RMF Summary: Week of March 23 - 29, 2013

March 24 (continuing discussion)
Pope Francis calls for "respect" for all religions
Is it the first time that a pope said something like this? If true Rajivji's stand on mutual respect is accepted:Pope Francis calls for 'respect...

Tariyal comments: "... pope will never give equal respect to the Dharmic people. This is because of the fundamental dogma of Christianity that man is a born sinner and he or she can only be saved through Jesus Christ. Also the old testament forbids worshipping of false gods. To give equal respect to us will mean they would not be Christians any more. So an avowed Christian respecting our Dharmic traditions is an oxymoron. Cannot happen. Can only happen if the person will give up the core dogma, which means he or she is not a Christian anymore."

Alex responds: "Reg. [] Tariyal's following comments, I would like to, as a Christian respectfully offer the following comments:

"A true Christian especially a pope will never give equal respect to the Dharmic people."

While I do not know whether the new Pope is hypocritical or not when he spoke about respecting all faiths, but I do know that Dr. Tariyal is factually
incorrect when he says that a "true Christian will never give equal respect to the Dharmic people".

There are hundreds of millions of "true" Christians all over the world, who do take seriously the admonitions of Jesus of Nazareth to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" & "love thy neighbor as thyself". They are all required to give equal respect to followers of all faiths, Dharmic religions included.

.... Jesus was preaching to the Jews in the role of a Rabbi who was trying to reform the Jewish religion. He did not "establish" Christianity. His followers established that faith which got interpreted in many different ways and
generated many sects of Christianity, just as it happened in all religions including Sanatana Dharma.

.... Those statements of Dr. Tariyal, I submit are based on his own interpretation of Christianity. And, it is very unfortunate that Dr.Tariyal has been too quick to
generalize without perhaps having interacted with true followers of the tenets of Jesus who value more than anything, first, the golden rule of do unto others
as you would have them do unto you and second,to love thy neighbor as thyself.

Such Christians are in the millions and so are many millions in the Dharmic faiths who do not hold []Tariyal's views nor are they as vehement as he is in
asserting as to who is a Christian and who is not.

Belief in God is a deeply personal matter and respecting one's neighbor requires the humility not to be judgmental in proclaiming who is a true follower of one religion or another. That is best left to the believer and his or her

Not withstanding Dr.Tariyal's assertion, I as a follower of the tenets of Jesus of Nazareth, do respect and love people of all faiths and I also respect and love those who profess no faith in God. ..."

Rajiv comment: ... So how do I recommend reconciling these views?

Though Tariyal ji means well, I find that most Hindus lack adequate understanding of Christianity, and hence they conflate too many things into simplistic categories. To be able to discuss with credibility in well-informed
forums, Hindus must learn the important differences among each of the following aspects of Christianity:

1) Jesus' own utterances.
2) Bible as a collection of utterances by many voices of which Jesus is just one. (This means Bible cannot be seen as shruti, but evaluated as smriti - like a purana perhaps.) Pls note that there are many persons who reject Bible as
literal word while worshiping Jesus.
3) Theologies formulated by numerous persons since Jesus onwards.
4) Belief systems of the Catholic Church.
5) Belief systems of the Eastern Orthodox Church. (Alex belongs here.)
6) Belief systems of the mainline Protestant Churches.
7) Belief systems of the non-mainline Protestants - pentacostals, mormons, etc.
8) Philosophies of numerous Christian rebels today, who in turn are also having many diverse views amongst themselves...

It is better to articulate an issue, and invite the other party to respond with a stand. Let each Christian thus be able to decide for himself where he stands.

In this spirit. I request Alex to inform us of his stand (which may have nothing to do with some institutional "Christianity" per se) on the Nicene Creed as it
relates to Hindu tenets. Specifically:
- does he accept it literally or metaphorically?
- what is the status of Hindu avataras, deities such as Shiva, Devi, etc?
- how does he see principles like karma-reincarnation?
- what is his position on conversions being done in India?"

Maria adds:
"Alex is right that there are millions of ‘respectful’ Christians who love Jesus and would never convert anyone. However, that is not the point.  Christianity and Islam (and each sect of them) claim that they are the only true faith. They indoctrinate their flock. Before each mentioning of “Catholic Church” in Germany, there was the prefix “alleinseligmachende”, which means “which can alone give salvation”. .....Most Christians at least in Europe, would not condone conversion; in fact, many do not even believe that conversion is still happening today.

The point is that the different Churches are on a conversion spree in India and probably in many other places, too. So if the Pope wants to give respect, he cannot possibly condone trying by hook and crook (that’s what happens) to convert Hindus. He would have to make an announcement to this effect if he was sincere..."

Alex responds to Rajiv:
"...my article on Proselytization in India which was subsequently published in Sulekha. Its link is provided below. .... recommend that they read the last page where I have sought the inclusion of a prohibition against Proselytization in the UN's Declaration of Human Rights. The link below will answer the last item on your list, viz., my position on religious conversions in India.

... Reg. Nicene Creed, though my Church believes in the Nicene Creed (431 CE) I do not! The Church has every right to ex-communicate me if it chooses to do so for
that... But, there are far too many like me who do not subscribe to everything that the Church demands. I also do not believe as many others also do not, that the Bible is inerrant. Thank God, the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not believe in the infallibility of their Patriarchs! For me, the Jefferson's Bible is quite sufficient for my understanding of the teachings of Jesus.

Reg. Hindu avatars, deities, Shiva, Devi etc…the way I understand avatars is that they are different manifestations of the transcendent God...

For me, Shiva is the Supreme God of Shaivites, also called Mahadeva. Devi (if you mean Shiva's consort Parvati) is the Supreme manifestation of Shakti which
showers unconditional love on all her children. Interestingly, in the Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Holy Spirit is called Shekinah (feminine) as is the case in Judaism. Shekinah is also endowed with the power of showering unconditional love on all of `creation".

Reg. Karma, I do not see any contradiction between that concept in Sanatana Dharma and orthodox Christianity. For e.g., In Galatians (6:7) it is stated that "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". I also believe that one does not have to wait for the next birth to reap the outcomes of one's action.

Reg. Reincarnation, there is some evidence in the Bible, that the Jews also believed in reincarnation. For e.g. In Matthew 11:14, Jesus speculated that John the Baptist could be Elijah, the Old Testament prophet reincarnated! In John 9:2, some disciples of Jesus brought a blind man to be healed by Jesus and asked Jesus, "whose sin is this, this man's or his parent's?" I tend to believe in both more than I reject them outright. But, in my Eastern Orthodox Church, both Karma and Reincarnation are not accepted.

..While all religions preach that in one form or another, it is unfortunate that both the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated and being a true and loving neighbor are both breached more often than they are followed. ... I am an American of Christian faith and
a Hindu by culture. That self-identification is my privilege and not of the Church or any one else for that matter."

