Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Listen to Angana : Anti-India talk, distortion of facts on Gujarat


200 people killed in Gujarat [33:00]

Monday, February 26, 2007

Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India's Present

South Asia Seminar

Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India's Present

Angana Chatterjee (California Institute of Integral Studies)

[venue] University of Texas at Austin, WCH 4.132 :: Austin, TX 78712
March 1, 2007

3:30 PM
Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118

Angana P. Chatterji, Ph.D., is associate professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at California Institute of Integral Studies. Professor Chatterji has integrated scholarship, research, and activism in linking the roles of
citizen and intellectual. A rigorous and passionate advocate for social justice, she has been working with postcolonial social movements, local communities, institutions and citizens groups, government and donor agencies in India and internationally, since 1984, toward enabling participatory democracy for social and ecological

2006/2007 Christopher
Ondaatje Lecture on
South Asian Art

Hindu Violence in Gandhi's Country

Register online at:
Speaker: Arjun Appadurai (The New School for Social Research)

Friday, Apr. 20
4:00 PM-6:00 PM

Room 108
Koffler Institute for
Pharmacy Management
569 Spadina Avenue
University of Toronto
Centre for South Asian Studies

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Teesta Setalvad : Anti-India Activist . Indians Beware: Another crown for Shri Narendra Modi .

Teesta Setalvad : Anti-India Activist . Indians Beware: Another crown for Shri Narendra Modi .

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Conspiracy Exposed : Twisting the truth about Godhra

wisting the truth about Godhra ,Conspiracy Exposed

The Pioneer Edit Desk

Twisting the truth about Godhra

The ham-handed attempt of the UPA Government to controvert the basic facts of the Godhra carnage in February 2002, in which a coach of Sabarmati Express packed with Hindu pilgrims was set ablaze by a Muslim mob, has come a cropper, with the Gujarat High Court declaring the Justice UC Banerjee Committee as "unconstitutional, illegal and void". Mr Banerjee was appointed by Union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to conduct a parallel 'inquiry' into the ghastly incident and the committee's interim report, widely used as election propaganda material in Bihar by the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, made it abundantly clear that along with his remit, the former judge of the Supreme Court was also given a draft of what he should say in his findings. Although Mr Banerjee, whose conduct puts a question mark on his credibility and integrity, now claims that his findings are free of political bias, the High Court's judgement upholds the popular perception that the collaborative effort to cleanse the culprits of their horrendous crime is not without an ulterior motive and of a piece with the surreptitious effort to use the POTA review committee, nominated by the UPA Government, to drop the charges against those arrested for planning and executing the ghastly act. That this inference is not unfounded is further borne out by the efforts of the Congress and its allies to save Mohammed Afzal Guru from the gallows. The pattern that emerges is clear: This regime is willing to go to any extent to appease those who have nothing but contempt for the nation and its people in the mistaken belief that by sparing criminals it can reap Muslim votes. The outcome of the Bihar Assembly election should have effectively negated such perverse thinking, but neither the Congress nor its drumbeaters, including those in the Left, are easily deterred.

Hence, the Gujarat High Court's ruling - that by setting up the UC Banerjee Committee, the UPA Government violated provisions of the Commission of the Inquiry Act and the Indian Railways Act because the Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission is already probing the Godhra carnage that resulted in the death of 59 karsevaks returning from Ayodhya - has not had its desired deterrent effect on the UPA Government, least of all on the Congress. The irreverence with which the Congress treats judicial pronouncements is reflected in the party spokesman's rejection of Friday's judgement and the brazen assertion that the High Court verdict is not the last word in the judicial process. This is only to be expected because the absurd 'finding' of Mr Banerjee, who did not even bother to speak to those who survived the attack or the relatives of those who died and yet came to the amazing conclusion that the devastating fire in the coach was accidental and not intentional, suits the twisted politics of those who practice minorityism. For them, it is inconsequential that a Railway Tribunal's findings differ from this story; nor is it of any relevance that a local court has prima facie accepted that the fire was the handiwork of a mob. But sooner than later, justice catches up with criminals and their 'secular' patrons. And the voices of those who have suffered on account of this nexus have begun to count.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

IntelliBriefs: 7/11 : Modi the real PM of India speaks

What is your response Anga-na to 7/11 ?

Read What Modi says

"Terrorism is not an issue of just one state. It has become a global phenomenon and co-ordination is needed to defeat it,"

IntelliBriefs: 7/11 : Modi the real PM of India speaks

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The myth and truth of Godhra

By Arvind Lavakare May 7, 2006

Since no 'secularist' or 'liberal' or 'objective' person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape, arson and murder?

Two recent 'news briefs' in print are critical evidence of a reality that's been totally ignored by our 'liberals' who have, for four years running, gone on and on and on about the 'genocide' of Muslims in Gujarat after the sudden inferno in the S-6 compartment of Sabarmati Express had consumed 58 Hindus, including 26 women and 12 children, returning home after performing kar seva at Ayodhya.

In its edition of March 19, 2006, The Sunday Express carried the following report from Ahmedabad:

"Post-Godhra riot case: 7 get lifer
The city sessions court on Friday convicted seven people in a post-Godhra riot case and sentenced them to life term for the murder of 35-year-old Mukesh Panchal, a resident of Lambha. He was attacked by the accused and went missing on November 7, 2003 from Shah-e-Alam Darwaza. His mutilated body was found near Chandoka Lake on November 11. One of the seven accused—Javed Shaukat Ali—meanwhile managed to give the cops a slip and fled from the court."

In its edition of Wednesday, March 29, 2006 The Indian Express carried the following report, also datelined Ahmedabad:

"Nine get jail in post-Godhra riot case
The city sessions court on Tuesday convicted nine accused in a post-Godhra riot case. Additional Sessions Judge Sonia Gokani sentenced Mushtaq alias Kanio Ahmed Sheikh to 10 years in jail for murder and attempt to murder. Eight others were sentenced to 18 months in prison for unlawful assembly, possessing weapons and rioting."

Out of the five convictions so far in l'affaire Godhra, the above two rip the blindfold on Godhra that the country was subjected to since March 2002. Those two convictions conclusively prove that even as some Hindus in Vadodra, Ahmedabad and a few other parts of Gujarat were provoked into insane killing, arson and loot by the S-6 carnage, the Muslims in that state were hardly the cattle hiding from the slaughter house that they have been made out by the "secularists" in and outside our national English media. Do you, for instance, recall reading about the mutilation of Mukesh Panchal's cadaver in any of the English print media? Did you hear a sound byte about it on our TV?

Yes, despite all the media and the consequent political, propaganda about the 'genocide' of Gujarat's Muslims, the reality is that some of that community were also engaged in murder, rioting and unlawful assembly with arms in hand.

This trend was discernible to the objective person four years ago itself. Thus, in its issue of April 28, 2002, The Times of India reporter, Sanjay Pandey, told us that of the 726 people who had been killed by then in the post-Godhra riots, 168 were Hindus. In its issue of June 24, 2002, India Today carried an article saying that the official figure of all people killed in Gujarat in the three months following the S-6 massacre was 800, of which a quarter were Hindus. The Union Home Ministry's Annual Report 2002-03 said that about a third of the total dead in the Godhra riots were Hindus. It also said that, at one stage, 40,000 Hindus were in riot relief camps.

Since no 'secularist' or 'liberal' or 'objective' person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape, arson and murder?

More proof of the blindfold on Godhra came in 2005, when the UPA coalition (comprising the 'secular' friends of Muslims) made a statement in Parliament that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in those riots.

But our national media simply refused to remove the blindfold on Godhra. Hence it was that the elites of our society continued to rant about the Gujarat 'pogrom of genocide'; some cussed Indians even conspired to deny a US visa to the Chief Minister of one of the country's fastest developing states.

Aiding and abetting that conspiracy were reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International et al. The National Human Rights Commission joined in; written lies by the likes of Arundhati Roy and fake e-mails added fuel to the fire. All of them went to town about the Gujarat 'genocide' with blinkers on, a blindfold underneath. None wanted to touch upon the minority community's role in that tragedy.

But the latest criminal conviction of 16 Muslims evokes the recall of the Justice Tewatia Report on the Godhra issue published on April 26, 2002 under the aegis of the Council For International Affairs And Human Rights, based in New Delhi.

It was a report based on a six-day field study of a team headed by Justice D.S. Tewatia, former Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court. Its other members were Dr J.C. Batra, senior advocate, Supreme Court, Dr Krishan Singh, academician, Jawahar Lal Kaul, veteran journalist, and Prof. B. K. Kuthiala, Dean, Faculty of Media Studies, G.J. University, Hisar.

The five-man team visited three affected areas and relief camps in Ahmedabad, interacting freely with the public and members of both communities, and without government interference. In Godhra, five delegations from both communities and also of mixed composition presented their views and facts to the team. Similarly, free discussions with the public and affected communities were held in Vadodra at seven affected areas and five relief camps. It collected information from the staff at the Godhra Railway Station, district administration, including the Collector and Police Commissioner, passengers traveling in Sabarmati Express on 27.02.02 in S-6 compartment as well as in other compartments, staff of the Fire Brigade, Godhra, reports in 22 newspapers and nine magazines (local, regional and Delhi) and views on media coverage articulated by some 500 persons including intellectuals like lawyers, doctors and businessmen. The site where the train was initially stopped and stoned was also visited. A high point was that 13 delegations consisting of 121 citizens met Justice Tewatia's team and presented their viewpoints and information. The delegations ranged from the Association of Hoteliers to a group of Vanvasis and affected Muslim as well as Hindu women.

Based on the considerable oral, audio and visual evidence obtained from the above interactions, the Justice Tewatia team's conclusions most relevant to the blindfold on Godhra were as follows:

Burning of 58 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002 was an act carried out at the behest of then government of Pakistan which had planned to burn the entire Sabarmati Express carrying some 2000 passengers. The primary objective was to create Hindu-Muslim communal conflagration in India. The actual perpetrators were jehadi elements in the predominantly Muslim town of Godhra where

a very high traffic of telephone calls was recorded between Godhra and Pakistan, especially Karachi, before the date of the carnage

an abnormally large number of passports were issued,

there was a large number of persons without ration cards

a large number of unemployed Muslims had mobile phones,

though there is no tradition of being a Muslim pilgrim center and the local Muslims are not affluent, three istema (religious gatherings) have been held and attended by large numbers of foreigners, and

an Assistant Collector (a young Muslim from eastern UP) went on leave two days before the gory incident and did not return till the middle of March though the district of his posting was aflame with communal riots much earlier.

The vacuum pipe between the Coaches No. S-6 and S-7 was cut thereby preventing any further movement of the train. Miscreants threw bricks and stones at the train as soon as it left Godhra railway station. The stoning intensified after it finally stopped about 700 metres from the station. The passengers of the train, particularly Coaches S-5, S-6 and S-7, were the main targets. Burning missiles and acid bulbs were thrown on and in the coaches. One such acid missile landed in Coach S-7 and a fire started which the passengers were able to extinguish. But the attack continued and more burning missiles were thrown into the Coach S-6.

In an effort to control the subsequent riots, the Gujarat government

Publicly announced its decision to employ the Army on the evening of the day riots began on February 28 (Within less than 24 hours at least one brigade of Indian Army had air-landed at Ahmedabad),

Made preventive arrests of over 33,000 people,

Fired over 12,000 rounds of bullets,

Fired over 15,000 rounds of tear gas shells,

The involvement of Vanvasis in the post-Godhra riots added a new dimension to the communal violence. In rural areas the Vanvasis attacked the Muslim moneylenders, shopkeepers and the forest contractors. They used their traditional bow and arrows as also their implements used to cut trees and grass while attacking Muslims. They moved in groups and used coded signals for communication. Apparently, the accumulated anger of years of exploitation by Muslim moneylenders (interest of 50 per cent per annum), shopkeepers and forest contractors had become explosive after moneylenders sexually exploited their womenfolk.

The media selected, distorted and added fiction to prove their respective points of view. The code of ethics prescribed by the Press Council of India was violated by the media with impunity. It so enraged the citizens that several concerned citizens in the disturbed areas suggested that peace could return to the state only if some of the TV channels were closed for some weeks. Even the Vanvasis complained that the media had no time to hear their agony and was spreading canards against the Hindus. Newspapers published in English from Delhi invariably editorialised the news. Direct and indirect comments in the news writing were so telling that the personal likes and dislikes of the news reporters were too obvious to be missed. They appeared to have assumed the role of crusaders against the State Government from day one. It coloured the entire operation of newsgathering, feature writing and editorials.

Conclusions 1 to 4 above are indicators as to why our national media, ever afraid to criticise the Muslim and ever ready to indulge in BJP/Hindu bashing, bypassed the Justice Tewatia Report, despite its high credentials and the fact that it was publicly released at a press conference in New Delhi. After all, our 'secular' national media simply could not have tolerated giving even a line to report's conclusion 5 above. Hence, they simply buried the whole report itself, put a blindfold on the country vision of it. After all, they had found their Hindu-bashing agenda in the post-Godhra riots and they were hell-bent in pushing it full steam, right up to the Supreme Court and beyond to the United Nations.

Will the criminal conviction of 16 by two separate sessions judges in Ahmedabad remove the blindfold on Godhra that the 'monster media' put on the people of this country?

(The writer can be contacted at 202, Dosti Erica, Antop Hill, Wadala (E), Mumbai 400 037.)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Angana Chatterjee: a lady of all seasons

why Witzel chose to jump into the controversy when he is neither a historian nor an expert on Hinduism, but a linguist

Angana Chatterjee: a lady of all seasons

Hindus and Sikhs Protest Curriculum Changes in Calif. Textbooks

News Report, Viji Sundaram,
India West, Dec 02, 2005
Some Hindu and Sikh activists in the U.S. who have been trying in recent months to persuade the California Board of Education to adopt curriculum revisions in textbooks for elementary and middle school students say they are unhappy over the direction their efforts seem to have taken while on the home stretch.

A clutch of academics and historians, who have just recently joined the debate, seems to have neutralized the gains the activists believe they had made. The academics weighed in with their views Nov. 8, which collectively dismiss many of the curriculum changes suggested over the past year by individual Hindus, as well as such organizations as the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Society.

For example, one of the statements Hindu activists want deleted from a social science book is that Aryans were a "part of a larger group of people historians refer to as the Indo-Europeans."

The activists assert Aryans were not a race, but a term for persons of noble intellect. The academics have urged that this statement not be removed.

In that same book, Hindu activists want the statement, "Men had many more rights than women," replaced with, "Men had different duties (dharma) as well as rights than women. Many women were among the sages to whom the Vedas were revealed."

The response from the academics? "Do not change original text."

Writing on behalf of the academics, Michael Witzel, a Sanskrit professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., asserted that the groups proposing the changes have a hidden agenda.

"The proposed revisions are not of a scholarly but of a religious-political nature, and are primarily promoted by Hindutva supporters and non-specialist academics writing about issues far outside their area of expertise," Witzel wrote to CBE president Ruth Green in the letter.

Among the 45 or so signatories to his letter are Stanley Wolpert, professor of history at UCLA, and Romila Thapar, India's well-known historian.

Witzel also said that in the last two years, Indian educators themselves have "soundly repudiated" similar revisions in Indian history textbooks suggested by Hindu groups.

The CBE has included the recommendations by Witzel and other academics who have co-signed his letter, under the heading, "Final Recommendations," which seems to suggest that its vote later this week would more than likely favor the academics.

"I think the (December) meeting is a mere formality," noted Princeton, N.J., resident Rajiv Malhotra, who participated in the push for reforms. "I think the deck is stacked against Hindus," he told India-West.

Even so, supporters and opponents of reforms are planning to show up in large numbers at the Board of Education office in Sacramento Dec. 1 and 2, when the curriculum commission is slated to vote on the suggested changes.

Supporters are hoping to make a last ditch effort to have their voices heard. They say it is crucial that the CBE accepts their suggestions if students are to get a proper perspective of Indian culture and history.

"The social science and history textbooks do not give as generous a portrayal of Indian culture as they do of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures," asserted Malhotra, founder of Infinity Foundation, an organization that is trying to give a "fair" portrayal of India in the U.S. "The Board of Education needs to have a standard that should be applied to all religions."

"There's a Euro-centric slant to what's being taught in California classrooms," noted San Francisco Bay Area resident Mona Vijaykar to India-West. "I'm upset that India's contribution to modern civilization is not highlighted, and presented like European civilization is."

Vijaykar runs the "India in Classrooms" program she launched two years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area to set right misconceptions teachers and students have about Indian history and culture.

And Prof. Onkar S. Bindra, who teaches Indian studies at the Renaissance Society, a retirement learning facility at California State University in Sacramento, complained that most of the social science and history books have no mention about the contributions Sikhs have made in their homeland or in their adopted country.

"There are 200,000 Sikhs in California, a significant enough number to deserve mention in California textbooks," Bindra told India-West.

One reason the protests of Hindu and Sikh activists may well be brushed off by the CBE is the fact that there is little sign that these demands have resonated either within the broader Indian American community in California, or the substantial number of humanities experts of Indian descent in U.S. academia.

With several hundred thousand Indian Americans in the state, none of the major community organizations has expressed any support. Witzel's letter, on the other hand, includes signatories like Harvard professor Homi Bhabha, University of Michigan professor Madhav Deshpande, in addition to Thapar, arguably one of the world's most respected experts in ancient Indian history.

Every six years, the CBE meets with textbook publishers for possible revisions.

The books are then sent to all the educational institutions in the 50 counties in the state so educators and parents can offer suggestions.

The CBE began the elaborate revision process about one year ago. Since then, it has been reviewing the suggested changes, including those it received at public hearings it held.

At one of those hearings in November, for nearly five hours the 13-member CBE board heard members of the Hindu and Sikh communities put forth their arguments for changes. Most said they felt slighted by the materials in the textbooks.

Vijaykar told India-West that a social science textbook depicted a Hindu bride as sitting with a white sheet pulled over her head in front of a sacred fire, as if "she was weighed down by the sheet." And brides in India don't wear white, only widows do, she said.

"Hinduism is not treated with the same respect as Christianity or Judaism," Dr. Mihir Meghani, president of the Hindu American Foundation, told the board. Unlike in those faiths, "the sacred scriptures of Hinduism are referred to as legends or myths."

Bindra, among other Sikh speakers that day, told the board that the existing textbooks will not help elementary and middle school students in identifying with and respecting the Sikh culture, something that is so important, especially after 9/11.

"Students need to know that almost everyone who wears turbans in America are Sikhs from Punjab in India, and they have nothing to do with the Taliban or Osama bin Laden," he said.

Among the Hindu groups trying to push for curriculum changes are the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation.

Trying to get more Hindus involved in what it called the "Curriculum Reform Initiative," the Vedic Foundation cited a passage in one of the existing textbooks that spoke of Hanuman in a frivolous manner. The foundation pointed out that "teachings such as these promote the rejection of a valuable spiritual and cultural tradition by Hindu youth."

But the issue has also pitted one group of Indian Americans against some others. Leftist and political activist Angana Chatterji, who teaches at the San Francisco-based California Institute of Integral Studies, told India-West that like Witzel and his supporters, she believes that those pushing for curriculum changes in the history books are "Hindu nationalists," and the changes they are proposing are "not ethical."

For example, she said, those pushing for reforms want India to be portrayed as a former "Hindu state."

"I agree some parts of the curriculum require re-representation," Chatterji said, but quickly noted: "History isn't about how good we feel about ourselves. There's a difference between history and nationalism."

Former deputy superintendent of the San Mateo and Foster City school districts Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who once served on a math textbook evaluation committee, felt that some of the demands of the Hindu organizations were a stretch -- asking that the history textbooks say that Ram Rajya lasted for 1.8 million years, for one.

"A scientific mind is not going to accept that," Prasad said, pointing out, however, that depicting brides in the manner described by Vijaykar needs to be corrected.

He defended the CBE's curriculum revision modus operandi as "fair and just."

"They are not prejudiced people," Prasad told India-West, noting that CBE members take their responsibilities very seriously because "they realize that if they screw up in California, the rest of the nation will be screwed."

California is the largest purchaser of textbooks and, therefore, educational publishers are careful to win approval from the CBE.

"The trend has always been that whatever California adopts, most of the rest of the nation adopts," Prasad said