RMF Summary: Week of December 28 - January 3, 2013

December 28
8 yrs old Traumatized for drawing Hindu Swastik by a Teacher in America
Poonam asks: How do we deal with this? This keeps happening. A lot more needs to be done by us than the small victory in California. Apparently, the correction of facts in...

Rajiv Malhotra adds
Before you read this important news item below, please read the positions [see RM's response following the news item] I took on this very issue many years.

(pictures link source flickr: farm9.staticflickr.com)
8 yrs old Traumatized for drawing Hindu Swastik by a Teacher in America

A formal complaint is pending since Dec. 9, 2012 against the Principle, Counselor and the teacher Aid with the appropriate authorities. It is our sincere appeal to the community that they should send their support for the 8 yrs old via e-mail under the heading .....
Since Middlesex County is home to a large Hindu population; community must demand that all Educators in Middlesex County Schools must be educated about Hindu Religious Symbols keeping in mind that Hinduism is practiced by almost 1 Billion people around the world.

Rajiv Malhotra responds:
1) Pages 40-41 of the report of the Hindu-Jewish Summit where I raised this issue for the first time before the apex Jewish group. See(pdf):  When the Hindu team was making preparations at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam months earlier, I felt that none of the prepared speeches our side discussed had a single point that made any difference, because everyone was saying common, non-controversial things like "there is one God". I suggested to Swami Dayananada Saraswati that we must raise serious issues like the Aryan invasion theory, swastika, so-called "idol" worship, etc. Our goal should be to use the summit for setting the record straight straight officially in ways that could be useful. Everyone felt that such issues would be too controversial and risky. But swamiji supported my idea, and asked me to be forthright and make that point before the gathering. Hence, my speech at the historic event. Only a short summary of my talk is given on page 40 of the above document. After my talk, the Hindu side looked nervous about what the Jews might think of my statements. Most of them did not anticipate that I would say this. But the head of the Jewish delegation gave a very positive response to my talk. He said that this view of mine was new to them, and they appreciate knowing how Hindus felt on these topics. So both sides decided to organize a team of scholars to further study the issues I had raised....

2) The matter culminated a few years later at a subsequent Hindu-Jewish Summit that was held in Israel, at which a formal resolution was passed that contained the following statement: ‘The svastika is an ancient and auspicious symbol of the Hindu tradition. It is inscribed on Hindu temples, ritual altars, entrances, and even account books. A distorted version of this sacred symbol was misappropriated by the Third Reich in Germany, and abused as an emblem under which heinous crimes were perpetrated against humanity, particularly the Jewish people. The participants recognize that this symbol is, and has been for millennia, sacred to Hindus, long before its misappropriation.’

3) Read my blog on HuffPost on this matter...

WHAT SHOULD BOTHER US: What concerns me is that others have not taken up this issue further. After getting such a historical declaration from the highest Jewish authority, why is there no further activity by Hindus, especially the mouse-clicking activists who waste time on useless pursuits but have little organized effort to produce concrete results. By now, the output from the Hindu-Jewish Summit ought to have been sent to every school district in USA; every Hindu parent ought to be told to cite this declaration if such an issue is ever raised by anyone......
Suraj adds:
"I have known Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati since 1969 and I believe that he undoubtedly is the most ardent proponent of the Tenets, Beliefs and Practices of Sanatan Dharma presently. I am not a member of Arsha Vidya or HDAS or any other Organization to which he is affiliated. However, I have listened to many of his talks in Canada and I have done Pranaams to him many times. He is a living Mahatma. I also admire Shri Rajivji for his grit and determination in defense, propagation and promotion of Sanatan Dharma in the West as well as in India....
The Toronto District School Board(TDSB) in Canada  has a Document entitled 'Guidelines and Procedures for the Accommodation of Religious Requirements, Practices, and Observations'. I had the honour and privilege to be selected by the TDSB to write the section on Hinduism (Hindu Dharma) dealing with the religious accommodation of Hindus in the TDSB. This Document was published in 2000 and currently there is a 2nd Edition (2010). In the introduction it is stated that 'Hindus use a variety of sacred symbols during worship. Some of these are the OM, Swastika, Shivalingam ....'. Even though this document exists, there is still significant religious discrimination and lack of accommodation for Hindus within the TDSB and other Public Institutions in Canada...."
Poonam responds to Suraj ji:
"I am honored that you took the tme to respond to my message. Where can I find a copy of the guidelines you referred to? I believe it would be helpfu in guiding me to design my plan of action regarding this. I do intend to do some thing about it. & want to do it in 2 ways. One is by educating our own children & arming them with the information appropriate for their level..."
Nilesh shares:
"I am quoting from my book that was published in 2010 regarding Swastika and Nazis (Pages 66-67), I indicated the need of work to be done to reclaim Swastika for Hindus. Hope it adds one more voice to what has been a unique cause of Shri Rajiv Malhotra:

