Bhagavad Gita “an extremist” literature Political Machinations of Hindutva vs Controversial Interlok Novel



KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Mei — Datuk Syed Ibrahim Kader, Presiden Kongres India Muslim Malaysia (Datuk Syed Ibrahim Kader), parti politik sahabat BN, dilantik sebagai ahli Dewan Negara dan dijangka akan mengangkat sumpah dalam beberapa hari.
The Malaysian Insider difahamkan, Syed Ibrahim (gambar), 57, telah menerima surat pelantikan sebagai senator minggu lalu.
“Saya diberitahu Syed Ibrahim telah menerima surat lantikan tersebut Khamis lalu dan tarikh bila akan sumpah akan diketahui esok.
“Syed Ibrahim menerima lantikan tersebut dengan hati terbuka, namun saya difahamkan beliau tidak mahu perkara ini didedahkan terlebih dahulu,” kata sumber ketika dihubungi.
Syed Ibrahim ketika dihubungi The Malaysian Insider enggan mengulas sambil meminta agar menunggu sehingga tarikh angkat sumpah.
Jelas sumber itu, Syed Ibrahim hanya akan membuat kenyataan berhubung pelantikan itu selepas mengangkat sumpah.
Ini merupakan kali pertama wakil Kimma dilantik sebagai ahli Dewan Negara. Kimma ditubuhkan pada 1976.
Penghujung tahun lalu, Syed Ibrahim memohon kerajaan melantik seorang senator daripada kalangan anggota parti itu untuk mewakili kaum India Muslim negara ini.
Beliau berkata, ini kerana parti itu tidak mempunyai saluran untuk bersuara secara langsung terutama bagi menyuarakan masalah kaum India Muslim terus kepada kerajaan.
Selain itu Syed Ibrahim berkata, Kimma juga memohon kepada kerajaan agar wakil India Muslim ditempatkan di Majlis Kerajaan Negeri dan Majlis Kerajaan Tempatan supaya mereka dapat menyalurkan masalah kaum itu kepada pihak berwajib serta mendapat maklumat tentang peluang perniagaan dan perdagangan di dalam mahupun di luar negara.
Beliau juga menyarankan agar kerajaan mewujudkan satu dana khas perniagaan untuk industri kecil dan sederhana dan peniaga kecil India Muslim untuk memudahkan peniaga kecil itu mendapat dana pusingan modal bagi memulakan atau membesarkan perniagaan.
Kimma yang mendakwa ada 80,000 ahli negara telah menyatakan hasrat untuk menyertai BN semenjak 1984 tetapi gagal ekoran bantahan komponennya termasuk oleh MIC.
Ogos lepas, Umno bersetuju menerima Kimma sebagai anggota bergabung parti itu dengan beberapa keistimewaan seperti dijemput hadir sebagai pemerhati dalam perhimpunan agung dan persidangan di peringkat bahagian sekiranya parti itu mempunyai keanggotaan di kawasan berkenaan


Amma J Jayalalithaa brings change; but has she changed? THE FATE OF INDIAN MUSLIMS NARENDRA MODI WHO BURNED THE MUSLIMS ALIVE IS THE SPEACIAL GUEST The favourite colour of her sari has changed from green to pink, magenta and maroon, but has she really changed her colours? That was the question doing the rounds on …
 Perkasa predicted today that Malay voters will reject any MIC candidates in the coming polls, saying the Barisan Nasional (BN) party was responsible for scrapping the controversial Interlok novel from the school syllabus.

The government has decided to withdraw Interlok from the Form Five syllabus when the new school year starts, with MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel saying yesterday that the Cabinet had reached the decision last week.
The novel by national laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain is part of the literature requirement in the Bahasa Malaysia syllabus for Form Five students. It was published in 1971 and is set in Penang at the turn of the 20th century during the colonisation of Malaya by the British.
Recent controversy over the novel’s use of words deemed racially sensitive and derogatory had led to the Education Ministry sanctioning amendments to its content for the current school year while it awaited a formal decision by the Cabinet.
Perkasa charged that Malay voters will not support MIC, and that independent candidates will end up contesting in areas which MIC will be placing its candidates.
Syed Hassan Syed Ali, the Malay group’s secretary-general said that MIC had insulted Abdullah with the scrapping of the novel from the education syllabus.
“Perkasa is confident that Malay voters will not support MIC candidates or anti-Malay Indian candidates and there is a possibility that independent candidates will contest in MIC areas where Malay voters account for more than 50 per cent of the area’s population,” he said in a statement.
Syed Hassan said Perkasa was disappointed with the government’s decision regarding the novel, and added that this showed Putrajaya’s “weakness and failure to not succumb to pressure by minorities.”
He claimed that this was a part of MIC’s elaborate plan to woo Indian voters.
“It is wrong. Because of Indian votes, the dignity of Malay writers are insulted.”
Syed Hassan stressed that the contents of the novel was based on facts.
“It is not insulting. What’s insulting is that those in the upper caste call those in lower castes parias. Not the author,” he added.
Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, meanwhile, told Bernama Online that Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, is expected to make a formal announcement in the next few days.
Bhagavad Gita faces 'extremist' branding, ban in Russia

Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as “an extremist” literature across Russia. A court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors. 

With the rise of Hindutva movement during last three decades there has also been an attempt to understand this phenomenon through analytic essays, articles and films. These films have also served the purpose of spreading the awareness about the rising threat of communal politics, and dangers to national integration due to the rising communal tide in the society. The Mumbai violence, Gujaratgenocide, Kandhmal amongst others has been the object of serious study and analysis amongst the activists and scholars. ‘Saffron War: A War against nation’ is the latest in the series of the significant works, which have come out lately. This film is a unique combination of analysis of Hindutva ideology, its cooption of dalits in to communal politics and the gradual manipulation of the low caste movements from their struggle for social justice to their current mobilization in the fold of Hindutva where they are made to believe that the real problems of society are not due to the caste structure but the external one coming form Muslim minorities.
This film is made in the backdrop of Gorakhpur, where Yogi Adiyanath, A BJP MP has been spreading his tentacles in a very aggressive way. The film’s major contribution is to show as to how Gorakhnath Math has been gradually been shifted away from its struggle against caste oppression, how its focus on intercommunity amity has been shifted away to hatred for the minorities. The film through different interviews and visuals shows us the spread of venom against minorities. The language used by the Yogi and his followers comes under the category of ‘Hate Speech’, which is going on in the open fashion. All the prejudices and biases against minorities, Muslims in particular, are being openly asserted in the public meetings where not only are the Muslims presented in the negative light but also violence is openly propagated and promoted. The imaginary fear of minorities is projected and all the propagation of violence is done in the name of ‘Defense of Hindu religion’. The degree of aggression in the language is shocking to say the least. In many a meetings when these hateful speeches are being made, even the police is standing as the passive listeners, unmindful of the fact that such hate speech should invite strong legal action.
The major mobilization is done in the name of Yogi Adityanath and the majority of people who are mobilized and co-opted are dalits and OBCs. They begin with Savarkar’s definition of Hinduva and Hindu Rashtra is made the base of Hate other propaganda. This goes on to say that Muslims have to be relegated to second class citizenship. They cite the example of Pakistan to spread this hate. Yogi’s propaganda further adds that Muslims’voting rights have to be taken away. Gorakhpur and surrounding areas must be one of the few places where Savarkar is quoted so blatantly in the anti minority tirade.  The emphasis on converting UP in to Gujaratthrough Uttaranchal comes up regularly. On the lines of Bajrang Dal, there is formation of Arya Veer Sena and Hindu Yuva Vahini giving the training to youth in the use of arms, with Har Har Mahadev as the war cry.
The film brings out clearly as to how the earlier Bharat Milap procession in this area symbolized Hindu Muslim brother hood, but now it has been converted into the occasion where anti Muslim sentiments are invoked. This has seriously intimidated the Minorities in the area. The role of these forces in the Mau riots of 2005 is well brought out in this film.
While the film does well to focus on the core points of Savarkar ideology and cooption, Sanskrtisation of dalits, there is a need to link up this with the overall Hindutva politics of the country. The link between Savarkar and RSS ideology also should have been highlighted. The strong point of the film is to show the political dynamics of conversion of a low caste, syncretic space into the one dominated by Braminical ideology and Hindutva politics. The film does show in a forthright manner, the way in which Hindutva politics builds up. The history of Gorakhnath Math comes out very well along with the fact the communalization process has converted this syncretic spaces into exclusive Hindutva places. It is Gorakhnath Math where Muslims used to throng in large numbers and were welcome there. The scenario is dismal, there is need to develop political, ideological and cultural campaigns against this politics to bring back the issues of caste and gender in to the mainstream of social movements. The need to work for national integration needs to be highlighted in more ways than one.
While the film is a comprehensive study of communalism in Uttaranchal, Gorakhpur in particular, it should have connected a bit more with the National phenomenon. The film does need some technical improvisation. 

The final pronouncement in the case will come two days after Indian Prime MinisterManmohan Singh during his Dec 15-17 official visit for a bilateral summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev consolidated bilateral trade and strategic ties and personal friendship. 
The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June, seeks ban on a Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). 
It also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declared as a literature spreading “social discord”, its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal. 
In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement here have appealed to Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic Mahabharata written by sage Ved Vyas. 
The ISKCON followers in Russia have also written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi, calling for immediate intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living here be compromised. “The case is coming up for a final verdict on Monday in Tomsk court. We want all efforts from the Indian government to protect the religious rights of Hindus in Russia,” Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON and a devotee of a 40-year-old Krishna temple in central Moscow, told IANS. The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for “an expert” examination Oct 25. But Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent. The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a “majority religious group in Russia”, and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld. The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preachings of Prabhupada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs.“They have not just tried to get the Bhagavad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist,” Das said. The ISKCON devotees have taken up the matter with the Indian embassy in Moscow too for an early diplomatic intervention before things get worse and the court passes an adverse verdict banning the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna consciousness teachings. In the Nov 1 letter addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON’s New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor’s affidavit claims Lord Krishna “is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view”. Goswami also urged Manmohan Singh to accord priority to the matter during his Moscow stay and take it up with the Russian authorities. Indian diplomatic corps officials at the embassy here, who were unwilling to be named, told IANS that they have been following up the case since the time it was brought to their notice earlier this year. They had also taken up the matter at the appropriate levels in the Russian government to get the case either withdrawn or get the defence to fight the case to obtain a favourable verdict. Officials at the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, who were part of the Indian delegation accompanying Manmohan Singh, confirmed to IANS the case and the letter they received from ISKCON in this regard. “This matter is receiving the highest attention and the Indian embassy officials in Moscow have been instructed to follow up the case with the Russian authorities,” they said.

  Ever since 9/11, the American Muslim community has been placed under a tremendous amount of scrutiny. Even now, more than ten years after those terrible events, the cloud of suspicion has not lifted over the community. According to a months-long investigation, the Associated Press has published an article claiming that the New York Police Department, with apparent help from the CIA, has engaged in an aggressive intelligence-gathering operation within the Muslim community. According to the article:

The department has dispatched undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing…Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit.

An enormous amount of taxpayer money, $1.6 billion since 9/11, has been spent on such an operation. In addition, Wired magazine reports that highly inflammatory anti-Islam materials have been used to paint the entire American Muslim community as “violent” and “radical.” According to the article: “The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that ‘main stream’ [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat.’”

The facts, however, consistently belie the contention that the American Muslim community is a violent “fifth column.” According to a US Justice Department study conducted by two North Carolina Universities:

Although the vast majority of Muslim-Americans reject extremist ideology and violence, a small number of Muslim-Americans have radicalized since 9/11. In the eight years following 9/11, according to our project’s count, 139 Muslim-Americans committed acts of terrorism-related violence or were prosecuted for terrorism-related offenses that involve some element of violence. This level of approximately 17 individuals per year is small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant. Homegrown terrorism is a serious, but limited, problem.

The reasons for this, according to the study, are: (1) public and private denunciations of violence, (2) robust self-policing practices and community building, (3) heightened political engagement, and (4) an assertive Muslim-American identity which, the study has shown, has served to undercut the radical message that American values and practices are hostile to Islam. Moreover, opinion polls have consistently shown American Muslims to overwhelmingly reject violence against innocent people, much more so than their Christian and Jewish compatriots.

A recent Gallup survey asked if attacks on civilians by individuals or small groups is ever justified, 89% of Muslims said it is “never” justified. This is more than Protestants (71%), Catholics (71%), Jews (75%), Mormons (79%), or those without any religious affiliation (76%). Asked if it was “sometimes” justified, Muslims were the least in saying yes. A more recent Pew survey has reiterated these findings, with 81% of American Muslims believing that suicide terrorism is never justified.

Further, according to Michael E. Rolince, former FBI Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism in the Washington DC field office:

“We conducted about a half a million interviews post-9/11 relative to the attacks of 9/11, and this is important because your community gets painted as not doing enough and you could have helped. I’m not aware — and I know 9/11 about as well as anybody in the FBI knows 9/11 and that’s not bragging that’s just the reality — I’m not aware of any single person in your community who, had they stepped forward, could have provided a clue to help us get out in front of this.”

He said this in 2005 at the Muslim Public Affairs Committee’s annual convention.

So, why the continued suspicion and mistrust of the Islamic-American community? Leave aside the fact that making sweeping generalizations and painting an entire community with the sins of its criminals is patently un-American. Making all Muslims out to be “terrorists-in-waiting” hurts our national security. As the article in Wired says:

The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands. Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism. And depicting Islam as inseparable from political violence is exactly the narrative al-Qaida spins — as is the related idea that America and Islam are necessarily in conflict.

Now, I am under no illusion of the daunting task of preventing another terrorist attack placed before law enforcement officials all across this country. I think I can safely speak for all Americans when I say that I expect nothing less than a relentless effort on the part of law enforcement to root out every single potential terrorist or terrorist plot. But training law-enforcement officials to fear every single peaceful, law-abiding Muslim citizen sends a chilling message of deep suspicion and mistrust, as well as frank betrayal, when what is needed is even stronger collaboration and cooperation.

The American Muslim community is a willing partner in the fight against terrorists who seek to harm innocent Americans. Many domestic terror plots by Muslims, in fact, have been foiled by the American Muslim community itself. I can see how most Americans would think it to be understandable, if not logical, to spy on the Muslim community, given that Muslim extremists successfully attacked NYC twice. Yet, I fear that such spying will further damage an already frail relationship between the Muslim community and law enforcement, and this is the last thing that either party needs. I hope and pray that, through these revelations, smarter heads in our law-enforcement agencies will prevail. 

Terror intimidates Muslims more than anyone else on earth. After any terrorist activity, inside their houses, Muslims try to put fingers into their ears, not hear the phrase “another act of Muslim terror”. Outside, in non-Muslim countries, they avoid eye contacts with others to avoid giving possible explanations that “it need not be an act of Muslim terror” or “I wasn’t a part of it.” For a terror-attack anywhere, Muslims everywhere have to hang their heads in shame.

Muslims are the first suspects in almost all cases of violence, the world over. The Media usually has “credible sources” and bigot analysts to hatch theories against Muslims and the police has “informers” and matrix of terror links with names of Muslim youths inscribed as terrorists-in-line. Thus, investigation, forensic analysis, and fact finding, all have become irrelevant. The new logic of both the media and the police is to blame Muslims first, and investigate later.

Moments after the horrific Norway bomb-blast that killing 7 people on July 22, followed by the massacre of 85 teenagers, speculations started regarding the possible culprits. The renowned media group, the BBC – considered objective, started speculating on the following night that the Islamist group Al-Qaeda could be behind the attacks, although in the next morning they had to change their tone in front of evidence. As The Sun labeled the attacks as “Norway’s 9/11”, The Guardian was not behind in their suspicion and analysis of Jihadists’ role in the bloody episode.

American media’s reaction wasn’t different either. The Fox News O’Reilly Factor, not only suspected the Norway killing-spree as another incidence of Islamic terror, the guest host Laura Ingraham even attempted to link it with the atrocious 9/11 happened in the US, a decade ago by reminding the audience about the ground-zero mosque to be built in Manhattan. No doubt she would succeed in her effort to multiply the right-wing American hatred against the Muslims and the Islam.

Blaming the jihadists, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Norway is targeted for being true to Western norms.” Meanwhile, on the Washington Post’s website, Jennifer Rubin wrote, “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.” Altogether the instant reaction to the incidence, without any pursuance of proof or evidence, was that Muslim terror must be responsible for the attack.

However, within a day the whole story had to be changed, as the right-wing-Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, with a background of hating Muslims and liberals, claimed responsibility for the attacks, exposing the media-bigotry to malign the Muslim image. Once again, it’s been proven that not all terrorists are Muslims.

The same thing happens everywhere. Minutes after the Mumbai blasts on July 13, the Indian TV channels propagated the theory that Indian Mujahedeen (IM), deemed to be an Indian Muslim extremist group, could be behind the blast, although security agencies and the Police took hours before adopting the hypothesis – solely on the basis of spurious previous trends. Based on their guesswork, the Mumbai Police, as usual, detained several Muslims for questioning. One of those detained—Faiz Usmani—died while in police custody on July 17, sparking allegations of police brutality.

It has been more than a week, yet the investigating agencies have found no evidence to support their claims against the IM nor those detained. The tameness of the media and police administration reflects that – Muslims have been harassed, some Muslims have been detained, and one of them has got killed (all without any evidence). So what? Does it really matter? The Muslims are presumed guilty, by the unwritten rule, until proven innocent.

This trend is not new. In the past, although there have been occasions in which Muslim groups have been found linked with terrorist activities, but extremist Hindutva-terrorists have also been proven to have carried out half a dozen attacks in India, such as bomb-blasts in Samajhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif in (2007), and Malegaon (2008), the list goes on. When the right-wing-Hindutva groups are known to have established links with the Indian military and intelligence to carry out terrorist activities, yet raising fingers against them is an anathema.

The level of hypocrisy in attitude of the police and the media is conspicuous. If a Muslim does, it is a terror plot but if a non-Muslim does, it is just an ‘act of violence’. If a Muslim is suspected in a terror act, he is an Islamic terrorist while a proven non-Muslim figure behind terror activities is merely ‘an accused’.

If someone bears a Muslim name, this is enough for the police to suspect him/her as a terrorist. A few weeks ago, when a Mid Day’s photo journalist – Sayed Sameer Abedi – was taking innocuous photographs of a traffic junction and an airplane, Mumbai police detained him. Simply because of his Muslim name, one “unfortunate’ police officer glibly remarked that Mr. Abedi could be a terrorist. Shakespeare was wrong – there is a lot in a name, especially if it is a Muslim sounding name!

If this is how people’s sentiments against Muslims are aroused, how can the 1.5 billion Muslims live in peace with others and what message we are giving to the younger and the future generations? As the facts are now revealing the truth and dispelling the conjectures, media’s bias is getting clearer. In order to be credible, leave fairness, the media should show a little restraint before making allegations against Muslims and maligning Islam.


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