Last updateWed, 18 Apr 2018 1am

Why I Am A Hindu

why i am a hindu

I was a born and brought-up as a catholic and knew absolutely nothing about India, ‪#‎Hinduism‬ and Hindus. When I was a young Frenchman of 19, I had the privilege to hear about the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, through a friend, whose father was the last Governor of Pondichery. My friend told me that a caravan of 5 cars was about to drive from Paris to Pondichery. On a hunch, I joined this caravan.

Upon arriving in Delhi after driving trough nine countries, I felt I had come home and that this country was a very special place.

I lived in the Pondichery Sri Aurobindo ashram for seven years. These were wonderful times: the Mother was still alive and everything looked new, everything seemed possible. One read Sri Aurobindo, of course, as he was the Master and the inspiration of the place, but one either did not understand or felt disconnected to his political writings.


Are Brahmins the Dalits of Today?

Are Brahmins the Dalits of Today.png

At a time when the Congress government wanted to raise the quota for Other Backward Classes to 49.5 per cent in private and public sectors, nobody talks about the plight of the upper castes. The public image of the Brahmins, for instance, is that of an affluent, pampered class. But is it so today?

50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin). A far cry from the elitist image that Brahmins have!

There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. They came to Delhi eight to ten years back looking for a source of income, as they were a minority in most of their villages, where Dalits are in majority (60 per cent to 65 per cent). In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages.

Did you know that you also stumble upon a number of Brahmins working as coolies at Delhi’s railway stations? One of them, Kripa Shankar Sharma, says while his daughter is doing her Bachelors in Science he is not sure if she will secure a job.


Decolonizing the Humanities

Decolonizing the Humanities

Humanities are the foundation of any society. National leaders and thinkers must be schooled in the humanities, with deep roots in the nation and the society they seek to lead.

And Indian humanities have deep spiritual roots.

While India is politically free, it remains spiritually colonized. The problem lies in the failure of humanities educations. Science and technology have no political or cultural boundaries.

The humanities on the other hand are intimately tied to a particular culture and civilization. Imposing an alien set of values and measures on Indian culture lies at the heart of the failure of the humanities in India: it is essentially a borrowing from India’s most recent colonial experience—the Islamic and the European.

The Indian elite is applying largely materialistic values and measures borrowed from these alien civilizations to study Indian history and culture. This can be compared to applying European music theory to the study of Indian music. The result is grotesque.


Is it time for India to revisit Reservation Policy ?

Is it time for India to revisit Reservation Policy.png

The intricacies of Indian social setup have always given a tough time to the policy makers of the country to put in place public welfare schemes, which may serve the purpose of one and all alike. Thereon, when the society is already divided on religious, communal and various other grounds, what is the need to divide it further by drawing lines in the name of the reservation? Reservation if on one hand is the only ray of hope for some socially disadvantaged sections of society to move forward in life, on the other hand it is the same reservation, which is preventing a sick and an ailing person from becoming healthy.

The reservation issue raised in Gujarat is a reminiscent of the Mandal Commission Protests of 1989 and reflects the glimpses of 2008 reservation issue, raised then by the Gujjars of Rajasthan, demanding 5% reservation from Rajasthan government. The Gujjar agitation of Rajasthan assumed the ugly shape, the moment Gujjars from the adjoining states started showing solidarity with them and ultimately resulted in the incidents of killing, vandalism, arson and many more.


Conversion: Is the stage set for the Mother of all Debates?

Conversion- Is The Stage Set For The Mother Of All Debates

“Conversion is destruction of culture, nation and state, while assimilation is construction of all the three. Mahatma Gandhi was as plain as the RSS in his testament Hind Swaraj. In which after three decades, he said, he was unwilling to change a comma or full stop — that assimilation of Muslims was the answer to Hindu-Muslim problem.”  – S. Gurumurthy

If, as reported, the conversion of 350 odd Muslims in Ved Nagar in Agra to Hinduism is the work of RSS, it is clear that the RSS has grown strategic. By a small move that is smart too, the RSS seems to have triggered a debate on conversions which it has been asking for decades but evaded by its critics who merely kept abusing the RSS. Hindus are not best known for strategic thinking, save exceptions like Sri Krishna, Chanakya, Chatrapati Shivaji and Mahatma Gandhi. Lack of strategic thinking among Hindus is no surprise because they did not have any agenda to capture, subordinate and rule the world through their religion, Gods or weapons.

Recently The Economist magazine [March 30, 2013] derided India’s lack strategic culture as the main impediment to its emergence as global power.


4 reasons Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death was suspicious

4 reasons Lal Bahadur Shastris death was suspicious

Jan 11, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the passing away of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri - one of modern India's icons whose enduring popularity cuts through all divides. What really happened in the wee hours of January 11 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1966 remains shrouded in mystery, largely thanks to the gratuitous state secrecy resorted to by our government.

Generations have gone by, but conspiracy theories about what caused Shastri’s death have not ceased. In some other country, the strange case of a prime minister’s death would have been inquired into by a high-powered team long ago and all relevant documents placed in the public domain.

After signing the Tashkent accord, around 4pm on January 10, prime minister Shastri reached the villa he was provided by his Russian hosts. Late in the evening, he had a light meal prepared by Jan Mohammad, the personal cook of TN Kaul, the Indian ambassador to Moscow.

There were other Russian butlers at his service in the same villa. At 11.30pm, Shastri had a glass of milk brought by the ambassador's cook. When his personal staff took leave of him at that time, he was fine.


The Battle For Sanskrit book review by Akash Ravianandan

The Battle For Sanskrit book review by Akash Ravianandan

This book review is not by any intellectual but a commoner. However the book strikes some very fundamental notes, that even commoners can understand the central conviction of the author which being packed with sufficient data and reason provokes the reader to ask- Is India on the verge of an intellectual re-colonization? The book provides sufficient reason for us to believe so. In some sense, one can also claim that India is indeed already intellectually colonized in which case the book provides sufficient reason that we are at the cusp of no return. Indeed how we act now, will determine whether Indian civilization will get diluted and reduced to museum exhibits or thrive and truly turn towards standing on her own feet.

The book begins by tracing the history of Orientalism from Sir William Jones to present day Sheldon Pollock. While Sir William Jones was trying to fit India within the Christian Grand narrative and employing the Biblical lens to study India, Sheldon Pollock applies the materialistic (Charvaka 2.0) Marxist lens to study India. Ironically, India lost the Golden opportunity of turning the tide when orientalism was exposed for its racist bias by Edward Said.