"Swastik and the Aryan Connection"
"Swastik is a `Good Luck' sign of Hindus. It was also used by the ancient Germanic tribes of pre-Christian era in Europe. With its identity considered as `Aryan' it had been adopted by the Nazi Germany in 20th century for rousing the patriotic-passion among Germans by Adolf Hitler. Due to its adoption by Nazis, this divine sign of Hindus is occasionally misunderstood even if applied in context of Hindus. For Hindus, this is purely a religious, non-political `good-luck' symbol. Rudyard Kipling (1835-1936), a Mumbai-born English writer and recipient of the 1907 Nobel Prize in literature, used to inscribe the Swastik and the picture of Hindu God Ganesh on his books. Even he had to take Swastik off his books lest he gets identified with Nazis.
... Arya and Aryan are Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is considered as the mother language of all the Indo-European languages and in it the word Arya is always used as an adjective signifying `cultured person' or a `noble man' and on many occasions.."
The thread below has generated a lot of comments and discussion and we will try to devote a single post  that summarizes this in depth. We excerpt the introductory post only below.
December 29
"This is in relation to the topics : Sanskrit Digestion, Techno- digestion of Sanskrit through Computational linguistics, Demand for a review of Monier Williams Sanskrit-English dictionary.
The issue: According to the 2012- Ph.D Award Thesis from University of Hyderabad, there is a whopping 45% error in Monier Williams Sanskrit Dictionary in marking the gender tag for Sanskrit words.

...  Reference : Doctoral thesis (March 2012) from Hyderabad University - Page .... available for free download at url: ..
The Question : How and Why Sanskrit Traditional schools all over the world, are tolerating and continuing to use Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary,  which carries almost a whopping 45% error in providing correct gender tag for
Sanskrit words
? Why MW dictionary ( and with several of its clones floating on the web) with all its shortcomings and deviations from traditional Sanskrit dictionaries, especially Amarakosha are being used by Computational Sanskrit Linguists as an authentic resource ? Has any one assessed the impact of the inaccurate / inadequate Sanskrit dictionary as a study base in making translations of Sanskrit traditional resources?
December 30
Ramanujan's theory proved right - almost 100 years after he died
December 30
Swastika Brochure - For Your Use
Namaste, Two organizations, namely, IFCMW (Inter-Faith Conference of Metropolitan Washington DC) and AJC (American Jewish Committee) published the enclosed...
December 31 
Efficacy of the Gayatri Mantra
Kaajal shares:
"A friend forwarded this to me. Speaks to the point made in BD regarding the non-translatability of various Sanskrit mantras & words

Dr.Howard Steingeril, an American scientist, collected Mantras, Hymns and invocations from all over the world and from all religions, tested their strength in his Physiology Laboratory. He concluded that the Hindus Vedic Gayatri Mantra is the most rewarding scientifically.
That the Gayathri Mantra produced 110,000 sound waves per second. This was the highest and found it to be the most powerful prayer hymn in the world..."

Rohit responds:
"Can anyone provide an independent media reference to this?  I searched and found it only on blogs, Facebook, yahoo groups etc., Couple of these referred to alien involvement. The origin could be the documentary series on the origin of religions based on alien invasion.

If the following note is true, it illustrates the importance of original Sanskrit words and their sounds."
December 31
Baskaran Pillai Center: digestion of Hinduism?
Came to know about a Dr. Baskaran Pillai, who was described as a "great man with great ideas" his site describes him as : "Dr. Baskaran Pillai is an...
January 1
Some work plans for 2013
Someone asked me today what I am working on and how he could help. So here's what I wrote back: I am intensely busy finish a book on Swami Vivekananda that...
January 2 (continuing discussion)
Pt Ravi Shankar Interview
I found this interview with Pt Ravi Shankar from the 60s: http://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=9YdK2tB2gKM It is impressive how he stands up for the Indian tradition...
Swami shares :
"I reproduce a part of an article by a very knowledgeable music critic late Raghava Menon that appeared in a supplement of THE HINDU sometime in the mid 1990s:

It was late Alain Danielou who told the then President S.Radhakrishnan when he was the Vice-Chancellor  of BHU " You cannot share Indian Classical Music the way you can share Western Classical Music. The Indian Classical music inheritance is wholly oral and too personal and ragas live momentarily coming to life only to die at once"
This seemed, even in those days, a profound observation in the particular context of sharing the art. For every one knows that this tradition of the raga has always been a solitary pursuit and was always meant to be so. This must be at least one among the many reasons why it has always been difficult to academise the art like the Julliard or the Santa Cecilia…………….. Ragas had always been timeless and without history. For there are no old ragas as there there are no old rivers. Always contemporary to the moment…..

Personally I am find it difficult to share RM's concern on the "digestion" of Indian musical instrument, much less the Indian classical systems. Western classical music will lose its bearings and identity once it attempts at the digestion process for the reason that notes and swaras are identical. This is almost impossible with the Carnatic idiom with its gamaka tradition. Late Jon Higgins remained an exception. Many enthusiasts who have been groomed in the Hindustani tradition too find it at odds with the flat swaras on which for them there cannot be aware of this. I think Ravi Shankar too was well aware of this predicament.
A sitar or any other Oriental instrument can become part of the Western musical ensemble, but I don't see any enthusiasm on that front... On the other hand we find many western instruments like violin – widely used in Carnatic idiom—clarinet, saxophone, mandolin, viola and of late guitar (though it is seldom used in Western classical forms) finding acceptance, particularly in south India.
It is believed that Baluswamy Deekshitar (great composer Muthuswamy Deekshitar's sibling) chanced to see a compact instrument with strings and bow ....."

January 2
Re: [media_monitor5] Swastika Brochure (American Jewish Committee, H
Carpentier wonders:

I don't see why Hindus or anyone else would have to explain why they have the swastika as a sacred symbol (like many other civilisations) simply because Jews and some other communities had to suffer the political consequences of a particular modern European regime and ideology. Will people now have to apologise for using hammers and sickles in their profession in order to pacify the anti-communists?
Rajiv's comment:
The above comment seems to be of the following kind of proposition: 'Truth is with me, so why do I need to bother arguing about it with others?'... 

So, my response is: We must do this awareness work because we want to change peoples' thinking. Others with passion for their own causes also do the same. We cannot afford this lofty posture of "who cares?" Explaining one's history, philosophy, worldviews, positions, etc. is important for those who are world engaging (as opposed to world negating). If the above person really believed what he said, why would he be publisher of an international journal advocating certain policies?
As far as communist symbols are concerned, yes, IF THEIR SYMBOLS SUFFER REPUTATION THE WAY HINDU SYMBOLS DO, then one day they too would need to engage public opinion to try and explain them. The fact that they do not need to apologize, while we must explain ourselves, tells us that too many of our leaders have had the arrogant/lazy attitude of "do-nothing" on similar grounds as the above comment..."

January 2
FW: The Swastika controversy
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2012 09:51:18 -0800 From: mahakavius@... Subject: Fw: The Swastika controversy To: pcsi2000@... Vish:Here is the email I sent...

January 3
Swami Vivekananda becomes Masculine Nationalist
Venkat shares:
"The author is trying to connect recent sexual crimes to Hindu nationalism.

Taking the aggression out of masculinity
Sanjay Srivastava (Professor of Sociology and co-editor, Contributions to Indian Sociology , Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi.)

"CELEBRATING MANHOOD:Swami Vivekananda’s masculine photographic-pose is revealing of how Indian nationalism encouraged a deeply masculine notion of modernity; religious customs, such as Karva Chauth (right), openly propagate male-worship."

"Swami Vivekananda’s masculine photographic-pose was only one aspect of the cult of masculinity encouraged and tolerated by nationalism."

Rest of his gobbledygook"

January 3
History of India recommendation
Please suggest a one or maximum two volume history of India ( in English) for a Westerner who knows very little of India. Thanks in advance!... 
Publish: Ocean Books Ltd.
New Delhi - 110002 , India
ISBN.  81-88322 -40 -7

Portraits of a Nation, History of Ancient India by Kamlesh KaPur would be good text covering both the southern and Northern India.
R C Majumdar - History of the freedom movement of India ( 3 books)

As India had not (has not?) been free for a long time this set goes back to the Moghul invasions I think, so covers hundreds of years of history ( I have not worked my way through it yet...)

Unfortunately due to the hijacking of Indian history, there are limited books in English that I would trust...

1 comment:

  1. Post by Sandeepweb on the attack on Vivekananda by The Hindu Newspaper of Chennai.