Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yoga -- and India -- has nothing to do with colonial-imperial system called 'religion'

In this video clip of a TV discussion on International Yoga Day posted on YouTube, a woman anchor and two men discuss the nature and purpose of Yoga. 

The elderly of the two men -- who appears to be Jewish -- says he has been practising Yoga for the last 35 years and has benefited from it.

In response to the anchor wondering if Yoga originates from "Hindu religion", the elderly man says anyone -- a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian -- can practise Yoga without such practice having any bearing on their "religion".

Here is what I think about their discussion.

Not only Yoga, India itself has nothing whatsoever to do with 'religion' which is a concept that only applies to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

'Religion' is a concept that has always been totally alien to India's diverse cultures.

India has never produced anything remotely resembling 'religion'.

So there is no such thing as 'Hinduism' the religion.

The same can be said about other alleged 'religions': 'Buddhism', 'Jainism', 'Sikhism', etc.

India has always had great diversity of cultures and embedded within that cross-pollinated, syncretistic matrix have been various Bhakti Margs, Gyan Margs, Panths, Sampradayas, etc.

None of those Bhakti Margs, Gyan Margs, Panths, Sampradayas, etc., has any similarity with 'religion', i.e. with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

'Religion' is a colonial-imperial system that anathematizes 'syncretism' which is the active principle of all human cultures across the world.

By anathematizing 'syncretism', 'religion' acts as an 'ethnocidal' force in the world.

That is what Judeo-Christianity and Islam are. They are an 'ethnocidal' force.

They act against all human cultures across the world and seek to undermine cultural autonomy and cultural syncretism.

Judeo-Christianity and Islam supplant cultural autonomy and cultural syncretism by stultifying heteronomy and homogeneity.

By undermining cultural diversity and creativity, Judeo-Christianity and Islam also pose a threat to the very survival of human species on Earth.

The following Web-link has been used in this post.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

News Laundry scrubs out Zee News's hypocrisy... and its own!

In a video clip posted on YouTube on May 5, News Laundry (of Madhu Trehan) lampoons Zee News for its hypocrisy in preaching against "media-corporate, media-politician nexus" while practising exactly the opposite.

“The teeny-tiny problem with the show was that it was being aired on, umm, Zee News, by, errr, (Sudhir) Chaudhary,” says the text accompanying the video clip produced by Aaditya Rakheja of News Laundry.

I can see quite well “the teeny-tiny problem” with Zee News pointed out by the News Laundry.

However, I can also see another "teeny-tiny problem" with the issue that News Laundry has highlighted, but deliberately omitted to mention, namely that all mass media companies -- and not just Zee News -- are neck deep in corrupt media-corporate-politician nexus.

Abhinandan Sekhri alias 'Nikku' of News Laundry, for example, is one of the oldest associates I know of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Sekhri is the founding trustee along with Arvind Kejriwal of the latter's NGO called Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF).

His association with Kejriwal goes back earlier than 2008 when I had started to work with Kejriwal and his team. So I know him personally.

I have never known Sekhri doing any worthwhile journalism, but I recently found myself sitting through an interview he had done with his old pal, Chief Minister Kejriwal, on the occasion of the unveiling of Pran Kurup's book.

That interview was remarkable for Sekhri’s pusillanimity and Kejriwal's brusqueness.

Sekhri did not do a very good job of sounding intellectual and 'politically' mature without asking, of course, the obvious questions of his old friend -- such as 'How far have you gone in pushing forward the investigation and prosecution of various scams perpetrated by the Sheila Dikshit government?'.

(That was Kejriwal's campaign promise. Remember? And has come back to haunt the AAP Supremo.)

Sekhri (and News Laundry) has also been understandably silent on the Rs 200 crore PWD scam  -- not to mention fund-raising scam (illegal payments made to AAP by Mukesh Kumar and Hem Prakash), medicine and ambulance procurement scam and other scams -- of the government led by his old buddy Kejriwal.

It's rather interesting that a news outlet run by the brother of Sekhri's employer at News Laundry has recently carried the sleazy details of Kejriwal's PWD scam in which chief minister's brother-in-law Surendra Bansal has also been involved.

The pot calling the kettle black, News Laundry?

While calling into question the trustworthiness of Zee News' reportage, the holier-than-thou News Laundry failed to mention the fake news purveyed by a number of supposedly "sober" media outlets. 

For instance, I recently posted a blog that talks about a fake news about a "coup" in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) peddled by the Wire, NDTV, the Quint, Janta ka Reporter, The Deccan Post, and India Herald. 

Prannoy Roy of NDTV, of course, has had long association with Kejriwal too, often reflected in things like removing an inconvenient story from the "independent" news channel's website.

(Shouldn't someone see the "media-politician nexus" here, involving media outlets like News Laundry and NDTV?)

Even news agencies like ANI have been getting into the act, filing stories such as the one discussed here that can't be deemed anything but fake news.

So News Laundry's arrogation to itself the role of 'launderer' of Zee News without looking at itself and the rest of the mass media is no less hypocritical and dishonest than the latter's preaching of media morality. 

The following web links have been used in this article in the order of occurrence.


Monday, June 12, 2017

The Religion of Peace: Learning to Kill in the Holy Month of Ramzan!

I found on Facebook page of 'Secular Pakistan' a notice in Urdu inviting Muslims to attend a presentation on Ghazwa-e-Hind (final Islamic battle for India) in the holy month of Ramzan at Jamiatur Rasheed, a Deobandi madrasa in Karachi.

The Davanagari transcript of this notice is pasted at the bottom of this post. 

The notice calls upon Muslims to register for 'Itikaaf' -- an Islamic practice of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days and devoting oneself to ibaadat and learning -- at Jamiatur Rasheed; the registrations closed on Sunday, June 11.

The charge (including boarding and lodging) for the 'Itikaaf' at Jamiatur Rasheed, including a presentation on Ghazwa-e-Hind as well as classes on blessings and jurisprudential issues of waging Jihad, is Rs 2500.

The invitation also cites free Wi-Fi at the campus.

A person seeking registration was required to bring a surety of a reliable personage, a photo copy of his ID card, and two photographs.

Jamiatur Rasheed, which claims to provide free Islamic education to its regular students and boasts a computer lab and a swimming pool, publishes four magazines on Islam, including a children's weekly in English called 'The Truth International'.

According to Wikipedia, "Ghazwa-e-Hind or the final battle of India is an Islamic term mentioned in some "good" hadiths in particular predicting a final and last battle in India and as a result, a conquest of the whole Indian sub-continent by Muslim warriors."

Jamiatur Rasheed's website above connects to a YouTube channel.

One of the videos in Urdu is titled 'Why Killing and Massacring If Islam is a Religion of Peace and Prophet is Rehmat-ul-Aalmeen (provider of mercy to the whole world)?'

The video features a young mullah explaining in Urdu Hikmat-e-Qitaal in Islam (wisdom of killing and massacring in Islam).

He begins thus: "Kafirs raise many questions about Jihad and Qitaal (killing). It's also asked that if the Prophet is Rehmat-ul-Aalmeen and Islam is a religion of peace, then why killing and massacring? 

"Listeners, the answer is: a doctor can never be an expert in his field if he knows how to apply liniment to relieve pain but doesn't know how to operate a diseased organ.

"So when the world developed the virus of Kufr (falsehood) and Shirk (tendency to include others in what should be the unique status of one Allah), Allah the merciful sent the doctor in the shape of the Prophet who for 23 years treated all the diseased parts of the body.

"However, there remained parts that were bad enough to be beyond treatment. So the wisdom demanded that those parts be cut off the body. That is the reality of Jihad and that is the purpose of Jihad."

The young Mullah then goes on to explain "four most important rationales for killing and massacring out of the many that the Prophet favoured in his wisdom", including "killing for putting an end to all discord".

"Allah the great said fight to kill those who don't conform and those who cause discord because (such a) war is the guarantee for preserving peace."

The month of Ramzan started on May 27 and is likely to end on June 24.

नेकी और तक़वा के कामों में एक दूसरे से तआवुन करो (अल्कुरान)
रमज़ान अल्मुबारक के रूहानी असरात से फैज़याब होने के लिए
जामिअतुर रशीद के पुरनूर और रूहानी माहौल में कीजिये!
चंद नुमायाँ ख़सूसियात
·        अल्लुक़ मा अल्लाह और इबादत के लिए बेहतरीन माहौल
·        मुफ़्ती रशीद अहमद के खुलफ़ा से इस्तेफ़ादा
·        ग़ज़वा-ए-हिन्द पर प्रेजेंटेशन
·        जिहाद के फ़ज़ाइल और फ़िकही मसाइल
·        वाई-फाई की मुफ़्त सहूलत
राब्ता नम्बर: 0321-2000975
राब्ते का वक़्त: 2 ता 5 बजे बाद नमाज़ ज़ुहर
·        रजिस्ट्रेशन 14, 15 रमज़ान बरोज़ हफ़्ता, इतवार 2 ता 5 बजे जामिअतुर रशीद में होगी
·        वक़्त की पाबंदी फ़रमाएँ, नेज़ रजिस्ट्रेशन फ़ोन पर नहीं की जाएगी
·        इतिकाफ़ का ज़र-ए-तआवुन (हमा तआम) = 2500 रुपये होगा
·        शिनाख्ती कार्ड की फ़ोटो कॉपी और दो अदद तसावीर हमराह लायें
·        इलाक़े की किसी मुअतबर शख्सियत की शख्सी ज़मानत हमराह लायें.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

CBI raids on Prannoy Roy: suppression of dissent within media organisations

Government is not the only suppressor of voices of dissent. A lot of suppression of dissent also takes place within media organisations.

I'd say that to people discussing the CBI raids on NDTV founder Prannoy Roy's homes, in general, and NDTV executive editor and anchor Nidhi Razdan in particular.

In a discussion on DD News over Monday's CBI raids on NDTV founder Prannoy Roy's homes, elderly journalist Urmilesh talked about journalists being booted out of media organisations for fighting for wage board (which recommends salary hikes of media personnel).
Urmilesh seemed to suggest that while there is lot that's wrong with the media scene in India, the government has chosen to focus only on the wrongdoing of NDTV's Prannoy Roy.

Urmilesh's point reminded me of Press Trust of India (PTI) where I worked from 2000 to 2005.

At PTI we used to get salaries and salary hikes according to wage boards and the top-most demand of the employees union would be for a new wage board to be set up.

Urmilesh's point also reminded me of how M.K. Razdan, then editor-in-chief and CEO of PTI -- who is also the father of NDTV executive editor and anchor Nidhi Razdan -- engineered a division in the PTI employees union causing prolonged workers' unrest, even violence, and leading to firing of several employees. The division in the PTI employees union -- which was effected by handing favours to the workers who sided with Razdan -- weakened the collective bargaining power of the workers as well as the voices of dissent and turned PTI into an even more authoritarian organisation than what it already was. As for his own career, Razdan had such a relationship with the governing board that he got many extensions to his tenure as editor-in-chief and CEO of PTI, which added up to about 15 years over his age of retirement. All service norms were twisted to favour Razdan who drew top-bracket salaries and perks for over two decades during his stewardship of PTI. His salary was reported to be Rs 25 lakh per month early this year when he was reported to have finally retired.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Prannoy Roy is ‘independent media’ and Kejriwal is ‘Swaraj’

We 1.3 billion Indians are “officially” living under “Goonda Raj” because Business Standard columnist Ajai Shukla’s former employer Prannoy Roy is being investigated by the CBI for allegedly causing losses of Rs 48 crore to ICICI Bank.

“Prannoy Roy of NDTV being raided by IT Dept. (sic) India officially a Goonda Raj, anyone critical of govt will be crushed by official machinery,” Ajai Shukla tweeted on Monday.

What is “official” in India?

That which members of the extended NDTV club say is “official”.

And Prannoy Roy the individual is equal to the “independent media” in India as Nidhi Razdan, another member of the NDTV club, suggested in her tweet on Monday.

“A message to those in the media who are still independent and do their job by fearlessly asking questions. We won't be intimidated,” Razdan tweeted.

NDTV gave a demonstration of its “independence” on Monday by suddenly withdrawing from its website, without a word of explanation to the writer or the readers, a blog -post authored by sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra in which he lays bare some of the dirty tricks and false propaganda that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been employing to smear members of his own party.

The blog post headlined ‘Yeh hain Arvind Kejriwal ke Brahmastra’ was uploaded on NDTV Hindi website late Sunday evening. That’s when I read it.

It was no longer on the website this morning.

Linked below is an Aaj Tak report based on Kapil Mishra’s blog post.

Mishra tweeted this morning about the removal of his blog-post from NDTV Hindi site.

बहादुर @ndtv ने AK की सच्चाई वाला मेरा ब्लॉग बिना बताये हटाया। AK का नाम आते ही NDTV के लिए सिर्फ बागों में बहार है।

Censoring material that favourite politicians like Kejriwal find uncomfortable is just one instance of the “independent” journalism that NDTV does.

It has long been acting as Kejriwal’s propaganda aid, serving to spread his canards, as I explained in a blog-post of my own on 15 May.

I wrote about how NDTV had put out a ridiculous story based on information from unnamed AAP “sources” (obviously Kejriwal or his gang) about a “coup” attempted by party member Kumar Vishwas against the ‘Supremo’.

Kejriwal, the NDTV Indian of the Year 2011, has been duly returning the favour to his old friend “Dr. Roy”.

“We strongly condemn raids on Dr Roy n NDTV group. Its an attempt to silence independent and anti-establishment voices,” Kejriwal tweeted on Monday.

Nobody knows more about “independent and anti-establishment voices” in the media than Kejriwal.

In March 2014, he famously declared that TV channels had been paid “heavy amounts” to promote Narendra Modi and that, if his party came to power, he would send all of those media people to jail.

(The Broadcast Editors Association had then condemned Kejriwal's "irresponsible" statement with the words that “BEA feels that such statements are a conspiracy to dilute the credibility of media.")

It’s a different story that it’s Kejriwal who was caught on camera the same month pre-scripting and fixing an interview with Punya Prasun Bajpai of Aaj Tak.

And I still remember the summer of 2011 when Kejriwal personally told me that he’d had enough of Shekhar Gupta (editor of Indian Express which was then acerbically critical of Anna Hazare-led Jan Lokpal Andolan) and “we are now looking for some ‘material’ on him” to pay him back.

As for “Dr. Roy” of NDTV and Arvind Kejriwal, it has been a long association.

I can trace it at least to 2009 when I was working with Kejriwal on ‘National RTI Awards’ and NDTV was one of our media partners in publicizing some of the success stories emerging from that exercise.

Kejrwal then had a hotline with “Dr. Roy”. I recall “Dr. Roy” sometimes directly texting Kejriwal from his summer retreat in Dehradun.

But then, it was a time when Kejriwal’s love affair with the media was blossoming.

ZEE News (of Subhash Chandra, now a BJP-sponsored member of the Rajya Sabha) had even given him a 15-minute exclusive slot in the evening on 3-4 days of a week to explain his concept of ‘Swaraj’ to the public.

Kejriwal has long since fallen out with ZEE News and has been branding that and some other channels as biased against him.

Far from sending to jail media people, who received “heavy amounts” to promote Modi, Kejriwal the Chief Minister has been appointing journalists on the governing bodies of colleges in Delhi as the Caravan article linked below explains.

“Sharad Sharma, a reporter at NDTV who is on the governing body of Kamla Nehru College with (Saba) Naqvi, has written paeans to Kejriwal’s honesty and integrity on NDTV in Hindi,” said the Caravan article published in June 2016.

“When he went to cover a rally last year before the elections, where Kejriwal was due to appear, he wrote about the ever-increasing crowds to see Kejriwal thus: “the crowd not only listens to Kejriwal, but shouts slogans when he pauses for a break between his words.”

So Kejriwal has a very exacting definition of “independent and anti-establishment voices” in the media.

Meeting his standards is as difficult as putting Sheila Dikshit or Mukesh Ambani in jail.

I still remember Kejriwal was curiously never asked about the clearly dubious nature of the 'political alternative' drama staged in July-Aug 2012 (the last round of Anna Hazare-led Jan Lokpal Andolan) when he appeared in NDTV's Hum Log soon after the event, even though he was so nervous (through fear that somebody would ask that question) that he blurted out that "it could not have been staged".

That Hum Log programme was hosted by Ravish Kumar who often talks very piously of how an intolerant establishment is bearing down on media's right to ask questions.

But then, don’t forget what the members of the extended NDTV club or “honest” politicians like Kejriwal tell you.

Prannoy Roy = “independent media" in India.

CBI investigation into Prannoy Roy’s financial skulduggery = “official Goonda Raj” in India.

Kejriwal = ‘Swaraj’ in India.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

'Muslim' and Quran-loving Rana Ayyub alleges being discriminated against in India

Journalist Rana Ayyub finds problematic actor Naseeruddin Shah's view "that Muslims must stop feeling victimized" in her article published on 04 June 2017 on NDTV website.

That's hardly possible, she says, "when every day you have videos emerging asking Muslims to chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' before they are thrashed and cattle traders are lynched in public." 

Ayyub thinks Muslims like her have been left feeling like "second class citizen" in India.

Here is what I feel about Rana Ayyub's article.

Rana Ayyub starts her article by marking herself off by the label 'Muslim', implying that she is fundamentally different from those who don't get the label 'Muslim', and then goes on to complain about all kinds of discrimination that she and her supposedly fellow 'Muslims' have had to face! 

Her line of reasoning: 'I define myself by a label that is exclusive of the majority of Indians and yet I am going to complain that I am being discriminated against by those whom my label discriminates against'! 

('Indians' should never discriminate against 'Muslims' even though 'Muslims' by identifying themselves as 'Muslims' discriminate against 'Indians'.) 

Ayyub glorifies Quran by asserting, quite incredibly, that this book "has given the world some of the best physicists and mathematicians like Ibn Sina who would probably mock at the theory that the world was flat". 

Even some of the self-labelled 'Muslims' would be embarrassed by the ridiculous and false nature of that statement. 

She doesn't say a word on the publicly available knowledge that adherence to Islam is inseparable from the frightful distinctions that Quran draws between 'Muslims' and non-'Muslims', including ideas of war against infidels, Islamic state, and the treatment of non-'Muslims'. 

It's as if the Quran has no Surah like 2:191-193 (besides others) that says "kill them (disbelievers) wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers."

Since this Quran-loving woman is pointing out "fallacies" in a man's (Naseerudding Shah's) argument, it may also be instructive to talk about another irrevocable distinction that the 'book of Allah' makes. 

Surah 2:228 says, 'men are a degree above women', and Surah al-Baqarah (2:282-283) says, 'in testimony, two women are equivalent to one man'.

So much for a book producing "some of the best physicists and mathematicians"! 

Yoga -- and India -- has nothing to do with colonial-imperial system called 'religion'

In this video clip of a TV discussion on International Yoga Day posted on YouTube, a woman anchor and two men discuss the nature and purpose...