespective of his conviction about the provisions of a certain bill, lest he lose his seat in the Parliament. The anti-defection law reduces the MP to a head count that will determine whether a motion in Parliament is carried or not.

The executive can push through almost any piece of legislation, sometimes by circumventing the normal institutional procedures laid down by Parliament, except perhaps when coalition partners are opposed to it. There are a number of instances over the past couple of years in which bills have been passed without following the full procedure for scrutiny and deliberation as laid down by Parliament. But here is the most recent and glaring example: The South Asian University Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Friday, and on Monday it was passed in the Upper House with absolutely no debate. Is there some unknown national crisis for this bill to be passed in such great hurry with no scrutiny or deliberation whatsoever?

Our MPs know fully well that any bill they initiate will not be passed in Parliament. After 1970, there has not been a single private member bill, introduced by an MP who is not a minister which was actually passed. There is a notion that if the Parliament passes a bill that has been introduced by a private member, then it is somehow a comment on the government. So, when an MP brings in legislation which is seen as necessary, the government takes up the issue and brings it in as a government bill. This takes away even the small incentive for an MP to propose new legislation, because there is no obvious recognition of his contribution to the process. This is one more way the Parliament has ceded space to the executive.

Contrast this with the British system, which is often invoked when we talk of parliamentary procedure. The parliament in the United Kingdom meets for an average of over 200 days a year. The calendar of sittings is not decided on the whim or political expediency of the ruling party, but is decided once a year for the whole year. Voting across party lines on bills does not lead to disqualification of the MP from the parliament. The British parliament keeps a record of how MPs voted on issues, rather than the medieval system of voice votes that we follow in India.

Referring to our Parliament at a recent conference, a senior MP said that we are “witnessing the extended last rites of an institution.” For the institution to regain its place as envisioned in our Constitution there is a need for real leadership to take charge. This is a time for major revamping to undo the damage to the institution that has weakened it over the years. Resorting to minor tinkering with the system, if at all, will only lead to further weakening of an institution that is expected to keep up the faith and hopes of a billion people across the nation. The writer is director of PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi express@expressindia.com

PRS Legislative Research seeks to strengthen the legislative process by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory.
PRS Objectives * To provide objective, non-partisan, timely and easy-to-use analysis on upcoming legislative issues. * To facilitate interaction of experts with those who seek a deeper understanding of legislative issues. * To inform the larger public of the legislative issues being debated in Parliament and devise platforms for their opinions to be expressed. PRS Legislative Research (PRS) was founded in 2005 as an independent research initiative. PRS works with Members of Parliament (MPs) across party lines to provide research support on legislative and policy issues. Our aim is to complement the base of knowledge and expertise that already exists in government, citizens groups, businesses, and other research institutions.
Media Contact: Tonusree Basu tonusree@prsindia.org Chakshu Rai chakshu@prsindia.org PRS Legislative Research Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri New Delhi 110021 INDIA Phone: +91 (0)11 24106720, 26115273-76 Email: prsindia@prsindia.org

Archived Articles by PRS Team May, 2009
Cheques and bank balances M R Madhavan, Financial Express, May 30, 2009
One, two, three, Budget Avinash Celestine, Indian Express, Feb 23, 2008
Is this why we sent them to Parliament? C V Madhukar, Indian Express, Mar 15, 2008
Different Value for different votes M R Madhavan, Indian Express, Mar 29, 2008
Security net for us and them M R Madhavan, Indian Express, May 01, 2008
The young and questioning M R Madhavan, Indian Express, May 07, 2008
All bills old and older M R Madhavan, Indian Express, May 24, 2008
Where the women are C V Madhukar & Kaushiki Sanyal, Indian Express, Jun 26, 2008
Rules of Confidence M R Madhavan, Indian Express, Jul 12, 2008
Has Indian coalition politics gone bankrupt? C V Madhukar, Economic Times, Jul 22, 2008
Images that Stick C V Madhukar, Indian Express, Jul 28, 2008
Reforming land acquisition M R Madhavan, Pragati, Sep 02, 2008
The who, when, why and how M R Madhavan, Indian Express, Sep 12, 2008
Marauders and acquisitions M R Madhavan, Indian Express, Oct 23, 2008
Bringing down the House C V Madhukar, Hindustan Times, Oct 24, 2008
Stalled Parliament eroding democracy? C V Madhukar, Economic Times, Oct 31, 2008
When in doubt, legislate M R Madhavan, Indian Express, Dec 18, 2008
46-day report card C V Madhukar, Indian Express, Dec 24, 2008
We are postponing the diagnosis of a disease C V Madhukar, Live Mint, March 02, 2009
Clear The Table M R Madhavan, Financial Express, May 24, 2009
What should you expect from your chosen MP? C V Madhukar, Times of India, April 21, 2009
BALLOT BALLET: ElectioNOMICS M R Madhavan, Financial Express, April 26, 2009

GandhiTopia: information pool to benefit the global Gandhian and peace-loving community

Welcome to GandhiTopia! Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum
Welcome to GandhiTopia - the meeting point for Gandhian students, scholars, activists and institutions on the web!
This platform provides news, views, media, events and research on Mahatma Gandhi, Peace and Nonviolence. It is your forum. Here you can share information, questions and material, and connect with the Gandhian web community. No matter whether you're an activist, student, academic or media person, on GandhiTopia you find what you're looking for.
Together we can create a unique information pool to benefit the global Gandhian and peace-loving community. Let's join hands to bring Mahatma Gandhi to life and work for a Gandhian utopia: a world of Peace and Nonviolence! May Peace Prevail on Earth! Peter Rühe Creator and administrator, GandhiTopia - www.gandhitopia.org Founder and chairperson, GandhiServe Foundation - www.gandhiserve.org Email: mail@gandhitopia.org Skype: GandhiServe - Get Skype and call me for free.
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"Perhaps never before has there been so much speculation about the future as there is today. Will our world always be one of violence? Will there always be poverty, starvation, misery? Will we have a firmer and wide belief in religion, or will the world be godless? If there is to be a great change in society, how will that change be wrought? By war, or revolution? Or will it come peacefully?Different men give different answers to these questions, each man drawing the plan of tomorrow's world as he hopes and wishes it to be. I answer not only out of belief but out of conviction. The world of tomorrow will be, must be, a society based on non-violence. That is the first law; out of it all other blessings will flow. It may seem a distant goal, an impractical Utopia. But it is not in the least unobtainable, since it can be worked for here and now. An individual can adopt the way of life of the future - the non-violent way - without having to wait for others to do so. And if an individual can do it, cannot whole groups of individuals? Whole nations? Men often hesitate to make a beginning because they feel that the objective cannot be achieved in its entirety. This attitude of mind is precisely our greatest obstacle to progress - an obstacle that each man, if he only will it, can clear away." Mahatma Gandhi, 1946
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DR. BISWAJIT RAY, THE LEADER OF ANTI-POSCO MOVEMENT IS ARRESTED
As you are aware of that the anti-POSCO movement is continuing in the proposed steel plant area of POSCO in three Panchayats in Jagatsinghpur District (Orissa) since 2005. Local people are drawn in with strong commitment in this struggle. Consequ...
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Morgana Washington and Nagaraj Poduval are now friends. News, events, media and research on Mahatma Gandhi, Peace and Nonviolence. Launch: 12 Jan 2009 - Members: 504 Contact email: mail@gandhitopia.org

Hind Swaraj does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate forms of violence

Gandhi's new assassins
Tridip Suhrud Tags : Hind Swaraj Indian Express: Saturday, Feb 14, 2009
Texts, like individuals, have biographies. One of the most curious biographies of texts in recent times has been that of MK Gandhi’s 1909 tract Hind Swaraj. It was proscribed in India by the British soon after its publication in South Africa. The Gujarati interpreter who read the text and filed the report was baffled by the strangeness of the text. The book he said did not advocate revolt or use of physical force against the British and it was for this reason the book was dangerous and had to be banned. Since that first official reader the Hind Swaraj has continued to invite misreading. Many continue to hold the mistaken and exaggerated belief that it was written as a direct response to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a man who would eventually be charged for the conspiracy to kill Gandhi. Savarkar dismissed the text as archaic. Nehru confessed to having only a “vague picture” of it. Not surprisingly it was only the Theosophists who took the text seriously and brought out a special issue of the Aryan Path. It lay as a forgotten text for almost five decades till it was re-discovered as an anti-colonial manifesto, as a curious challenge to modernity, as a harbinger of the environmental movements. This year we celebrate the centenary of Hind Swaraj amidst the gloom of global economic crises.
In a curious transposition the recently concluded BJP meet in Nagpur celebrated the message of Hind Swaraj, as a Swadeshi manifesto. This attempt by the BJP to claim Hind Swaraj and through that Gandhi for itself is a result of at least two kinds of misreadings of the man and the text. First, it arises from a belief that a man that was killed 61 years ago by the men and ideologies that BJP continues to revere is available for selective appropriation. The fundamental reason for Gandhi’s assassination was the challenge that he posed to the “Sanatan Hinduism”, while claiming to be a “Sanatani” himself. The other reason was that Gandhi seemed to be an obstacle in creation of India as a hard, modern, nation-state. The BJP recognises that Gandhi and Ambedkar (not Gandhi vs. Ambedkar) continue to be the most powerful challenge to their social and cultural vision. Gandhi for his attempts to make space for spirituality in the realm of the political and Ambedkar through his conversion to Buddhism and his rejection Hindu social order are the only two counter-points to BJP’s religious politics from within the realm of religiosity.
The second misreading arises when they seek to reduce Hind Swaraj to a Swadeshi manifesto. Hind Swaraj is a civilisational text. It argues that modernity seeks to make machines as measure of men. It is for this reason modernity is characterised as ‘black age’ or ‘Satanic civilisation.’ The purpose of civilisation for Gandhi is that it should allow each person to know oneself, and so doing we learn to rule ourselves. It is swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. To rule one self is to be moral, to be just and have a sense of equability towards all religions. Hind Swaraj provides one of the most articulate critiques of the modern tendency to use religious identity as a ground for political mobilisation and violence that it inevitably breeds. Hind Swaraj also provides a fundamental meditation on the question of means and ends. It argues against the modern belief that ends justify the means. For Gandhi means and ends share an inviolable relationship. And therefore both means and ends have to be good, pure and virtuous. Finally, Hind Swaraj is an immensely hopeful text. It seeks not the destruction of England but wishes to rescue Europe from its modernity. It sees this as India’s unique possibility and challenge.
If the BJP wishes to appropriate Hind Swaraj for itself, it will have to eschew use of religious identity as grounds for political mobilisation. It cannot seek the annihilation and destruction of its ideological and political opponents but aspire to rescue them. The BJP and the Congress remain committed to use of violence as a means of legitimate political action, albeit through a theory of ‘legitimate violence’ or ‘counter-violence.’ Hind Swaraj does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate forms of violence and it is for this reason that it remains an arresting text. If the BJP wishes to contend with Gandhi it would need to contend with its own unconscious, its own past. It has another option. It can, like Narendra Modi, seek to turn Mohandas into a Mohanlal, a petty shop-keeper who has no future in our cities of malls. The writer is an Ahmedabad based academic
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Thursday, July 23, 2009 Interview with Levi R. Bryant (Larval Subjects)
I thus think there are two Heidegger’s. There is the Heidegger that went very far in the deconstruction of ontotheology and what I like to call the “little demiurge” or the sovereign subject, but there is also this other Heidegger that seems to perpetually recoil from this destitution, striving to discover some new ground, meaning, or identity. This has led to a lot of mischief both in his own life and in subsequent engagements with his work. For example, technology studies have been pushed back a great deal as a result of his moralizing and Luddite attitude towards enframing.
anotherheideggerblog 1:26 PM 9:00 AM

Darwin saw evolution as a blind process bereft of anything uplifting

Charles Darwin wrote of “Nature red in tooth and claw”. If he were to survey today’s global economic carnage, somewhere at the back of his mind would be the satisfied thought: this is the way I said things were. Two hundred years after his birth, the ruthlessness of natural selection has become the driving force of wealth-making among humans as well. Or so it seems.
There has long been an instinct to draw parallels with the way evolution moves forward on organic corpses and the manner in which a competitive marketplace deals with people. Friedrich Engels was much taken with this: one reason crude Darwinism diffuses the third volume of Das Kapital. The philosopher tried to fuse Marxism and On the Origin of Species in a fortunately forgotten work: The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man.
Better minds have done a better job of noting how economic and biological evolution require many corporations and animals to die. “The precise mathematical relationship which describes the link between the frequency and size of the extinction of the companies…is identical to that which describes the extinction of biological species in the fossil record,” pointed out Paul Ormerod in Why Most Things Fail. “Only the timescales differ.”
Darwin’s theory did help break the mental mould in economic theory. Classical economists like Adam Smith — whom Darwin read avidly — sought to find universal, timeless laws. The economist Alfred Marshall, inspired by Darwin, argued economies were dynamic and an understanding of individual motivations was needed. “The main concern of economics is thus with human beings who are impelled, for good and evil, to change and progress,” he said, paving the way for microeconomics.
It is easy to cast the present economic crisis in a Darwinian light. First, treat corporations and governments as organisms competing in the natural environment of the market. Second, see environmental change in the way, over the past decade, sophisticated financial risk instruments and an unprecedented wave of cheap capital had changed the global economy. Subprime loans and the like were born of this unholy marriage. In Darwinese, the environment has changed radically. And right now natural selection is taking place with the market (and official bail-outs) determining which firm, and even the odd government, survives the shakeout.
But Darwinism is more than just natural selection and adaptation. These were views that existed before him. What was striking about Darwin was his argument that evolution was blind and random, a matter of being under the wrong meteorite or next to the wrong sabre-tooth tiger at the wrong time. It did not necessarily lead to progress and there was definitely nothing planned about it. Galapagos Island finches sought only to survive — not to create superior finches.
Human economic activity, on the other hand, is expected to generate wealth and make people more prosperous. This, in turn, is because, unlike animals being herded by the forces of evolution, humans have more control of their environment and try to put a rational thrust behind their actions. Darwin — reluctantly — accepted that humans were evolving at a psycho-social level different from other organisms.
Those who rage against capitalism argue that market economics hasn’t actually helped people, that it is inimical to progress. They lie. Other than a few nations floating on oil and populated with idle rich, all the wealthy nations of the world have got to the top of the greasy pole by accepting that greasy poles make economic sense. Almost all the poverty reduction of the past 20 years — and it has been unprecedented — has been because China and India began to rediscover the market.
In contrast, Darwin saw evolution as a blind process bereft of anything uplifting. It didn’t necessarily produce better life-forms. It produced survivors and even then for only limited periods of time. A competitive economy with many independent players does a remarkably good job of producing superior economic entities. The most obvious example being the private corporation. But it also applies to governments. The modern firm as we know it came into existence between 1880 and 1910. It then exploded, spreading and multiplying across the world at a remarkable speed. Ormerod compares it to the so-called ‘Cambrian explosion’, biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s term for the enormous surge in new life-forms that occurred 550 million years ago.
The churn is remarkable. Even the largest firms are born, and die, at a rapid pace. The present economic crisis is the equivalent of a climate shift. One obvious result, for example, will be a radical rehaul of the financial sector. There will be other changes for the better and, eventually, the world economy will revive on a more even keel. Darwin would say it is the survival of the fittest and broadly agree with anti-globalisation protestors that the aftermath is no improvement. They would be wrong. And this reflects one of the weaknesses Darwinism faces when applied to modern society.
What is remarkable is that 200 years on, the power of his ideas is such that they are still 80 per cent useful in describing a circumstance he would never have dreamt of.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Constant cross-fertilization, endless exchange and mutual borrowing

Re: Amartya Sen on his idea of justice out of London—by Hasan Suroor
by
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Wed 22 Jul 2009 10:44 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

[My objections to Huntington can be summarized in four questions:

Who defines the values that characterize different civilizations? In too many parts of the world definitions are not left to individuals and social groups, but are unilaterally proclaimed by non-democratic leaders, be they dictators or terrorists. Taking their claim at face value would entail a racist disrespect for millions of “producers of civilization”. This is especially, dramatically true for millions of Islamic individuals, who are today culturally and politically disenfranchised by the violence of few and the fear of many.

Where do we draw the territoria/limits that allow us to define “a civilization”? We cannot but agree with Amartya Sen, when he wrote that he resented being included, as a person coming from the rich, manifold cultural and spiritual tradition of India, in the general “Confucian” category to which Huntington ascribes Asia as a whole.

When — with reference to which time-frame — do we assess the characteristics of a given culture? Fixity is definitely not what characterizes cultures — vital phenomena in constant transformation — so that the attempt to understand them by still photos instead of a movie can only lead to absurd misunderstandings.

Who has ever seen a self-contained civilization? The history of cultures is one of constant cross-fertilization, of endless exchange and mutual borrowing. - Carry on talking, civilizations need it - Roberto Toscano, Sunday TOI, July 19, 2009] Reply

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gandhiji-led freedom movement had no well-defined political goal

Home > 2009 Issues > July 12, 2009 Report: Gandhi and His Freedom Struggle in the history of Hindu nation by Radha Rajan released in New Delhi By Pramod Kumar

The Hindus constitute 83 per cent of the total population in the country but they still do not influence the nation as Hindus. We still find assaults on the Hindus everyday from all sides—Hindu temples, muths, symbols, customs, beliefs, traditions and religious leaders.

"The term Hindu nation has been misunderstood and misinterpreted in the country. Before the tenth century we were a self-governing nation. Since the day we started compromising our values and stopped worshiping the shakti, we became so weak that the foreign invaders including the salves ruled over us for centuries. During this period the whole system was bent upon to damage the true values of this nation. The book by Smt Radha Rajan is first one to investigate into what went wrong with the system as well as the people during these so many years. It is a well researched book and explains how systematically the country was de-Hinduised,” said the former MP and director of the International Academy of Indian Culture, Dr Lokesh Chandra. He was releasing the book, Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and His Freedom Struggle, written by Smt Radha Rajan in New Delhi on June 26. The book has been published by New Age Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Kolkata.

Former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha and a member of the Constitution Review Committee Dr Subhash C Kashyap and noted swadeshi thinker, ideologue Shri Govindacharya and Shri Sinha Roy of the New Age Publishers were also present on the occasion. The writer Smt Radha Rajan is a Chennai based political commentator. She is passionately committed to the welfare of homeless and street animals in Chennai for over 12 years. She is also one of the authors of the book, NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry.

Dr Lokesh Chandra hailed the book as original sin of the freedom struggle. “Indians always worshiped shakti. Our all gods and goddesses carry the weapons. The greatest crime committed during the freedom struggle was the introduction of the concept of ahimsa. We should not forget that we are still in the battlefield where we have to fight. There is no part of India, which is not surrounded by enemies. If we fail to fight today we will not be able to survive for long. The whole nation needs introspection and we need fresh ideas,” he said.

Shri Govindacharya said the analysis of the characters like Gandhiji is not an easy task. The emergence of Gandhiji, inactiveness of Aurobindo and Tilak and jail sentence to Savarkar were the events during the freedom struggle, which raised many doubts and still need answers. Smt Radha Rajan has done a great work by working on Gandhiji with this new angel, he said.

Dr Subhash C Kashyap said Smt Radha Rajan by extensively quoting from the original writings of Gandhiji exposed the anti-Hindu face of Gandhiji. “Her work cannot be set aside and her ideas need to be analysed,” he said. “We are defiantly proud of our glorious past but it is an important question why the invaders looted and ruled over us for so many years. There is a need to introspect and think over the weaknesses of the nation and also remove them,” he said adding that the biggest threat before the nation today is demographic imbalance, which is being created through various means. He said it is very shameful and dangerous time for any nation when its majority community feels threatened.

Smt. Radha Rajan said the Hindus constitute 83 per cent of the total population in the country but they still do not influence the nation as Hindus. “We still find assaults on the Hindus everyday from all sides—Hindu temples, muths, symbols, customs, beliefs, traditions and religious leaders, etc,” she said adding that the ahimsa of Gandhiji was only for the Hindus and not for the Muslims and others. She alleged that Gandhiji never considered this land has Hindubhoomi.

The book analyses the period between 1893 when Aurobindo as a Congressman began to write his political columns, and 1947-48 which culminated in the vivisection of the subcontinent and Gandhiji’s murder. It seeks to demonstrate how the Gandhiji-led freedom movement had no well-defined political goal, which should have been determined by a sound understanding of the inherent evil of alien rule. The book shows how in the absence of such defined political objective the freedom movement drifted confusedly between Gandhiji’s social agenda and his political ambition, leaving the field clear to anti-national interests to divide and rule us and to dismember our land to serve alien politico-religious objectives.

The book argues that it was Gandhiji’s refusal to acknowledge the right of the majority of the population to its land that was the root cause for his failure to organise all sections of the majority society to combat the twin threats of an obdurate and avaricious colonial power and an ascendant anti-Hindu monotheism. By making the Indian National Congress his personal vehicle, he twisted freedom movement in a manner deliberately calculated to cast into the shadows the nationalism of Tilak, Aurobindo, Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose. Gandhiji and the Gandhi-led freedom movement eclipsed the Hind nation.

The book takes a decisive step towards correcting the political discourse in the country and makes a case for self-conscious Hindu state power to pull us back from the brink of our self-destructive politics of minorityism. No matter how much the so-called secularists protest that Hindu assertion is undermining the idea of India that is a figment of their imagination, this nation is not an idea, it is real. The truth of the nation rests on its majority populace for whom this nation is their janmabhoomi, a concept unique to the Hindu way of worship.

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The real problem is not missionaries flashing American dollars or dressing up as sadhus in order to deceive unsuspecting villagers. Christians in India are doing what Christians have always done throughout history: They are subverting and subsuming the non-Christian cultures and societies that they are not able to conquer by force.

The real problem is with Hindu leaders—political, social, cultural, and religious leaders. They are first of all in a state of denial, unwilling or unable to admit the Christian threat and the grave implications it has for Hindu civilization and society. Or, like the editors of the Ramana Ashram journal Mountain Path, they take the out-dated, irresponsible, and non-Vedic theosophical view that all religions are one and the same anyway, so what does it matter if a few million villagers become dollar Christians. [...]

Hindu society has become secularised in the cities and teachers are faced with multicultural audiences from different countries and traditions. It is therefore incumbent on all Hindu gurus in India and abroad to put their philosophical teaching into its original religious context, so that it cannot be distorted and abused by Hinduism’s scholarly Marxist and Christian enemies. . Home > 2009 Issues > July 12, 2009
Atma Jyoti Ashram: Wolf in sheep’s clothing - II The diabolical game of evangelists in a Hindu Ashram By Swami Devananda Saraswati

Amartya Sen embodies Smith’s true legacy in everything he writes

Amartya Sen: Exponent of Adam Smith's True Legacy
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
An editorial in the Times of India is worth reading in full ":

“In an article, 'Capitalism beyond the Crisis', Amartya Sen has argued that the present economic crisis demands a new understanding of older ideas, such as those of Adam Smith and Arthur Cecil Pigou. He draws attention to the fact that, while Smith showed the market economy's usefulness, his analysis went beyond leaving everything to the market's invisible hand. He viewed the usefulness of capital and markets within their own sphere and at the same time saw, contrary to the popular perception, the need for other institutions, such as sound mechanisms for financial regulations. He was aware, for example, of the need for state regulation to protect citizens from what he called "prodigals and projectors" who took excessive risks in their pursuit of profit.”

Comment

Amartya Sen is always worth reading and I recommend that you follow the link and see how Sen develops his argument by bringing Max Weber into play:

“In the last pages of The Protestant Ethic, he notes: "The idea of duty in one's calling prowls about in our lives like the ghost of dead religious beliefs." He adds: "In the field of its highest development, in the United States, the pursuit of wealth, stripped of its religious and ethical meaning, tends to become associated with truly mundane passions, which often actually gives it the character of sport."

Sen writes with surprising agility and deep commitment to social changes within markets where possible and with public funding where necessary. There is no call to protect Adam Smith’s legacy from economists like Amartya Sen. He embodies Smith’s true legacy in everything he writes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Bengalee Babu began to think as an Englishman thought

YOUNG INDIA
AN INTERPRETATION AND A HISTORY OF
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT
FROM WITHIN
LAJPAT RAI

CHAPTER III INDIA FROM 1857 TO 1905
The mutiny was quelled. The ringleaders among the mutineers were killed, hanged or shot, and with them a lot of those who were innocent. Many of the rank and file were pardoned, as no government could shoot or hang all those who had taken part in the mutiny. Their number was legion. The British Empire in India was saved, but the East India Company was gone. The system of open pillage was ended. The crown assumed the direct government of India. The Queen's Proclamation and the policy of " mercy and reconciliation " inaugurated by Canning calmed the country.

The Bengalee Babu. The only parts of the country which had received some education on modern lines were the provinces of Bengal, Bombay and Madras. The number of educated men even in these provinces was small. In the work of settlement that followed the mutiny, these educated men found ample scope for their ambition. Men who knew English had the advantage over those who did not. Men with a knowledge of English were few. The posts requiring a knowledge of that language were many. Consequently, the English-knowing Indians were in great demand and secured ample salaries to make them " happy and loyal." The English-knowing Bengalees spread over the whole of Northern India, lately the scene of mutiny, and materially helped in bringing about settled conditions of life.

They were the pioneers in every department of governmental activity and were looked to, both by the rulers and the people, for advice and guidance. The Bengalee is a sentimental being. His position under the Government filled him with pride and his gratitude and loyalty were overflowing. The British also liked him because he was useful, intelligent, keen, shrewd, ready to serve, and willing to be of use. He relieved the British officer of much of his intellectual work, and left him ample time for play and rest. Many a departmental head ruled the country with the brain of the "Bengalee Babu."

The Bengalee Babu worshipped the Feringhee as Mai Bap, and began to imitate him in his tastes. He began to live as the Britisher lived; English life, English manners and customs, became his ideal. Gradually he became very fond of English literature and began to think as an Englishman thought. The Bengalees were the first to send their sons to England for their education and to compete for the I. C. S. (Indian Civil Service) and the I. M. S. (Indian Medical Service). They with the Parsees were the first to qualify for the English bar. In England they lived in an atmosphere of freedom.

With freedom in drinking and eating they also learned freedom of thought and expression. The first generation of the Bengalees was thus Anglicised through and through. They looked down upon their own religion ; they thought poorly of Indian society. They knew nothing of their own past history, and they glorified in being "Sahibs." Some of them became Christians. Alarmed at this transformation, Ram Mohan Roy and a few others resolved to stem the tide. For a time they succeeded, but only partially. Be it said to the credit of the Bengalees that a fairly good number refused to be carried down-stream, and in spite of their English education stuck to their own religion and their own customs. They saw a good deal in their society which needed reform; but they declined to make sweeping changes and would not imitate. These veterans laid the foundations of the modern Bengalee literature. They wanted to pour their knowledge, derived from a study of English language and literature, into their own mother tongue, and in order to enlarge the vocabulary of the latter for their work, they had to study Sanskrit. Thus in spite of the Anglification of the first generation of Bengalees, there grew up a class of men imbued with nationalistic tendencies. Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of Brahmo Samaj, was the first nation-builder of Modern India.

For a time the field that was opened for the employment of English-educated Bengalees in Upper India (in the then N. W. Provinces, in the Punjab, in Behar, in Central India, in Rajputana, even in Sindh) checked the growth of these tendencies. The feeling of gratitude and contentment was supreme. The Bengalee was indispensable in almost every department. The reins of practical management were mostly in Bengalee hands, whether it was a court of justice, or a Revenue Commissioner's office, or a commissariat depot, or an adjutant's camp, or the department of land survey, or education. The heads of departments were always English, but the heads of ministerial establishments were generally Bengalees. The English could not do without them. The former did not know the language of the country, nor did they know the character of the people. The Bengalees were thus an absolute necessity. With the spread of a knowledge of the English language, the first generation of English-knowing Indians in every province came to occupy an important position. While the old-fashioned Pandit or Moulvie sulked, the English-knowing Hindu or Mohammedan basked in sunshine and flourished. The British laid down policies and gave orders ; the English-knowing Indian saw that they were carried out. They thus came to enjoy the confidence of their masters and imitated their vices.

But what was most important was that they began to think like their English masters. The English read their newspapers ; so the Indians started their newspapers. The English met in clubs and churches. So the Indians started Samajes and Sabhas and debating clubs. For a time the English-knowing Indian prided himself in imitating his master. He took his dress, he took his cheroot and pipe, and also his cup and beefsteak. He began to live in houses built and furnished in the English way. He detested Indian life and took pride in being Anglicised. Everything Indian was odious in his eyes. The Indians were barbarians; their religion was a bundle of superstitions; they were dirty people ; their customs and manners were uncivilised; they were a set of narrow-minded bigots who did not know that man was born free. So the English set the fashion for them in everything. If their English masters went to church and read the Bible, they did the same. If the English masters indulged in free-thinking, they did the same. They wanted to be like their English masters in every way. Their ambition, however, soon met a check. They could equal the British in drinking and in free-thinking, but they could not aspire to his position and place in the government of the country. Some of them decided to try this in the case of their sons. They sent them to England. A few passed the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Medical Service examinations, others became barristers. Both found out by bitter experience that, however able and clever they might be, whatever their intellectual acquirements, no matter if they were Christians, or semi-Christians, or free-thinkers, there was a limit to their aspirations both in service and out of it. That was the first eye-opener.

In the meantime, the thoughtful among the Indians, who had not taken to English manners, were anxiously watching the flow of the current. They saw the disintegrating and denationalising forces that were at work ; they saw that their national edifice was crumbling down brick by brick ; everything which they had valued and held sacred was being devastated and treated with contempt and reduced to ashes. Their own children were deserting the old banners to which innumerable generations before them had clung with love and reverence. They saw all this; they were sorry; they wept tears of blood; but they could do nothing. They were powerless before the tide. They tried palliatives, but failed.

What was fatal to their pious wishes was that they could not themselves resist the fruits which English education brought in the shape of emoluments and rank and position. They wanted these fruits with- out the thorns. They soon found that that was impossible, and so they gave up the struggle in despair and became reconciled to the inevitable. What they failed to achieve was, however, brought about by a combination of circumstances which we will briefly enumerate below. Forces Resisting Denationalisation,

1. The English education imparted in schools and colleges established by the British, and the Christian missions (in some instances supplemented by Indian agencies), opened the gates of Western thought and Western literature to the mass of educated Indians.

2. Some of the British teachers and professors who taught in the schools and colleges consciously and unconsciously inspired their pupils with ideas of freedom as well as nationalism.

3. The over-zeal of the missionaries in their attacks upon Indian religions and Indian thought suggested to Indian minds a closer and deeper study of their own religion and thought.

4. In this they were materially helped by the awakening of Europeans to the thought of the East. The labours of the European savants and their appreciation of Eastern thought kindled a fresh fire in the bosom of Hindus and Mohammedans.

5. The writings of Ram Mohan Roy, Debendra Nath Tagore, Rajendra Lai Mitra, in Bengal, those of Ranade, Vishnu Pandit and others in Mahrashtra, of Swami Dayanand and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in Upper India, of Madam Blavatsky and the other Theosophists in Madras, brought about a new awakening, which afterwards received an even stronger impetus from the writings and speeches of Mrs. Annie Besant and Swami Vivekananda. This was on the religious and social side mainly, but its national character was unmistakable.

Political Disappointments. The current produced by these causes met another current, which was generated by political disappointments. The aspirations of the educated Indian had met a check. The few successes gained by Indians in the Indian Civil Service examinations alarmed the British, and they sought for means of keeping them out. One of the means adopted was to require that the candidates should not be more than 19 to 21 years of age at the time of examination, an age so young as made it impossible for Indians to come over to England and successfully compete. This raised a howl and cry in Bengal, and the rest of the country followed Bengal. Then came other measures like the Vernacular Press Act of Lord Lytton, and the remission of cotton duties, and so on. The generation educated in England had some experience of the methods of political agitation in that country, and they soon began to organise on those lines. Political agitation on modern lines thus became a fact of Indian life, and English-educated Indians began to talk of liberty and self-government.

Thus were laid the foundations of the national awakening, of which so much has been heard of late. The methods of the English Government in India, their educational system, their press, their laws, their courts, their railways, their telegraphs, their post-offices, their steamers, had as much to do with it as the native love of country, of religion and nation, which had received a temporary check by the crushing defeat of the mutineers in 1857, and by the Indian people's too ready acquiescence in the political and social domination of the foreigner which ensued.

This time, however, the movement was brought into existence by those who had received their inspiration from Europe. Within less than twenty years after the great mutiny, the Nationalist Movement of India was born, almost at the same time and place at which Lord Lytton was presiding at the great Imperial Durbar, and announcing that the great Queen of England was assuming the title of Empress of India. The Durbar reduced the chiefs of India from the position of allies to that of feudatories, but it quite unconsciously and against the intentions of its authors raised in theory the status of the Indian subjects of the Queen to that of citizens of the British Empire. Little did the authors of that Durbar realise the inner significance of the move they were making. That Durbar, we may say, marked the beginning of the movement which filled the educated Indian with the idea of obtaining his rightful place in the Empire. He became articulate
and began to assert himself. He was no longer satisfied with the minor positions which he held in the Government of India. He claimed his country as his own, and raised the cry of " India for the Indians." His cry gained strength when he found that the India which he looked down upon in the fifties or sixties, the system of thought and life which he considered barbarous, primitive and old fashioned, and the past which he despised, were after all not so bad as he had thought.

The latter was the contribution of the Brahmo Samaj, the Theosophical Society, the Society for the Resuscitation of Sanskrit Literature, the Bengal Sahitya Parishad, the Maharastra Sabha, the Arya Samaj, the Sanatan Sabhas and other societies of a similar nature. The Bengali and the Mahratta writers, who had carried on researches in Indian history and unearthed valuable documents and written in their respective vernaculars, contributed materially to the growth of this feeling. The Theosophical Society began to praise and justify every Hindu institution and to find science in every custom. In fact, for a time, the thoughtful began to fear lest the pendulum was swinging the other way and we were in the midst of a wave of reaction.

Akbar and Aurangzeb were as much Indians as are today the Moguls and Pathans in Delhi or elsewhere

YOUNG INDIA
AN INTERPRETATION AND A HISTORY OF
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT
FROM WITHIN
LAJPAT RAI

Muslim Rule in India not Foreign. Yet it is not right to say that the Muslim rule in India was a "foreign rule." The Muslim invaders were no doubt foreign in their origin, just as the Normans and Danes were when they came to England, but as soon as they settled in India, adopted the country, made it their home, married and raised children there, they became the sons of the soil. Akbar and Aurangzeb were as much Indians as are to-day the Moguls and Pathans in Delhi or elsewhere. Sher Shah and Ibrahim Lodi were no more foreigners in India than were the descendants of William the Conqueror or the successors of William of Orange in Great Britain. When Timur and Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked India, they attacked a kingdom which was ruled by Indian Muslims. They were as much the enemies of the Mohammedan rulers of India as of the Hindus.

The Muslims, who exercised political sovereignty in India from the thirteenth up to the middle of the nineteenth century a. d., were Indians by birth, Indians by marriage, and Indians by death. They were born in India, they married there, there they died, and there they were buried. Every penny of the revenues they raised in India was spent in India. Their army was wholly Indian. They allowed new families from beyond the borders of Hindustan to come and settle in India, but they very rarely, if at all, employed people who were not willing to stay in India for good and to make it their home. Their bias, if any, against the Hindus was religious, not political. The converts to Islam were sometimes treated even with greater consideration than the original Muslims. Akbar, of course, did away with that distinction, but even the most bigoted and the most orthodox Mohammedan ruler of India was not possessed of that kind of social pride and social exclusiveness which distinguishes the British ruler of India to-day. If the racial question ever came into prominence during Mohammedan supremacy in India, it was not between Hindus and Mohammedans, but between Mohammedans and Mohammedans, as for instance between Tuglaks and Pathans, or between Moguls and Lodis.

In the reign of rulers like Sher Shah, Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jahan, the Hindus were eligible for the highest offices under the crown next after the princes of royal blood. They were governors of provinces, generals of armies, and rulers of districts and divisions. In short, the distinctions between the Hindus and Muslims were neither political nor social. Looked at from the political and the economic point of view, the Government was as much indigenous as under Hindu rule. The Muslims never attempted to disarm the population; nor did they prohibit the manufacture or import of arms. They did not recruit their servants from Arabia, or Persia, or Afghanistan. They had no Lancashire industries to protect, and were under no necessity of imposing excise duties on Indian-made goods. They brought their own language and literature with them. For a time, perhaps, they transacted all government business through that language, but eventually they evolved a language which is as much Indian as any other vernacular spoken in India to-day. The groundwork of this language, which is now called Urdu or Hindustani, is purely Indian. The Muslim rulers of India had no anxiety for, and were in no way concerned with, the prosperity of the labouring classes of Persia or Afghanistan. If any one sought their patronage, he had to come to and settle in India. So their government was an Indian government and not a foreign government.

History does not record a single instance of India being ruled from without, by a people of purely non-Indian blood and in the interests of another country and another people, before the British. India was always an empire by herself. She was never a part of another empire, much less a dependency. She had her own army, her own navy, her own flag. Her revenues were spent for her own benefit. She had her industries and manufactured the goods she consumed. Any one wanting the privilege of trading with India under special terms had to obtain the sanction of her government, as the East India Company did. There was no India Office in Arabia or in Persia or in Kabul, to which the people of India looked for initiative in the affairs of their native land.

INDIA UNDER THE BRITISH
India under the British is, however, entirely different. For the first time in history she becomes a part of another empire. India to-day is not an empire by herself, but a part of the British Empire, as Britain once was a part of the Roman Empire. For the first time in history she has been reduced to the position of a dependency. For the first time in her history she is ruled from the outside. For the first time the Indians have been reduced to the tar hordes to acts of rapacity or tyranny, there was time enough, even in the short life of man, to bring round the ill effects of the abuse of power upon the power itself. If hoards were made by violence and tyranny, they were still domestic hoards, and domestic profusion, or the rapine of a more powerful and prodigal hand, restored them to the people. With many disorders and with few political checks upon power, nature had still fair play, the sources of acquisition were not dried up, and therefore the trade, the manufactures, and the commerce of the country flourished. Even avarice and usury itself operated both for the preservation and the employment of national wealth. The husbandman and manufacturer paid heavy interest, but then they augmented the fund from whence they were again to borrow. Their resources were dearly bought, but they were sure, and the general stock of the community grew by the general effect.