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Exploring Religious Conflicts?
<b>Exploring Religious Conflicts? RAND as New Religious Media (NRM) --Dr. S. Kalyanaraman </b>
-Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 09:43:20 +0000
> Pioneer-6Sept2005

RSS @ terrorist.com

Sandhya Jain

A friend recently offered a profound insight, viz., the Rand
Corporation headquarters at Santa Monica, visible on its website, is shaped like
the “Jesus fish,” the secret sign by which Early Christians recognized
each other and under which they organized to overthrow the Roman
Empire. Today, the Jesus fish is the symbol of Bible-thumping fundamentalists
in America, who stick it on their cars to proclaim adherence to a rabid
Christian identity that has little tolerance of “Others.”

This makes Rand’s decision to classify the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS) as a New Religious Movement (NRM), given to espousing a “militant
religious philosophy based on exclusivity and hate,” understandable.
NRM is an artificial Western concept in religious studies, to which
Rand-CIA expert Mark Juergensmeyer has given a sinister twist in pursuit of
a political agenda. This form of hate propaganda originated in Marxist
and Christian circles and is now making rapid strides in Christian
discourse. Rand espouses the White Settler ideology that hates and
demonizes all individuals and groups that resist evangelical thrusts in their

Chronologically, the Rand report is part of a “seeding” by the less
famous American Terrorism Research Centre (TRC) last September. Those
familiar with the art world would know that “seeding” is a process by which
clever fakes of famous artists are “planted” in remote places and
“discovered” later. I have found reputed colonial scholars using this modus
operandi to plant obnoxious “evidence” about beef-eating in India.
Interestingly, TRC is closely associated with the American government. It
listed RSS, which does not possess arms, among “Known Terrorist Groups
Operating in India,” mostly Islamic, but also Christian, Sikh and
Maoist. No justification was given for the classification.

Even a layman can distinguish “terrorism” from alleged
involvement in incidents of violence. Rand analysts studying “religious
motivations in international politics and… how states have sought to take
advantage of or contain religious violence,” should have scrutinized
evangelical America and radical Islam.

The report, “Exploring Religious Conflict,” is intellectually and
factually inadequate. It insinuates that RSS was involved in Mahatma
Gandhi’s assassination because it was “banned for a few years by the Indian
government because of its acts of violence and terrorism and its
exhortation to followers to resort to terrorist methods in the promulgation of
its religious ideas.” One expected this statement to be accompanied by
annexures detailing RSS literature to this effect; there are none.

Though RSS is ranked as an NRM along with the more celebrated Al Qaeda,
no instances are cited of RSS members smashing airplanes into crowded
buildings or masterminding synchronized bomb blasts in world capitals.
Undeterred, the CIA-funded experts have lumped RSS with mad cults like
the Branch Davidians of Waco and Christian and Jewish groups that
possess arms and espouse terrorism to achieve political goals.

RSS has been targetted because of its association with the BJP, which
came to power at the Centre seven years ago. Although BJP has since
diminished in power and status, RSS’ stature has grown. Rand claims, with
no credible evidence, that RSS indulged in violence against Muslims and
Christians, and is a “threat to the idea of India as a secular state.”
It fails to explain why Washington is adamant about worldwide
conversion if it is secular!

Washington is maligning RSS because the latter is not amenable to its
geo-political vision and is the only organized group in Hindu society to
consistently combat conversion activities. Rand clubs RSS with violent
NRMs on the basis of two defining characteristics – a high degree of
tension between the group and its surrounding society; and a high degree
of control by leaders over members, as witnessed in ritualized acts of
mass suicide and homicide by Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, and Aum

These fringe sects have certainly indulged in horrendous acts of
violence, but it is laughable to apply these yardsticks to RSS. There is no
tension between RSS and surrounding Hindu society; nor do its leaders
exercise totalitarian control over members. Anyone doubting this should
note BJP president L.K. Advani’s defiance of the RSS desire that he step
down from his position, and former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai
Patel’s refusal to end his tirade against Mr. Narendra Modi.

Despite its intellectual juvenility, the Rand report is dangerous
because it is likely to be used by the US State Department at its next
annual International Religious Freedoms Report. This brings us to the
interesting fact that no terrorist groups or individuals have been listed
from Pakistan (haven of Wahabi madrasas and ISI-run training camps) or
Bangladesh (heard of Bangla Bhai?). According to the South Asia Terrorism
Portal, India’s terrorism casualties in the decade 1994-2005 (facts,
not cosmic hallucinations) are Jammu and Kashmir (31,782); North-east
(13,933); Naxalites (5,041); Punjab (175) and Others (6); making a
staggering total of 50,937 victims. These were human beings who became
statistics in our struggle against foreign-funded criminals.

Naturally Rand will not dare scrutinize American fanatics like Pat
Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition (surely an NRM), who makes no
pretense about his espousal of violence to achieve political ends. The
renowned tele-evangelist publicly asked the US Government to
assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for posing “a terrific danger” to
America by “exporting Communism and Islamic extremism.” Addressing his
“The 700 Club” show on 22 August 2005, Robertson proclaimed that if
Chavez feared America was plotting to assassinate him, “we really ought to
go ahead and do it… It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.”

Though Robertson issued a formal apology following public
outrage over his remark, it seems likely that he endorses assassination
as a means of achieving political goals. He remains America’s leading
religious evangelist and was a contender for the Republican presidential
nomination in 1988, which shows he is part of the political elite and
that separation of religion and politics is quite porous in America!
Worse, Robertson is a vigorous advocate of the politics of Ugly America;
he favours action against Mr. Chavez because Venezuela controls 10% of
American oil imports, denial of which could hurt its economy. President
Chavez had threatened that his country would stop oil exports if
anything happened to him.

It is hardly surprising that all so-called threats to US security and
national interests listed by the Rand report turn out to be countries
and societies threatened by American imperialism! India emerges as a
nation America needs to “control” to realize its global ambitions, and her
Westernized Oriental Elite (WOE unto us) is more than willing to play
ball. RSS is one of the few organized bulwarks against this nefarious
design; hence the demonization as violent, terrorist, totalitarian.

Interestingly, CIA-Rand says that the Hindu–Bauddha cosmic battle
between Good and Evil is a perennial struggle to exit the Wheel of Existence
with its continuous cycle of rebirths and achieve Nirvana. Now this
metaphysical battle of the Indic traditions never, ever, becomes the
manifest physical conflict that perennially accompanies the spiritual quest
in Abrahamic faiths (both heretical and mainline sects). Yet the
analogy has been invoked to label Ayodhya as a “battlefield” – a clear signal
to the Muslim community not to accommodate Hindu sensitivities on Ram
Janmabhoomi. The CIA knows that Hindu dharma’s divine battlefield is
Kurukshetra; Ayodhya was where we achieved the perfect kingdom under a
perfect king, hence ‘Ram rajya.’


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