Rajiv comment: I am glad Alex accepted the invite to respond to questions. This egroup should be a forum for respectful discussions even when we disagree. Let
us maintain that tone and continue the thread. "

Maria asks Alex:
"... intrigued why you still identify as a Christian, even though you (like me) fall clearly into the ‘heretics’ category and if we had lived a few centuries earlier, our lives would have been in danger. I may oversimplify again (my forte, Rajivji), but in my view whatever is good and helpful in Christianity is there already since long in Hindu Dharma (and there is even much much more that is helpful) and what is bad and divisive in Christianity, both of us have rejected. But since there is no pick and choose option in Christianity, both of us are basically not Christians anymore.
... could you imagine considering yourself a Hindu by culture who has Jesus as his Ishta devata? Keeping all songs, prayers, rituals, but considering him as one among many different ‘ways’ that can lead to the truth? ...."

Alex answers:
".....there is no religion that has all its followers adhering to everything that religions demand or their "dogmas" dictate. Sanatana Dharma is no exception to this.

All faiths, including Christianity and its different denominations have their own "dogmas". ... rational human beings think for themselves as to what is sensible and what is not for them to maintain their relationship with their understanding of "God".

In fact, I know that even among Christians (as in other faiths) there are agnostics who still go to their places of worship for social reasons or as an "insurance" against their "wrong bets"! ...

Do all Sanatana Dharmis, be they Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Lingayats, or whatever, do they follow all of their respective "creedal" requirements? No, they do not. If one were to apply your logic, they should not consider themselves Sanatana Dharmis. (I make a distinction between Hinduism which is a culture of the Indian subcontinent and Sanatana Dharma which is the religion of the large majority of the people of the Indian subcontinent.)

I would also venture to say that the large majority of most of the World's Religions do not follow everything that their respective religions proclaim as their "dogmas". As to your assertion, that there is no "pick and choose" option in Christianity, I submit that you are in error, that is if you have observed the behavior of "practicing Christians". For example, this is the season of Lent. Do you really believe that all "practicing" Christians observe fasting and or avoid eating meat, fish etc?

Finally, why I remain a Christian you ask... I find that the more I read Advaita Vedanta, the more congruence I find between the seminal sayings of Jesus and what I find in Vedanta. I see my religious identity and other identities as "my" labels and I see no reason to change any of them: I am an Indian by birth, American by naturalization, Christian by faith and Hindu by culture. ... I am not ashamed of any of my identities, nor will I ever consider courteous for anyone else to define the "purity" of my faith or challenge the legitimacy of any of my identities since I have earned them all by legitimate and rational means. ..." 

tvikhanas asks Alex:
" 1. You admit that Bible is fallible but at the same time you feel compelled to see traces of karma and reincarnation in Bible (a position contradicting the
official position). Why do you feel the need to find these ideas in Bible?

2. You say you are culturally a Hindu. What does it translate to in practice? How do we prevent main stream predatory churches from using that as a shield for

3. Is it even possible to separate Hindu thought into "cultural" and "religious" buckets? These concepts like "secularism" evolved in an different milleu and cannot be applied so easily to India. As an organically evolving entity, every aspect of Indic "culture" is tied to "religion"; there is no clean demarcation.
Thus, the reason for putting bindi/tilak is not merely cultural or fashion.

4. Through the examples of narrow minded Hindus you claim that even the so called followers of Dharma are not really following it and that one can follow Dharma even though one doesn't belong to the traditional schools. This I think every true follower of Dharma will grant: there are no clubs to belong to be "dharmic". But the reverse is not true. If you belong to some clubs you will be
prevented from following (or at least it will be very hard) Dharma. ...Does that bother you?

5. As you pointed out there are narrow minded individuals among Hindus as well and as you say that's human nature. The question is are these lower impulses
empowered by the religion. In case of Hinduism there is no sanction for them. There is no main stream text or acharya that sanctions narrow minded sectarianism and vast majority freely visit all temples. The same is not true
for Christianity and Islam which explicitly exploit the lowest fears & drives in their quest for domination. And the fruits of these religions can be seen in their core followers. " 

Surya responds to Alex:
"...You most certainly do not have to justify your faith to anyone. You do not have to justify or feel compelled to explain and defend your faith in Jesus as your savior. It is entirely your choice and you choice will be respected on this board because you have respected the freedom and
choice of those who follow Dharma traditions. That is the only way for mutual respect.

You see the sad predicament though. When you take proselytization and digestion out, there is no need to fight, be on the offensive. Restraint in your comments as you fend off attacks shows that.

Dharma traditions face the same. Unfortunately, the digesting or proselytizing religions (or sects) do not relent. They see the failure of the other side to respond as an opportunity to go for a kill. To be clear, digestion also exists in the secular variant of Western Universalism which is focused on hegemony and civilizational intolerance. Proselytization and digestion are offensive,
intolerant, and disrespectful.

.....Unfortunately, many Christians of Indian descent are becoming increasingly this way too. Hopefully, forum members read your comments and see you in a different light." 

Rajiv responds:
"I agree with Surya below that we should close this thread and it has served a good purpose. My own conclusions are:
- Alex is not required to defend all Christians or the Church, when he has already written extensively against proselytizing. When a man distances himself from some institution, its silly asking him to defend that institution or blame him for the conduct of other members.
- Given the above, he is only explaining his own PERSONAL faith, and the rest is rendered irrelevant.
- We need to encourage more Christians to be like him, i.e. challenge from within that system of belief.
- Asking him to become like us means having one less Christian ally and just one more Hindu.
- Having said all this, I want to now clarify: Alex's "sameness" is from Christianity leading towards Hinduism. I WOULD NOT ENCOURAGE THE REVERSE DIRECTION, I.E. WHERE HINDUS ADVOCATE SAMENESS TOWARDS CHRISTIANITY. Yes, this is a double standard but I am prepared to defend it. While Christians are well
grounded in identity based on history-centrism, most Hindus are confused/morons. Therefore, advocating sameness is ill-advised now. Playing the game of diplomacy towards other faiths requires expertise that is well over the heads of most Hindus, incl most Hindu leaders. So its best avoided until we first achieve a
much higher standard of identity formation. That is the goal for BD to initiate." 

Arun comments:
"In the spirit of Being Different, we would recognize and appreciate the many strains of Christianity, and know that some of them do live with mutual respect with us; and some of them don't. (This is a matter of lived experience, and not a matter that can be decided by theory.)

Further, we do not grant the followers of the intolerant varieties of Christianity the power to decide "who is a true Christian"? They can make their judgment, we are not obliged to accept it.

Incidentally, we make the same mistake with Islam - we implicitly or explicitly agree with the fundamentalists that they own the definition of "who is a true Muslim? " .." 

Anantha asks:
"I've heard a lot of people say "I'm culturally Hindu but Christian by religion". However, it strikes me as extremely telling that I have never heard anyone say "I'm culturally Christian but Hindu by religion". ... is it indeed possible to be "Christian by culture and Hindu by religion"? If yes, then what does living such a life entail?" 

Surya responds to Anantha's question:
"Rajivji's concepts of integral and synthetic unity explain your questions.

For Dharma traditions culture is not separate from their traditions.  Much has been written on this forum on how music, dance, and other art forms are integral to Dharma traditions. Thus, one cannot separate "religion" from "culture" with Dharma traditions.  A Hindu is confused to hear such statements because, even unknowingly, such integral unity is deep rooted.   

Ravi Zachariah, a Christian apologist, said that when other religions were absorbed into Christianity only their culture was retained in Christianity.  He uses this to explain to new converts to drop their "religion" but keep the culture if they want.  Rajivji calls this synthetic unity which could be for any number of reasons including opportunistic maneuvering.  In India, this is going on in the name of inculturation.

Rajivji explains that inculturation of integral aspects of Dharma is really digestion.  Digestion has happened before.  Pagan religions disappeared but the "Christmas tree" has been digested and still survives.

Rajivji has explained as "Himsa" when something integral such as Bharatanatyam is being separated out and treated as secular art form.  A Hindu is flabbergasted to see Jesus mudras in Bharatanatyam not because Christianity will gain social acceptance but because what is integral to Dharma has  been split asunder."
Venkat notes:
"This seems to a case of moderate peaceful Christians vs fundamentalist conversion prone Christians, in this case also good cop vs bad cop.

In India at least, we seldom hear the voices of such moderate peaceful Christians talking against conversions, let alone against the fundamentalists and the harm they are doing to society..."
Rajiv comment: Agreed.

So can we encourage some good cops to break ranks and publicly turn hostile against the proselytizing bad cops? I have seen Alex do just that since the past 2 decades.

This INTERNAL dissent from within Christianity is helpful to us, and we must encourage this. We are not strong enough in the kurukshetra by ourselves to fight the might of well-entrenched powerful nexuses, and we do need allies. "
Wadhwa asks:
".... I would also like to know  stand of Mr.Alex on the following point: 
"Shall mere faith in Christ lead to canceling  or negating  ones sins or bad karmas"? 
Here I would like to add that in a 3 day debate between Swami Dayanand Saraswati and  Dr.T.J. Scott(a Christian missionary), in August 1879, at Barilly one of the subjects discussed was: 'Can sins be pardoned through Grace or repentence?'  The stand of Swamji was that mere faith in Christ cannot help any one in undoing the effect of ones sins or bad karmas. He said that inevitably, every one gets punishment or reward as per each  deed or karma."
Alex responds:
"As to your question reg. "mere faith in Christ alone lead to canceling one's sins/karma etc".

My answer is NO. And, I believe that I can find you support in the New Testament (see: James 2:20., "O vain man, faith without works is dead".) But, please read
the verses above to get the context of my assertion.

I will hasten to add that there are passages elsewhere in the Bible where faith alone will suffice!

In the scriptures of all the world's major faiths, one can find contradictions in texts and the beliefs of its followers. Sanatana Dharma is no exception to this.

May I ask you two questions to highlight this point: 1)why do millions of followers of Sanatana Dharma dip in the Ganges River during Kumbh Mela and believe that by doing so their sins will be forgiven and at least some of their bad karma can be wiped out?

2) Why does the most pluralistic of all faiths that I know and admire greatly (Sanatana Dharma)have sects like Lingayats who shun Krishna/Vishnu and Ayyangars
who shun the worship of Shiva? In my neighborhood, I was glad to see the construction of a Shiva-Vishnu temple, but soon after its construction,the south
Indians Shaivites split off and constructed a Murugan Temple (brother of Ganesh) within the stone throw of the Shiva-Vishnu temple!

All faiths have human failings being superimposed on their respective belief systems. Therefore, in my humble opinion, it is counter-productive to throw stones at the belief systems of others. Worse still is the penchant of some to judge others as to who is a true Christian, true Muslim or true follower of Sanatana Dharma. A fully evolved follower of any faith will know that it is the
height of ignorance to judge another person's purity of faith.

Unlike others who are ridden with "avidya" I would dare not brand or call them as being not "true followers" of Sanatana Dharma because my common code of ethics (not just my faith) has taught me not to judge another's faith or lack of it. If you have the time, please answer my question. Thanks." 

Tariyal responds:
"I agree with the comments of Alex. However, he is defining Christians in his own convenient way. As a follower of teaching of Christ he is correct that millions of people may follow what he follows as a person, and he has elected to call himself a Christian. However, the meaning of Christian as defined by the current Churches, be it Catholic or the various Protestant ones requires that the person believe in the central dogma of Christianity....
.. In summary I do not disagree with the basic sense of Comments by Alex, but I define a true Christian as a follower of the accepted Christian Dogma. And with that Caveat I stand by my comments."
Alex responds:
".... The Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah's witnesses, Church of Christ, & Seventh Day Adventists do not accept the Nicene Creed. A few of these sects do not believe in the Trinity as well. They also call themselves Christians.

Majority of Eastern Orthodox scholars accept inclusivism. While holding the view to the centrality of Christ for themselves,they acknowledge that salvation
can be found outside of Christianity. And, I must add that they do not proselytize.

Contrary to your assertion, there is no accepted dogma to subscribe to for anyone to call himself/herself as a true Christian. It is between the follower of that faith and his conscience to determine as to whether he or she is being
true to his/her ishta Devata.

I would never ever dare to judge you or assert that you are not behaving as a true follower of Sanatana Dharma because of your expressed eagerness to judge
others like me, since that can be construed as due to avidya, a common failing of the human condition brought about by one's inability to subordinate one's ego.

..... By the way, if you would google the World Council of Churches (WCC), and query "salvification outside the church" you will be surprised to find that there are many other Christian sects (besides mine) which concede that there are indeed other faith systems by which a human being can find salvation. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church is not yet a full member of the WCC. Hope Pope Francis will join that organization which also has come out against proselytization, but not to the extent that I would like WCC to do...." 

March 25
Saket asks: In Hindu traditions the practice is to cremate the body after death. However I have observed that when a human is less than one year old that is navjat , in Hindu traditions he is buried.  Can someone highlight why this minor exception is made in case of navjat?  

Devendra responds:
"Hindu traditions do have reasons behind their rituals. Death ceremony is also considered an important ritual. One reason behind burial of a child,as opposed to cremation,upon his death is that he has not yet developed attachment to his body,so there is no need to destroy it by cremation..."

Vishwa adds:
"Do note that the pre-Vedic Indus Valley civilization had many burial grounds. Burial was quite a common practice in that civilization." 

KK comments:
"For infants and Sanyasis and Saints, there is no unfulfilled/pending Karma that might attract the 'Jeeva' to hover around the dead body, hence no harm in burying. In the case of Sant-Mahaatmaas, even their 'dead' body helps the followers by inspiring duty/devotion.

For all others, merging with Pancha Bhootas/the last Yaaga is one thing as also the possibility that if they are unable to let go of their Naama-Roopa even after physical death burning on a pyre might ensure an easier onward journey.....nothing to 'go back to'
Pregnant women are also not cremated,... " 

Ashok adds: "......perhaps we ought to look at ourselves a bit to see why is it that Hindus convert. Could it be that we do treat some if our own less favourably and they do not feel supported?
As Rajiv ji has earlier pointed out, there are two levels of religion. One consists of those like me who just practice it (and are the vast majority, the followers) and those that deal with it at a higher level and are in a position to discuss issues with their counterparts in other religions. These would be our Akhara leaders, our saints, our Shankaracharyas and our intellectuals like Rajiv ji. As a 'follower' I would only interact with 'followers' of other religions. Anyway, coming back to the point, today I feel betrayed by those in power in my own religion. And I am neither the oppressed nor financially challenged. 
Perhaps we need to look at ourselves and discuss ways of supporting our oppressed brethren in addition to of course supporting our intellectuals with our voice thoughts,minds and pockets. "

[there are some personal and poignant discussions here that are left out].
March 27
Interesting paper questioning Western Universalism in Psychology
Alakshendra shares: I just came across this interesting paper which states that broad claims about human psychology and behaviour based on narrow samples from Western societies are regularly published and questions the practise. It makes a very interesting read. Specially the term WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic) used for the folks of the west ...

Below is a part of the paper which you might like:
Research in moral psychology also indicates that non-Western adults and Western religious conservatives rely on a wider range of moral principles than amorality of justice ..... In sum,the high,secular Western populations that have been the primary target of study thus far appear unusual in a global context, based on their peculiar reliance on a single foundation for moral reasoning (based on justice and individual rights).

The paper also describes the commonalities and the nuances of American from the rest of the west"

Rajiv adds: "A great bit of research that illustrates how Western Universalism (in this case in the field of psychology and ethics) has been wrongfully imposed upon other cultures. It is amazing how many "eminent" Indian psychologists have adopted such WU ideas."
March 27
video of padre casper raj who is seen in every riot out of TN.
Chandra shares: video of padre casper raj who is seen in every riot out of TN. Embroiled in 2G scam too. Should Lankan players be made hostage to politics? ... 


RMF Summary: Week of March 17 - 23, 2013

The first discussion started last week as a comment on the seemingly unfair treatment to Hindu institutions in India. The discussion trajectory has turned into a very useful debate. Is Hinduism a religion? a way of life? or it is something else? What exactly is it?

March 18 (continuing from March 15)
[from member Kiran ] Just wanted to post this news I read amongst the group members to get their suggestions on what should be done for the kind of... 

Ganesh adds:
".... This news is just a re-run of what appeared in 2012.

As you can see, there's a mere re-wording of the above article. Typical of ToI to grab eyeballs by filling up spaces with such re-runs. Indian journalism has no ethical values, whatsoever.

This link .. gives a much more details analysis on how to understand this tax angle to this issue. Expense on worship of Hindu Gods and temple maintenance cannot be regarded to be for religious purpose "

Arun responds:
"As per the Economics Times article... the Income Tax Tribunal cited the 1954 ruling of the Supreme Court, in COMMISSIONER, HINDU RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS, MADRAS V/S SRI LAKSHMINDRA THIRTHA SWAMIAR OF SRI SHIRUR MUTT.

The judgement can be downloaded via the Supreme Court of India web-site. I've read it and the Income Tax Tribunal is wrong. In the 1954 judgment, the Court ruled that religion is not just a matter of doctrine, it also includes
practices, and the prescribed rituals in Hindu puja are religious acts and therefore under the freedom of religion, Article 26 of the Constitution, cannot be regulated by the state.

In this case, it seems to be that the Income Tax Department says that the Shiva Sansthan is a religious, not a charitable institution, and therefore contributions to it are not tax-exempt, and the Tribunal overruled that saying
that pooja, etc., are not religious. This may help some Hindus fund their organizations, but it also opens up the specter of state regulation - the protection of freedom of religion will no longer apply, if the IT Tribunal
decision finds its way into the judiciary..."  

Ravindra comments:
"......you can not translate Dharma as religion, and that is clearly one of our failings. For example, every finite entity has Dharma. Space has Dharma, Air, water, fire, earth all have Dharma. The friendship has Dharma, a wife has dharma. In fact Dharma patni has no analogue of "religion wife". And that is what it would have been if Dharma was translated as religion. And Air, water, space, tree, animals have no religion. Clearly Dharma is pointing to something that religion is not pointing to. Dharma in fact refers to the sustaining and supporting principles of an entity whose Dharma is under consideration. It arises from two sanskrit roots, Dhr(from Dhrinya) + Ma (from Mange through an unadi suffixing.

Pooja also does not mean worship, it arises from Po +Jaayate. i.e by which pavitrataa grows or is born. So Pooja is a mechanism to remove your internal and external Mala (dirt). Removing that makes one pavitra and saatvicta grows. So it is not worship. To tis extent it is fine.

But the question is why should a religion (that is an alien construct of different land) get the preference for tax status and not Dharma based on Inidian ethos. That is what Hindus should fight for. In fact if because Dharma is not religion, all Dharma texts must be mandatory learning in schools, since now secularism can to b eased to by pass learning of India's internal knowledge and ethos. That I believe should be the real battle. In fact Dharma and the associated Samskrut should be made foundation of development, since it will not violate the secular principles, because Dharma is not religion" 

Brahma suggests an alternative:
"It is true to say "Dharma" cannot be translated as "religion ... But it is also important that we don't allow the Abrahamic paradigm of religion stand as the only denotative/connotative content for the word "religion," in the field of thought/discourse. This leads to the ridiculous and very dangerous statement that "Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life" (originally declared by an Irish Catholic Priest, according to Swami Chinmayananda) which we see now playing out in this tax debacle.

Rajiv comment: I disagree. It is better to REPLACE the statement "Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life" with the accurate statement:
 "Hinduism is not a religion but a dharma". 

Now you must know how to explain what dharma is and how it differs. That's what BD was written to be able to do.

This issue is where S.N. Balagangadhara failed. He wrote one book many, many years ago. All it did was to say that "religion" comes from an earlier word that got distorted. But so what? How does that help us? Besides that is a well know point by zillions of westerner themselves. He NEVER defines dharma in term of positive qualities. He also makes the mistake of saying things like "Hindus (or maybe Indians?) lacked the notion of science", when he ought to have introduced the notion of adhyatma-vidya as inner science. Ditto for the claim that Hindus lack ethics when the point ought to be to explain how dharmic ethics differs.

His was the typical postcolonial critique of the West and its religion category, but like all post-colonialists to date, it was unsuccessful in replacing this with anything positive about dharma itself. In BD I explain that postodernists
criticize Western universalism without any alternative worldview to replace it with. This leaves a vacuum, and hence we have a generation of "intellectual morons" who are not grounded." 
Saket shares a link:
Hence at least for this one word which I feel is most important, members may refer to this book which explains this one word.

DHARMA The Global Ethic by Justice M Rama Jois ..."

March 18
Rajiv Malhotra shares a link:  In the 1990s I had numerous personal discussions as well email exchanges
with a Marxist who had left that tradition in search of new ideas. I argued varna as an organizing principle that has some merit to consider. While I did not pursue the matter after a few years of discussions/debates with him, it seems he continued that line of thinking and influenced various others to take this up. Now there seems to be a tiny beginning of such thought in respectable circles.

The above article should make many of you smile. Its a Post-Marxist view of varna. I have not read the major book that is being announced:

No doubt there are many issues we will find with his treatment from a strictly dharma interpretation. But I consider such openings an opportunity for us to show intellectual rigor and vigor in order to take the ideas forward.

Sudhir responds:
"Ravi Batra who is a professor of economics in South Methodist University in Texas has written a book

Quite a old one but it touches on the merchant class, soldier class, proletariat class and the intellectual class. He goes into the history of the world using this and on the basis of this understanding he believes India, US and Europe are at a phase of merchant class dominating the planet ...

...He is a follower of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar who made 'Anandmarg' famous or infamous... PR Sarkar apparently has written extensively on this issue. I do not subscribe to their views but its worth considering.

My take after reading your book - BD- is the reason why we are seeing a downfall of west ( And I am sure its perhaps in the best interest of Dharma that the west
falls) is they lack integral unity. The people who make money feel no responsibility for the world at large. Thats manifested as exploitation of the world in the pursuit of happYness (moneyness).

Varnashram is looked down upon by elite Indians with western education as they believe it encourages 'Brahmanism'."

Jayant adds: "The analysis of the author is good but when talking about 'Varnas' one should not forget that its Varnashrama Dharma. The word Dharma attached to it make the whole difference in the context of India.

In India ruling class was always Kshatriyas and there was no conflict among the castes for domination. In other varnaless civilizations, such competition may have taken place. "

March 19
Oxford Hindu centre looks for permanent base
Saket posts: The Oxford center for Hindu Studies is trying to raise 1 million pounds to become an international hub of Hindu studies.

Rajiv comment: I was invited by them when it first opened to give a talk. Then it was called Center for Vaishnav Studies. I recommended they change the name and scope to include Hindu Studies, and I am glad they did that. But the rest of the story is not so good. ....They wanted recognition by their peers rather than the courage to stand up to them. Gradually, I saw Judeo-Christian digestion of Hinduism being encouraged. This is done in a subtle way via speakers, visiting professors, etc. who on the surface are teaching "positive" things about Hinduism. Yes, they are better than the blatant Hinduphobia in some places (which also has quietened down over the past 20 years since I started calling out their biases). But they are not going to name names of fellow academics - without which it is useless.

Three important (positive) things happened as a result of my visit:

1) I ran into Ursula King accidentally after my talk, as the group walked to dinner. Her work became important in my subsequent research - she was the PhD adviser to Anantanand Rambachan dissertation. More in my forthcoming book.

2) I finally managed to get a nice picture of the huge carving of William Jones and the Pandits.I used it for the cover of our book...

3) I discovered English translations of Pierre Bourdieu from French. I have considered this is important to my research.

After that episode which was probably in the 1990s, I was never invited, and never went back. I kept criticizing them as I saw them slip into encouraging the digestion of Hinduism, especially Vaishnavism, into Judeo-Christianity. They want naive Hindus of which there are plenty to give them lots of money, in exchange for putting their smiling faces next to some white people who are supposedly "prestigious" to be associated with.

Kirit comments:
"In the link below about Oxford news, Shri Rishi Das stated, "Religious studies doesn't really exist in India so we want to help them and anyone in the community understand Hinduism."

What a arrogance and ignorance! .... To me it seems that Oxford center itself is taking shape of a camouflaged "tiger", and it would be in the interest of Dharma to engage with them diplomatically and slowly help them understand BD.  

Rajiv comment: The statement is valid that ACADEMIC STUDY of Hinduism is virtually non existent in India. I have raised this issue and given talks on it for 2 decades. We organized a few large conferences in India to spread awareness of the issue. The comment above betrays a common ignorance - not knowing the distinction between academic study of religion and he teaching by gurus, acharyas, etc.

At the same time, it is dangerous to let western religious studies folks be the ones who export their model of religious studies to India. Unfortunately this is whats happening in a big way. Both the western exporters and the Indian importers are engaged with enthusiasm. ..... we are still ignorant as the above comment suggests, on the distinction between emic and etic approaches.

This post by Kirit lead to a followup from Kusum with responses (numbered for clarity) from Rajiv:
1. Rajivji mentions that Academic Study of Hinduism is virtually non-existent in India. While I agree partially, I feel that there are institutions that I have personally visited and feel that they could be better than any outfit in the world...

Rajiv: I made this case a hundred times in the past years. Nothing new. But have you gone beyond blue sky into actual implementation exercises, to get experience and be able to articulate based on that?

2. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not nurture what is already there? The two places that come to mind are the ones I have visited, albeit briefly. The first one is Banaras Hindu University (BHU). I was there last month and met with the VC and heads of other departments. While the main purpose of my visit was a different one (Greening & restoration of pilgrimage sites),  I found the leadership open to new ideas.... he promised any help needed.

Rajiv: Again, this is the typical Hindu habit of always starting from scratch ... Watch the Youtubes from my day long seminar on BD at BU. See the BD videos at the web site. I got to know the dean, dept heads, etc far more than your "meeting" suggests. Yes, they talked big as expected. But no action after...The BHU folks are so digested that its sad.

3. Would it be possible to convince BHU to establish a world-class School of Hindu Studies?  All the apparatus are already in place. What if there were to be a collaborative effort with a US university?

Rajiv: What would it take to get out people to move beyond the ad hoc "off the top of head" ideas which everyone is so full of? ...

.....When asked for CONCRETE deliverables the person usually runs away. I no longer waste time chasing such "offers". Sorry. Its for YOU to get hands dirty and then develop something concrete....

...But hope you read prior thread where I explained our funding a decade ago to U of Hawaii to start a project to teach purva paksha of the west to Sanskrit pandits in Indian universities? As a serious scholar surely you will work hard to do some due diligence on all this stuff and not discuss so superficially. Especially when lots was done before and lots of lessons available to learn from.

Kaushal adds:
"BHU: Except the term Hindu in its name, it has nothing to do with Hinduism. BHU is a central university, similar to JNU. Of course, BHU has its own history being started by Shree M. M. Malviya ji. But today, they are things of past. .... occupied by the same set of "digested & sold Intellectuals", whom RM has been criticizing here.

Why not look towards our traditional Math and Akhara. They are the real defenders of our Dharma. They gave their life and blood to protect it in worst of scenario in the past. But, they are neglected in independent Bharat where Hindus are well off.

If you want to do something, plz do think once in this direction. Rajiv ji gave a session in Dharma Sansad in Ahmedabad to explain the issues mentioned in BD. It will take some time and effort, but it will help Dharma
in real terms.

Rajiv comment: This is a true observation about BHU. It got secularized over the past several governments in the type of appointments and selection of activities.

Besides, there is ZERO competence in other religions, making a broad Religious Studies not viable. The changes required would be sweeping to say the least."   

Pushpa adds:
"....Interesting topic that needs to be explored further. I do have some questions though.
First & foremost, does the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies (OCHS) have a mandate to represent all Hindus? Second, is OCHS an entity of U of Oxford ? Third, who is Shaunaka Rishi Das the guy who calls the shots at OCHS?...."

Rajiv comment: ... The person(s) in charge have encouraged digestion by the type of visiting scholars and lecturers they selected. Not always but often enough to be a concern.  The above statement about OCHS being independent of Oxford U is valid. But gradually over time, such independent centers gain recognition and collaborations become closer. This is how the game is played. Most prominent universities in the US have several such groups that are officially unrelated but exert influence.

Kishor comments:
"Originally it started as OCVS, with full endorsement and support of ISKCON. Later, with a view to gaining universal Hindu approval, they changed this to OCHS. The feelers that I have been getting from ISKCON leaders for last few years indicate that they have distanced themselves from OCHS. Most Hindu orgs here are also keeping distance with OCHS, for they have doubts about the direction OCHS seems to have taken by projecting "scholars" whose presentations, verbal and written, confuse ordinary Hindus, most of whom are devout followers of their respective gurus or sant-mahatmas - the same has happened to ISKCON devotees. Hindu sampradaayik organisations will not touch OCHS even with a barge pole. ...

In the beginning, an eminent Hindu scholar, Shri Kirit Joshi, was appointed, with seconding from Hindujas, to head OCHS, but he disappeared in no time. ...As far as the new generation is concerned, I believe from experience that they are vigilant and far from gullible they enquire and question.

Rajiv comment: Most of the above points match what I know except: Kireet Joshi (whom I have known since the 1990) did his work with Dharam Hinduja Center for
Indic Studies, but that had no relationship with OCHS a far as I was aware. The Hinduja centers were set up in UK, India and USA (at Columbia U) in the memory of the billionaire's son who had died suddenly . Eventually folded. I only knew the folks at Columbia - thats here Jack Hawley was in charge and he nurtured many Hinduphobics in the academy like Jeffrey Kripal, several JNU radical leftists getting trained to be deployed in various academic places. Used Hinduja money and yet lambasted what Hindujas stood for behind their backs.

Kireet Joshi himself is excellent, a great expert on Sri Aurobindo. Now settled in Pondy in not great health.
See: and:

There have been dozens of such initiatives to bring change and these need to be studied in order to learn why they all failed in the end.....This is getting worse as there are more people craving instant prestige as sponsors who are too arrogant and lazy to do their homework...  

Kishor adds: I got OCHS mixed up Hinduja`s  project.
March 19
This thing we call 'Life'
Vish shares some links: For this week, I am tempted to send out a video story - an extremely modern story. It comes with a warning; It is not for the squeamish. It is as real as one...

March 19
Ravi shares: (Interview) Zareer Masani lauds Macaulay, denies the concept of India ...  'Everyone wants to be English-speaking in...

Arun responds:
"... far from being some kind of liberator for the Indian underclass, Macaulayite policies can be considered to be the cause of the massive Indian illiteracy, e.g., less than 10% in 1901.

The argument is as follows - Macaulay's minute of 1835 was the winning argument in a debate about education in India - so you should read the losing side's arguments to know what they were proposing. I do that briefly here:

William Adams, on the losing side of the argument, wanted to use the educational system that Dharampal documented in "The Beautiful Tree" as the foundation for education of Indians.

Macaulay's own thoughts should be noted. He explicitly wrote that English education would be provided only to an Indian elite, and it would be that elite that would educate the masses. It is obvious from this - usually the focus is
on the first sentence; but focus on the second for now:

"We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern - a class of persons, Indian in blood and
colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to redefine the vernacular dialects in the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from Western nomenclature and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population."

So, Zareer Masani is playing to an audience rather than providing any kind of historical truth."

March 19
(Kerala) Catholic Church pressurised Chief Minister not to act preci
Ravi shares: This is an interesting scenario wherein the Vatican-Italian interests appear to precede's India's interests.

The Vatican's nominees in the Kerala Catholic Church interfere and forestall action (on the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian Marines) by pressuring the authorities, following which these two men are allowed to quietly slip away to Italy where they cannot face the Indian judicial system..."

March 21
GURUs & Sanskrit non-translatable usage
Nitin shares snippets from an interesting conversation with a Guru with some following:
"Here is my conversation with one of the Gurus with sizable followers on the net. BD was at full use in trying to convince him of using right terminology. Unfortunately they are simply not aware of the concept of digestion. I'm
shipping him copy of BD.

GURU: ...finally attains salvation
N:Salvation is the wrong word. It indicates saving from original sin. It contradicts your basic teachings of SatChitAnanda!
GURU:We can not avoid the limitations of any language while getting translated.
N:Calling Dosa as Indian Pizza is a disservice to the South Indian tradition. It is like killing a part of the culture. People all over the world have now learnt to use the word Dosa. We need to be firmly in control of certain sanskrit categories or someone else will define these categories and will misinterpret it especially in your absence. Using salvation instead of Moksha (or may be something better that you may know) is outright disservice to the very
tradition that you are preaching.
GURU: And what may be the English equivalent to Moksha?
N:There are certain Sanskrit words that cannot be translated in English so no need to translate those words at all. You can keep it as it is... In fact 'Moksha' can also be found in Merriam-Webster English dictionary.
GURU:I think "Emancipation" may be more appropriate.
N:That's not right either. You must keep it as Moksha. see how Buddhists never translate nirvana to salvation....Otherwise Dharma is not represented accurately on a global platform like this.
GURU:Yeah...true.I did not find the exact translation of word "Guru" yet.."

March 22
Pope Francis calls for "respect" for all religions
Tapan shares: Is it the first time that a pope said something like this? If true Rajivji's stand on mutual respect is accepted:Pope Francis calls for 'respect' for all...

Rajiv's response:
"Lets push them rather than declare victory prematurely. Does his "respect" for dharma mean he will respect specific things like:
- karma, reincarnation
- our murtis
- our mantras
- our avataras
- etc.

If so, he ought to end conversion campaigns against such a faith as ours.

To implement his principle he should start a complaint investigation group where we can file complaints against any Catholic who is violating the principle of respect for us, and if the person is found guilty then punishment should be enforced by the church against such members.

In other words it should not be mere diplomacy talk but a policy that gets enforced."

Saket shares an update:
This subsequent statement of pope was reported in Reuters

Alex shares a NYT link and comments:
".... Hope Pope Francis is serious about being open-minded, inclusive of his call for "respect" of all faiths. The fact that Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and Jain faith
leaders were represented at the installation ceremony is encouraging. Hope that the Dharmic faith leaders will take the initiative and PUSH the Pontiff to make a more decisive declaration on where the Vatican stands in relation to truly respecting the non-Abrahamic faiths.
In my opinion, the Leaders of the Dharmic Faiths should ask for a separate meeting with Pope Francis specifically to seek his stance on proselytization among peoples of Dharmic faiths. Even if such a request is denied that would be telling enough to discern his true commitment to his expressed sentiments of "respect" for all faiths."

Basant comments:
"...A true Christian especially a pope will never give equal respect to the Dharmic people. This is because of the fundamental dogma of Christianity that man is a born sinner and he or she can only be saved through Jesus Christ. Also the old testament forbids worshipping of false gods. To give equal respect to us will mean they would not be Christians any more..."

March 22 (continuing discussion from February 19)
Evangelical Christian group helps sue California school over yoga cl
[original link] ...
Ravi shares an update: 
More on this issue [beliefnet]:

Here's the second and concluding part of Masani's interview... Ignore the initial segment on politics and read the hagiography on Macaulay towards the middle and end of the interview.."

March 22
Re: Tamil movie : Paradesi
The word paradesi has the same meaning as the Hindi word but is used more in a derogatory sense in Tamil unlike in Hindi that has a aura about it. There is new movie in Tamil with that name running well, in Theaters across TamilNadu. Masterly crafted, that shows thread bare and naked the work of the evangelicals. It could not have said better..."
March 23
Hijacking of Wharton - republished
Kanchan: The HP blog has been republished for the Global Indian audience:
Also it is in the print...

RMF Summary: Week of March 11 - 17, 2013

March 12
worship of Jesus child
Maria posts: .... Freising near Munich: Seelenkind (Soul child). When a new nun went to the monastery, she brought a Jesus child (doll) with her who was looked after by her during her whole life in her room with fancy dresses, toys, even changing napkins and fondling it. They discovered several Jesus children which used to belong to nuns from our convent school. We never knew about it.

March 12
My new blog on Tibet Uprising Day: China delayed it by 4 days after
Rajiv shares his new blog on HuffPost:  Please post comments THERE AND NOT HERE. You can post a link here to your comment...
.....BTW: My Wharton blog first went into 48 special editorial review, and I had to escalate the matter to higher ups, complaining that HuffPost should live up to its public image of intellectual freedom. Once I did that it went thru fast. On the Tibet blog, it took 4 emails to various levels of management, and well over 4 days...

March 13
Kant's rigid and abstract categorial imperative versus Indian contex
Subra shares a link: .... Rajiv ji tweeted yesterday:  The post uses ideas from BD to study how Kant's 'categorical imperative' rigidity is less useful in practical conflict resolution (e.g. in modern decision-support systems) compared to the contextual ethics developed in Dharmic thought systems, and is illustrated using Asimov's sci-fi robotic laws.

March 14
US Catholic Church a $170 billion business
Srinath shares: Hindus too have been watching the choice of a new Pope, perhaps with a faint anticipation of a more "liberal" Pope and a softening of the views of the Church... it's sheer folly to think that a business that spends $170 billion annually in the US alone will change its tactics or philosophy any time soon.

March 15

Re: Manipal's Mohandas Pai wakes up to India's shabby treatment, say
Ganesh shares:....visit to IISc, Bengaluru for the launch of Sri Rajiv Malhotra's book Being Different. His speech in IISc, clearly showed his understanding of the western universalism and how many of the Indian academicians, with their left leanings, were influencing top US universities in a manner that can only be called retarding progress. Hoping to hear more such top notch names of Indian industry come out in open and voice their support for the right cause, without fear of media and the ruling party.

Renu adds: "....Let us resolve to not just be the World Guru but also a strong power that will stand for no nonsense and small acts of silly disrespect from the West or the East any more. That is our YUGA DHARMA now."

March 16
Shri Rajiv Malhotra's Talk at New Delhi on 23 March
Jalan invites: ... 7th Chamanlalji Memorial Lecture which Shri Rajiv Malhotra will be delivering. Details as below:
    Event:                     7th Chamanlalji Memorial Lecture

    Main Speaker :     Shri Rajiv Malhotra
    Chief Guest :          Dr.Subramanian Swamy
    Time:                       Saturday March 23, 4.00 pm
    Venue:                    Constitution Club, New Delhi

March 16
Kiran shares a link.

Arun shares an alternative link: ....The Economic Times has it much better.   In brief, the IT department had gone after an institution claiming it was a religious, not a charitable institution; and the IT Tribunal said, no, it was a charitable institution...

Venkat comments:
"....Expense on worship of Hindu Gods & Temple maintenance cannot be regarded to be for religious purpose

The core issue the definition of Hinduism and giving importance and preference to the western term "religion" The answer will be a vigorous propagation of indigenous Hindu friendly terms while showing why foreign descriptions are not suitable for our society. .

Rajiv adds:
"A major problem has been caused in India by the legal use of the term "religion" in giving special tax treatment and other concessions. The above article is the latest of a series of rulings that some aspect of Hinduism is not entitled to religious treatment.

So to get equal rights in our own country, we must prove we are a "religion" as per Abrahamic criteria, because that's the definition enshrined in our laws.

I wish someone would litigate in the Supreme Court that the legal provisions made for "religions" should equally apply to dharmas as well. Otherwise we are at a disadvantage when we show our distinctiveness, and to claim parity we must get ourselves digested into "religion".

What a joke! What a circus full of clowns!!" 

[We have noted Rajiv ji's comments on the sad state of affairs  in the wikipedia page. This website now has a collection link to Rajiv Malhotra's works. Click Rajiv ji's picture on the right to access].

March 17
My Wikipedia entry is obsolete, misleading
Rajiv comments: ... In [the] .... Wiki post (on differences between dharma and religion) also, he has "digested" my works into a sundry of misc articles by several persons. There is virtually nothing I wrote and certainly not a deep appreciation of the differences between dharma/religion as expounded in BD

[this directly relates to the book BD. We hope to collect this discussions and summarize in a separate post]
March 17
Special issue on Being Different in the International Journal of Hindu Studies
Several critical reviews were written. Here is Rajivji's rebuttal to those reviews. ...

[depending on the trajectory of the discussions in this thread, we may cover this in depth later.]
March 17
ISKCON: Push Marketing?
Sunday March 10, 2013, Hindu Temple of Atlanta had special Mahasivaratri puja & events. The premises has separate temples for Shiva & Vishnu (Balaji). I was...


RMF Summary: Week of March 5 - 11, 2013

March 7
Jesus Yoga - the website
Ravi shares a link.

March 7
I just tweeted this new blog. (Given the controversial nature of my blog, it took them 2 days to finally accept it completely unchanged.) ..

Karthik comments:
"... In a Daily Pennsylvanian report, Toorjo Ghose, one of the U Penn humanities sepoys who led the campaign to disinvite Modi, has sought to justify his position as not being contrary to free expression:

"Ghose said he did not believe it was a free speech issue because Modi had been invited as an honored, plenary speaker and this position was tantamount to the conference endorsing his development ideas.We are under no obligation as an institution to endorse his brand of politics and that's exactly what we would have done had the invitation gone through, Ghose said."

In fact, Ghose is lying, and U Penn had every obligation to let the Wharton students' invitation stand. By inviting Modi to speak at their conference, the student organizers of the Wharton India Economic Forum had expressed their intention to do exactly this: facilitate a distinguished guest who represents certain ideas of development and a certain brand of politics. The WIEF conference is organized by students of the Wharton School, and should they choose to endorse certain ideas of development by association with the guests they invite, it is entirely within their rights of open expression, guaranteed by the University of Pennsylvania itself, to do so.

See the Provosts' Guidelines for Open Expression, as listed on the U Penn website:

Of particular relevance here is:
"D. In case of conflict between the principles of the Guidelines on Open Expression and other University policies, the principles of the Guidelines shall take precedence."
The rank hypocrisy of Ghose, who himself availed of constitutional free speech guarantees by participating in the Occupy Philadelphia movement, stands vivdly illuminated. Apparently, open expression is fine as long as it happens to serve his own political proclivities.  Political positions in opposition to his own are to be silenced by any means necessary; blackmail, activism and thought policing are perfectly acceptable when it comes to obviating the WIEF student organizers' right to open expression. "
Rajiv's response: "This is why I am glad to see that Kartik and many others have posted their comments on Huffpost. This is how ideas spread, not through private whispering. Thanks to Kartik and others..."
Karthik further adds:
"It's an astonishing volte-face. The shrill Sepoys who relentlessly castigate Modi on allegations of human rights abuse, invariably respond with deafening silence to the Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh. In fact, some of them actually transform into David Duke-calibre Holocaust Deniers on that subject. One particularly nasty specimen is Sarmila Bose, who has crafted an entire "scholarly" career out of systematically minimizing the scale of Pakistan's atrocities. In a curious inversion of the usual Sepoy propensity to cite overblown atrocity-lit, Bose has actually deflated the well documented figures of three million murders and ten million displaced by the Pakistani army, to arrive at merely "thousands" of victims. 
... In Bose's case, the Hidden White Hand accidentally showed itself by clicking "Reply All" on a certain e-mail chain. The encouraging words of the Woodrow Wilson Institute's William B Milam, urging Bose to simply ignore those who questioned her credibility, were inadvertently sent to everyone who had been included on that chain... including her questioners! ..... 
Here is an article by Naheem Mohaiemen, a Bangladesh history scholar, which lays out a devastating critique of Bose's thesis. The debate continues, with Bose's response answered by a crippling rejoinder from Mohaiemen:

Hope the above references are useful."
March 9
An encounter with Jehovah's Witnesses
I just wanted to post a note about about my recent encounter with Jehovah's Witnesses. It was Saturday and while I had better things to do I started on fixing ...
...They started on the idea of "being saved". I asked, "saved from what"?
"Oh, don't you know, we are all born sinners", said the JW. I then asked why I was a sinner and the reply was exactly along the lines Rajiv Ji talks about - Adam/Eve and Original Sin, Virgin Birth blah blah blah. And therefore, he concluded that we must accept Jesus as our savior. I
gave him a small talk about my birth being divine and God being within myself and the notion of God realization etc. Then I asked him if he (the JW) would pay for my sin. He said No, but that Jesus would. I pointed out the fact that either he unwilling to do what JC would do and
therefore somewhat hypocritical, or expected another person to pay for his faults including any sin he commits. A blank stare ensued and by now they were a tad uncomfortable. Seeing his weakness I had to nuke now, so
I asked rather innocently "Does Jesus believe in the Original Sin"? He frantically searched his copy of the Bible and merely muttered, Umm, Jesus believed in the Old Testament ... and so must be... Was time for them to leave. [But I myself do not know if JC himself
believed in the original sin]...."

March 9
Universities in US & China are getting lessons on human values from
Universities in US & China are getting lessons on human values from the great epic - Ramayana ...

AHMEDABAD: Students at universities in China are getting lessons on human values from the great Hindu epic - Ramayana.

Wise sayings from Valmiki's text are being adapted by the universities teaching Hindi in China and are being made relevant to the current world situations. At least six leading universities in China including the prestigious Peking University, the Beijing Foreign Studies University as well as colleges in different parts of China are teaching Hindi, which has become a popular foreign language in China.

"We are taught verses from Ramayana as part of literature classes at the university," said Eric Huidram, a student-turned Chinese translator and interpreter from Manipur.

Several universities in the US have included reading the Ramayana as part of comparative humanities and literature sessions on Asia.

It was through the efforts of Chinese indologist Ji Xianlin that many Chinese learnt the language of Sanskrit and the epic Ramayana. Ji, who founded the Department of Eastern Languages at Peking University, translated Ramayana from the original Sanskrit to Chinese in poetry form. Ji's translated work of Ramayana and Mahabharata will be displayed at the culture park being planned at Kailash Mansarovar by India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC)..."

[Sandeep's 'Rediscovery of India' is among the very best, if not the best blog whose content if filled with original Indian thought]
March 9
Fwd: [TheBecoming] Fwd: How Wharton Scored a Huge Self-Goal by dis-i
JP shares: How Wharton Scored a Huge Self-Goal March 5, 2013 By  Sandeep Balakrishna

[We will create a separate webpage for the collection of Rajiv's links below and display it on the right of the blog]
March 11
My Wikipedia entry is obsolete, misleading
".... fix the Wikipedia entry on me.
  • It gives too much importance to wendy doniger as though i have nothing useful or original of my own to say, and i am some sort of heckler bothering her.
  • even in the context of doniger it does not lead the reader to my extensive articles at Sulekha (at least half a dozen large ones) on the whole freudian psychoanalysis issue.
  • there is no mention of BI or BD- each even deserves its own page. There is abundant material available on these books at their respective web sites, and other places like the hitchhiker's guide.
  • no mention of my YouTubes
  • No mention of my writings on Huffington Post, FirstPost, Niti Central, Patheos, Beliefnet and lots of other places.
With all due respects may I point out that our folks often tend to suffer from:
  • Paralysis by analysis: this means going on and on with planning, analyzing some very large scale project that becomes too unwieldy to ever happen, rather than DOING something manageable quickly which can be extended later.....
....specific examples of changes to my Wiki entry that I feel would be fair. Here are some that come shouting out: