In the Rig Veda, Kāmadeva, the Hindu god of desire, rides on the back of a colourful winged bird. He carries a bow with an arrow made of flowers, which he directs towards an intended lover’s heart in order to enkindle desire in her. Kāmadeva is accompanied by Vasanta, the god of Spring, and therefore takes the vitality of the season with him wherever he goes. That, in turn, is why this Hindu celebration of love falls in early-to-mid-February.
Sound familiar ?
The sharing of i...deas and cultural iconography is a beautiful thing, but plagiarism or uncredited appropriation is pretty poor form [the list of civilisational, philosophical and technological ideas lifted from India is almost endless]. That is especially so when other facets of Indian culture and tradition are simultaneously and quite comprehensively misrepresented.
There is a lot to write about - and many myths to bust - about Indic / Dharmic perspectives on a variety of subjects, and my article below focuses on those of love and marriage:
When this open letter voicing the plight of Hindus was posted on my Facebook profile jthis Diwali, little did I know how much outpouring of emotion there would be for the simple act of articulating the many challenges Hindus still face in their own country.
The viral spread of this post amongst friends revealed many choked voices simply asking to be heard and understood, which has moved me even more than when I initially wrote that piece.
I am therefore also sharing that pos...t about Hindu human rights here, on my page, as I am sure that you may also find it worth 5-10 minutes of your time.
This post is dedicated to a community which has given us everything, yet demanded nothing in return. It is an open letter to all of my friends, has been sent to... New Delhi, and will require five minutes of patient reading:
If Diwali celebrates the primacy of good over evil, it remains both unfortunate and ironic that in 21st Century India, Hindus are still fighting the supremacist bigotry that they have endured for 800 years. More pertinently, it is tragic that they are fighting it alone.
It should be evident from my writing that I am avowedly non-religious, and that my sense of affiliation is not to clan, creed or community, but to humanity and humanism first and foremost. I care a damn for unknown gods or enforced moralistic codes of conduct, but I care deeply for humanistic value systems, our planet, and my fellow human being. The Hindu worldview of seeing god in a teacher, a lover, a stranger or an animal makes perfect sense to me. As does focusing on and honouring the *creation*. Leaving a wake of devastation in the name of a creator, or ceding the free mind and the boundlessness of the human spirit to an imposed higher order, does not.
History speaks louder than any sanitised proclamations of intent, and it is simply not tenable to even suggest that all religions are the same. Some are allegories for empire, servility and control, not liberation, peace or love. They seek to expand by stealth, impose their way at any cost, and predominate over others. At least two scholars have estimated that in addition to the forced conversion of 80 million Hindus (half a billion when adjusted for population growth), 20 million more were massacred for refusing to convert. 40,000 Hindu temples were destroyed, and just to rub that subjugation in a little more, mosques were deliberately built atop those ruins. Just when you’d think things couldn’t get any worse, along came European supremacism.
As a Sikh, I am abundantly conscious of the itihaasa of India’s civilisation, as our own story is closely intertwined with it. Our faith was founded as a fight-back against that very religious bigotry, with our gurus drawing from Lord Krishna’s wisdom of not just ‘being good’, but developing the toolkit to protect that which is universally good. Even if at one’s own expense; our gurus were either decapitated a la ISIS, or their children bricked up alive for protecting others of all faiths, and for refusing to convert.
It was this unyielding resistance, along with that of other dharmic warriors such as Chhatrapati Shivaji, which safeguarded Indian civilisation even during her darkest hours. Hence the ‘saint-soldier’. The saint-saint is the weak, meek and defenceless Hindu who begs to be walked over. The saint-soldier - the kshatriya that the Hindu him/herself once was - is the one who fights with clarity of purpose to safeguard cherished human liberties, rather than just fantasise about them in an ashram.
Which is why Hindus, for as long as they retained the realism of the kshatriya, were the civilisational force for good that the world knows them to be. When Jews faced persecution for centuries, it was Hindu India in which they found not just safety and dignity, but love and honour. When Persian Zoroastrians were being converted by the sword, they too found refuge - and that legendary generosity of spirit - in a Hindu India. And when our Shia, most notably, Bohra sisters and brothers were persecuted in the birthplace of their own prophet, it was again in that same Hindu India in which they not only sought refuge, but also set up their global headquarters. That’s right – the temporal HQ of a Muslim sect in a Hindu India, not an Islamic Arabia.
A rational, non-hysterical appreciation of that Hindutva (Hindu-ness) is admittedly obscured by a clumsy, unrefined, Victorianised-Semitised adaptation of Hindu philosophy postulated by some fringe elements. That is to be expected given the brutality of our context, and will self-correct with time, as the existential pressure on Hindu civilisation eases. But before that can happen, we need to first identify why Hindus have good reason to be desperately angry, and work with them to negate the cause of their anger. Anger is not innate to Hindus, so when they get upset, it behoves us to understand why.
If history were just that, their anger and paranoia would swiftly dissipate. Hindus (and Jains, Buddhists & Sikhs), after all, are not known for holding grudges or terrorising others because of historical misdeeds. They would happily move on, as in most cases they are: they lead global corporations, are toppers in school, and double the national average tax contribution in most Western nations. They have the lowest prison populations, don’t ask for special privileges, and do seva silently, without publicity. They take insults on the chin, do not cry victim, and revere, not massacre animals. And they send rockets to Mars and the moon, not civilian neighbourhoods. Despite the unkindness of history, their default setting is love, not hate.
So why are they so fed up ? When we hear about riots, they are usually framed as clashes between two communities, thereby distributing blame equally. What we are seldom told is how Hindu communities are nearly always deliberately stoked, prodded and antagonised on an almost daily basis throughout the country, from locking and burning kar sevaks in a train, to deliberately humiliating infidel girls. We are rarely informed how Hindu and Jain communities are being forced to relocate because of the aggression and domineering that comes with stealth religious expansionism; civic funds are not shared with Hindus, public services are withheld, and homes cannot be bought by them unless they convert.
It is also seldom explained that well funded foreign missionaries are coercively converting Hindus throughout the country. Over 50% of Kanyakumari, for instance, is already converted. So shameless are these missionaries, that they did not even spare the hopeless victims of the recent Nepalese earthquakes, just to get a few more bodies to join their club. Indian Christians, peaceful and generally not committed to proselytism in that uniquely Hindu-fied way, do not even know about this silent mass crime, and the Indian bishops who do, know that it is bringing Indian Christianity into disrepute amongst incensed Hindus. Half-hearted, bungling attempts at ghar wapsi, wrong though it may be, should be seen in this light.
There are always two sides to a story, and I no longer need to explain why we only hear one side of those above. There are good reasons as to why trust in media is at an all-time low, and it suffices to say that terrorism and religious conquest are extremely well-funded multi-national enterprises, backed by public relations, spin and media manipulation that would put Tony Blair to shame. The intolerance debate and the coverage of the non-existent Church / Gurudwara attacks never added up in the minds of most thinking people. Making villains out of victims, and victims out of bullies is an old game, but it backfired badly this time, because a ragbag collection of Hindus are *finally* consolidating themselves and raising their voices. Noisily and artlessly at times, but they are raising them nonetheless.
I accept that some are saying and doing stupid things, but even then, they are not doing so to impose their worldview on others; they are a *reactionary* force, varying in intensity from passive-aggressive to hyper-aggressive. Some of them even abuse me, but it’s ok – I understand that they are paranoid.
The RSS is the best known manifestation of the broader Hindu requital, founded by an independence activist and disenchanted former Congressman in the 1920s. K. B. Hedgewar sought to (a) fight back against colonial and religious oppression, and (b) revive and protect Hindu civilisational values. Given the reality of the world in which he lived - and in which we still live - he realised that those goals could not be achieved by offering lotuses to people who don’t comprehend the language of love. He understood that this counter-movement demanded the currency of brute force if need be, and the psychology of strength to go with it.
The RSS is today an organisation that flatters governments and police forces in silently providing social and physical security to millions of forgotten civilians, from inner city Mumbai to the villages of UP. If we can roam streets freely or pray to our Allah (via either the Prophet Muhammed or Imam Ali), to Jesus, Ram, HaShem, Mahavira, Ahura Mazda, Gautama Buddha, Waheguru, a tree, Virat Kohli or none of the above in troubled neighbourhoods in the country, it is more often than not those saffron-clad sevaks whom we should thank. These invisible men volunteer to patrol streets and make their presence felt in shifts not for fun or because they don’t want to be with their families, but because their presence often secures peace. They are human shields for you and me, and their job is to deter violence, not enact it. Many of them are killed in the process, but we’ll never hear their story, unlike that of a Burhan Terrorist Wani.
Yes, their style is sometimes crassly cack–handed, but it is a riposte to far greater crimes. And the RSS is not an exclusivist Hindu security system, but a national security system – for Muslims, Christians, Jews, Parsis, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, atheists, and even the people writing nonsense about them on a daily basis. If RSS leaders spoke perfect English and wore trendy jackets but still did and said exactly the same thing, we would probably call them heroes.
Far further to the right than the regular RSS movement, are people like Yogi Adityanath. He may well say despicable things, but even he has a perspective which we need to understand. He is revered in swathes of UP because he single-handedly organised local Hindu vigilante groups in the absence of police and state support, to fight back against religious intimidation, the deliberate targeting of young girls either for conversion or grooming, and the slow infiltration of state apparatus, from police to bureaucracy. He was the first person in the areas in which he operates to successfully stand up to these crimes.
You and I, sitting in the comfort of our homes, may not approve of them, but those very vigilantes are a lifeline for millions of Hindus and Jains in UP. He may be OTT, he may be rude, he may be the kind of politician we may never wish to see in our nation, but there is a reason Adityanath came into being. People are desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures. When Britain didn’t listen to her seething working classes, we got Brexit. When America ignored her frustrated, struggling masses, it got Trump. That is what happens when you don’t hear the pain of a silent majority. Everyone has their truth, everyone has a point, and when people don’t look out for each other, we are left with radical escapes which become problematic in themselves.
So if we want to stop people like Yogi Adityanath, why can’t we all get together and stand up for Hindu human rights in the first place ? We rightly stand up for our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters at the drop of a hat, but who is standing up for Hindus and Jains ? Why can’t we knock the wind out of the sails of the Adityanaths and the gau rakshaks ? Why should angry young men even have to roam streets in the first place, just to protect cows from receiving gashes on their flesh ? Why can’t we understand their pain, too, and deal with the causality, not the symptoms of gau rakshak-ism ?
And if we can constantly berate Hindus for bursting fire crackers on Diwali, but say absolutely nothing when the world does exactly the same thing every New Year / Halloween, why don’t we also get together to stop the DAILY ritual slow-slaughter of millions of animals, in the name of god ? Why the double standards despite the obvious disparity in the severity of the crime: a few hours of fireworks per year versus seas of blood every day ? I don’t need to explain that answer, as enough people are aware which institutions fund the most vocal expounders of Hindu-shaming, and why they do it.
The reality is that Hindus have demonstrated, through action and over millennia, that they possess giant hearts and unsurpassed generosity of spirit. They have given so many of us safety and protection, rights and freedoms, dignity and progress. Why can’t we now also create space in our hearts for them, forget our own clans for a moment, and stand by Hindus at this time ?
Those with a sense of fair play will support a worthy cause regardless of whom it may benefit. Those with intelligence will also understand that standing up for Hindus doesn’t just mean empowering a movement against bigotry, religious expansionism and civic terrorism, but it obviates the very raison d’etre of the noisy far right, too. They understand that that, in turn, will leave us with a more authentic, de-Victorianised dharmic movement which will carry Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and everyone else together (it already does, in any case).
Even the Hindu revivalist movement does not demand domination; it simply demands, forcefully, that there be NO domination. It does not ask for special privileges; it presses for equality and a level playing field for all. And it does not see itself as superior; it stipulates that nobody else does, either. The sooner we all realise that and throw our weight behind it, the safer our collective future will be. Globally, not just in India.
It also behoves us to remember that the mindset of a kshatriya must have at its heart the decorum and decency of behavioural dharma. If merely wishing a happy Diwali is beyond the generosity and horizon of others, we can still wish all others on their special days, as we always have. If we burn inside when we hear of Malda, Kairana or Assam, let’s also not forget that hundreds of millions of Muslims are also of the most brutalised, suppressed, and frankly frightened people all over the world, because of the very same supremacism imposed upon Hindus. At times like these, I remember the deeds of our gurus: whilst on the one hand they defeated religious bigotry on the battlefield, on the other they built mosques for their sisters and brothers who had nothing to do with that fight. That is the spirit of India, and that is the dharma of Hindus.
Let’s not, in raw outbursts of emotion, strip the dignity of regular people doing their thing, and let’s not make the mistake of forcing people to explain or prove their patriotism for their nation. That will never be sincere, and will always breed resentment. As a society, it is our role to fight back with intelligence, and win the better argument. It is our duty to be tolerant – not to be confused with stupid or politically correct - whilst letting our intelligence services and insurance policies such as the RSS handle the dirty work behind the scenes. We are lucky to have them, otherwise we would have to be on the streets ourselves.
We could also learn how to handle complex problems from Prime Minister Modi and National Security Advisor Doval. Both abhor terrorism and religious expansionism with a passion, but even they say, with sincerity and resolve, that the only manner in which we will be able to deal with this problem is to carry all of our sisters and brothers along with us. They have a multifaceted plan, and they are executing it. We just haven't quite grasped that yet.
I haven’t published a formal article for many months, but as soon as I have finished setting up our new teams, I will start writing more frequently again. In a future piece, I will explain how Indian Muslim and Christian clerics are working with the PMO and NSA as part of a methodical fightback in defence of Indic civilisation and values.
For now, rest assured that there is a strategy, and that the psychology of the Universal Civil Code / the outlawing of triple talaq, the impending balkanisation of a terrorist fountainhead, the investigation of illegally funded missionary charities, NGOs and media, and other important events are all part of that process. These events will serve to disempower the religious bigotry – financially, logistically and psychologically – that all of us, and Hindus most of all, are justifiably fed up of.
Your prime minister is not just a very good man, he is also a brilliant mind, and has the toolkit that even Arjuna intrinsically lacked to protect dharma. He has it in him to end communal problems, and in a decidedly Hindu way – judicious, fair, and with love for good people, yet with no mercy when required.
Diwali symbolises the triumph of good over evil, and it is a mere matter of time before India can celebrate it again with a sense of authenticity. For that to happen, the PMO can't do it alone, and all of us need to repay our civilsational / existential debt to Hindus, simply by supporting them. Hindus have always placed a protective arm around our shoulders, irrespective of who we are. Let's put one around theirs, too.
Thank you for reading this, and blessed Deepavali. To those who are alone at our borders or on the streets keeping us safe, most love of all to you. 🙏🏼❤️
The Left has repeatedly & recklessly vitiated Britain's foundations, only for a Conservative government to painstakingly undo that damage - and then pay for it at the ballot box. Britain cannot afford that again; this article chronicles some of the greatest lies of our time that conscientious British voters must deconstruct and share widely before May 7th.
With news-ticker analysis of the 2015-16 budget having subsided, this article provides an alternative analysis as to why the budget is as revelatory of – as it is revolutionary for - 21st Century India, as well as a greater insight into the little understood economic philosophy of Prime Minister Modi, and how he hopes to prepare us for tomorrow’s India.
We can fight terror and safeguard free speech without imbruting that which is sacred to others, or by resorting to disingenuous political correctness:
Mangalyaan-1 (and ISRO) in Perspective
It took dozens of US, European and Soviet missions and tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to FAIL to conclusively confirm what India did in its sole Lunar mission in 2008/9 - at first attempt, and for less money than it takes to make a Hollywood movie: confirm the presence of water on the moon.
ISRO, today, has again furnished us with a little piece of history, with India becoming the first cou...ntry to have both reached and successfully placed into orbit a spacecraft around Mars at first attempt - and that too using her own indigenously developed technology (US and Soviet/Russian rockets trace their ancestry to rip-offs of German V2s, and Chinese rockets to Soviet hand-me-downs).
In addition to being a colossal technological and scientific feat, Mangalyaan-1’s success has a suitably karmic twist to it; the rocket that should have launched Mangalyaan is called the GSLV – in essence a ‘heavy-lift’ part-cryogenic rocket best suited to interplanetary missions such as this. However, over the past two decades, India's GSLV programme has been hit by the mysterious 'deaths' of our brightest cryogenic technology scientists.
Because of these murders and the broader sabotage of the GSLV programme, ISRO decided to march ahead with Mangalyaan-1 regardless, using the ‘lighter-lift’ PSLV rocket instead, but through a much more complex route out of Earth’s gravitational pull.
It succeeded to do so, in record time, and again at first attempt.
If you read (some) Western coverage about ISRO and Mangalyaan, other than cringing at how predictably petty and small-minded some of it is, you won’t easily be able to appreciate the bigger picture – or the finer details - that really matters in our understanding of India’s space programme; additionally, the high profile nature of the Mars / Moon and impending Sun missions actually serve to obscure an understanding of the prized gem that ISRO truly is.
The article below was therefore written, at the time of Mangalayaan-1’s launch, to provide an easily accessible five-minute summary of what ISRO actually stands for, and why she is so important not just to India, but to poverty alleviation, human development and day-to-day service provision well beyond India’s borders; it is tailor-written for those who may be tired of seeing ISRO’s successes reduced to the patronising banality of a ‘space race’, or the mindlessness of ‘superfluity for a developing nation’.
The 2014 Indian General Election and The Context of its Inherent Modi-Centricity
If the analysis below evokes incredulity, you do not need my permission to dismiss it. To many others, it will make much sense; to friends in security and intelligence, politics, and to some of you in civil society/ media/ intelligentsia (i...
Thank you for the incredible response to Talk It Out – we are receiving very kind messages from all over the world about the video and the missive in our song (and dance!), and I’m truly humbled and very grateful. Here it is again if you have not seen it yet. Our official launch will happen early next year, and if you like what you see, please join this page for further updates and help us spread the message. Thank you and god bless. Abhaey http://youtu.be/rFQRYcTznKQ
My sincerest thanks to our wonderful team - I love you all. These are our first baby steps in entertainment and with the IDU going international, but 'Talk It Out' is already trending globally, and has already been described as 'dope', which I think means people are warming to it! Much more to come in the months ahead but ramp up the volume and enjoy this for now: