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Napoleon was not only a brilliant battlefield commander, but among his versatile talents, was the ability to pick men of great caliber. Fortunately for britain he never understood naval tactics. So fearful was Europe of this man that they exiled him to a remote location from which he could not escape. The marshalls whom he appointed became famous in their own right. However that was the end of an era and the era of prussian military might began.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Napoleon was not only a brilliant battlefield commander, but among his versatile talents, was the ability to pick men of great caliber<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


The suggestion here is that these men became great military leaders <i>before</i> the arrival of Napoleon on the scene. The French Revolution had cleared France of the King, his effeminate court, and the aristocratic dandies who led his armies.

The Republic of France almost immediately was at war with the rest of aristocratic Europe...and in that sense the French needed new leadership <i>fast</i>. These sons of tanners, lawyers, and barrel-coopers quickly rose to fame on the strength of their performance and not due to birth.

This has acute lessons for those in the Indian sub-continent who still believe in the ridiculous "Martial Races" theory!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The suggestion here is that these men became great military leaders before the arrival of Napoleon on the scene<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Well yes and no. You are right that the french revolution was well under way by the time young napoleon came on the scene and hijacked it later. But the fact remains he was the one who made most of them marshalls of France.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This has acute lessons for those in the Indian sub-continent who still believe in the ridiculous "Martial Races" theory! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Absolutely. couldnt agree with you more.
Napoleon and his Marshalls

A few edited excerpts from this remarkable book:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When General Bonaparte introduced his new whirlwind methods into the art of warfare in 1796, the only real changes he made at first were the furious marching and the imposition of the <i>will of genius </i>upon his men. The reorganizing, the corps system, the standardization of the artillery, the lozenge formation, the giant batteries, the pivotal battle, the cavalry screen, all these came later.

But in 1796 Bonaparte won his startling victories with an army that was a legacy from the past. <b>He did not create the fierce spirit of attack; he inherited it from the Sambre-et-Meuse</b>. He did not invent the infantry attack in column with a cloud of skirmishers in front, for it was forced on the rag-tag civilian army of the infant Republic by a lack of training. The close column was easier to handle than the long perfectly dressed line, and the cloud of skirmishers gave full scope for the natural individualism and élan of the Frenchman.

When the first creation of Marshals was made, six out of the eighteen were men who could not remotely be described as brilliant soldiers. They were not young, they were not dashing, and they were not talented. Their elevation to the rank of Marshal of the Empire was due solely to Napoleon’s intense desire to weld three regimes into one and call it France. He wished to preserve the balance between past (Royalist France), present (Republican France), and future (Imperial France), and so he took six old Republican Generals and gave them the disused Royalist title (Marshal) and set them to serve his Empire.

One of these six was sixty-nine year old Kellerman. He was made a Marshal because he commanded the French line at the most trivial and yet the most important battle that changed the destiny of the world. As a battle the cannonade of Valmy was a joke; <b>as an event it was portentous</b>.

It was 1792 and General Dumouriez was Commander-in-Chief of a rabble. The disciplined troops of Prussia, the legacy of the terrible Frederick, were rolling into France like a steady and ponderous iron machine, along with their Austrian allies. Dumouriez had only one chance, to hold the passes through the densely wooded hills of Argonne. “I will hold them like Thermopylae,” were almost his last words before he evacuated them in a hurry and took post beside the mill of Valmy, with his back to Argonne and Germany and his face to Paris.

The iron machine rolled through the mud of the evacuated passes, swung around the doomed army, and came to the assault on Valmy. Kellerman commanded the line on the hill, Dumouriez the reserve behind the hill. For hours the Prussian artillery thundered at the French; for hours the Republican artillery thundered back, and, to the astonishment of everyone on both sides, the rag-tag amateurs held firm! Kellerman himself was unmovable.

At last the Prussian General estimated that his time had come, and he launched Frederick’s irresistible engine…the line attack of Prussian infantry…down into the valley to climb the low ridge to the Valmy hill. Steadily and slowly the infantry went down, and then something went wrong with the engine. Whether the mud got too deep, or whether the Prussian General lost his nerve, at any rate the line-attack wavered, halted, and then with complete precision and dignity turned itself into a line-retreat, and the battle was over. The next day the enemy was gone.

Valmy was the first link in a chain of incredible victories that ended forever 23 years later at Waterloo.      

This book was a great read and I must thank Airavat Singh for recommending it on his list at amazon.co.uk
Manu Smriti

A new translation of the great law book of the Hindus. It is to be revered as one of the great law books of all humanity. Notice how in the west the Hammurabi, the Talmud/Mishnah, and Maimonides are greatly built up.

So also Manu is for Asia.

I find this translation to be relatively better than the previous one by Buehler and recommend using it with the Sanskrit. I have not had Sanskr since 12std and this translation helped me with the reading.
Nobody criticizes hammurabi for not being modern enough in his outlook. It is expected that the laws he devised were meant for his age and less so for today. But the secularist brigade do not give the benefit to Manusmrti They expect the laws of manu to conform to the laws and mores of today. Forget about praising Manu for being the earliest Law giver known to the homos apiens species, it is hard to find a writer Indian or otherwise saying anything remotely complementary to Manu.

Such denigration of manu when it occurs is along expected lines and is now fairly commmonplace. Another instance of the Societal Stockholm syndrome ?
<!--QuoteBegin-Kaushal+Aug 23 2004, 01:01 PM-->QUOTE(Kaushal @ Aug 23 2004, 01:01 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Nobody criticizes hammurabi for not being modern enough in his outlook. It is expected that the laws he devised were meant for his age and less so for today. But the secularist brigade do not give the benefit to Manusmrti They expect the laws of manu to conform to the laws and mores of today. Forget about praising Manu for being the earliest Law giver known to the homos apiens species, it is hard to find a writer Indian or otherwise saying anything remotely complementary to Manu.
Absolutely that is what I learnt over time. In India the textbooks went on and on about Manu's injustice to women and slaves. But even that is selective quotation for the same Manusmriti administers just views on women and slaves. The feminist Kishwar had pointed out that Manu was not in vogue recently and was not an authoritative text. I think there is a right and wrong point here. Manu, was definitely considered a great hoary authority by the Hindus, but the Smriti was hardly practiced to the dot on the i or the stroke on the t. It was a general guideline and already a historical text of law with interpolations. Manu's contributions could be easily viewed as a production of those times, had the secularist not forced it down as the contemporary Hindu belief in need for condemnation. Do we see the US raking up the muck in the laws of Hammurabi or Maimonides? No, instead the general view of them is that of great historic law givers and they are depicted in the US court room. Likewise with Manu for us.
Lot of Islamic scholars are denigrating Hindu topic books,
They are careful and bring about superficial things to denegrate the theme, topic and the author.

Name of the Book Decolonizing the Hindu Mind –Ideological development of Hindu Revivalism
Author Koenraad Elst
Publisher Rupa & Co. , New Delhi
Year 2001
Pages 657 + xvii
Price Rs 595 (HB)

Reviewed By Ayub Khan
In the past decade Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst has emerged as the most prominent advocate of Sangh Parivar in the West. His vociferous defence of the Hindu right is equally matched by his rabid attacks on Islam. In order to escape being branded a bigot he follows a route, which is much popular among anti-Muslim writers these days. He insists: “not Muslims but Islam is the problem.” (See Koenraad Elst review of Thom Blom Hansen’s The Saffron Wave). Elst’s commitment to the Sangh Parivar can be gauged from the fact that he unabashedly defended it even as the fires of Gujarat were still raging last year. (See Elst’s Dr.Hathaway’s Patronizing Conclusions published at Rediff.com). Such is his importance in Hindutva circles that L.K.Advani quoted him at length while deposing before the Liberhans Commission investigation the demolition of Babri Masjid. Based on his PhD thesis Elst’s Decolonizing the Hindu Mind is a study of the history and ideological development of the extremist Hindutva movement, which he prefers to call “Hindu Revivalism.”

In this book Elst tries to promote a humane face of the Hindutva fanatics while at the same time indulging in polemical attacks on Islam and Christianity. He rejects the charges of fascism, fundamentalism, extremism, etc. lobbed against the Hindu supremacist movement, instead opting for the voguish “revivalism.” It is Elst’s contention that the Muslims along with British were also colonizers of the Hindu civilization and that Nehruvian secularism and Islam are two major adversaries that are obstructing the revival of Hindu religion. Hindu thought he argues is finally coming on its own after “centuries of being under the shadow of Islam and Christianity.”

This ‘revivalism’ is not a recent phenomenon but began in the early stages of the British rule of India by groups like Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj under the leadership of influential reformers like Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Shraddhanand. . Nor is this revivalism limited to those within the Sangh Parivar or other similarly oriented organizations. According to Elst “the most interesting formulations of Hindu revivalist thought have been provided by individuals outside the said organizations, from Bankimchandra Chatterjee and Sri Aurobindo to Ram Swarup , Sita Ram Goel and their younger friends.” (p.584)

While charting the history of this movement Elst relies almost exclusively on sources associated with Hindu groups giving only partial and that too mostly negative consideration for the other viewpoints. He writes that Arya Samaj leader Shradhhananda became active in Shuddhi work only after discovering Dai-e-Islam , the so-called ‘secret’ pamphlet of Khwaja Hasan Nizami, which called upon Muslims to engage in Dawah work. Elst doesn’t mention the fact that the activities of Khwaja Hasan Nizami and other luminaries of the Tabligh/Tanzeem movement were a reaction to the massive conversion efforts of Arya Samaj and not vice versa. The Dai-e-Islam was not a ‘secret’ pamphlet but was distributed widely in the public. The year 1923 alone, in which it was first published, saw three editions of the book. By 1925 it has already seen its fifth edition. Does any book that was supposed to be secret, ever published on such a massive scale? Additionally Elst doesn’t mention that there were similar allegations of a ‘secret’ Shuddhi book from the Muslim side. Tabligh leader Ghulam Bhik Nairang had claimed that the Kashmiri ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh had commissioned a 21-volume Hindi encyclopaedia by the name of Ranbir Karit Prayaschit Mahanibandh (Ranbir’s Great Essay on Repentance), which suggested strategies for converting to the Hindu-fold many neo-Muslim communities in India. This encyclopaedia was alleged to have been secretly circulated among prominent Hindus so that the Muslims remain unaware of the plot. An unbiased scholar should have mentioned this allegation as well but may be that is too much to expect from a person like Elst.

One cannot but help notice Elst’s attempts to whitewash the horrible heritage of the Hindutva movement. He defends RSS’ less than patriotic record during the freedom movement by creating lame excuses. Hence RSS founder Hedgewar kept his outfit away from Gandhian agitation “partly for safety reasons, not to endanger the young sapling, and partly because he had a metapolitical project in mind.” (p.145) We have often read this infamous statement of Golwalkar from his book We,Our Nationhood Defined: “From this standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverance Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in Hindu race; or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment- not even citizen’s rights.” Elst explains it way away as a “juvenile mistake” on part of Golwalkar and that he (Golwalkar) himself withdrew it and that a majority of Hindu nationalists have never read it. One only needs to look at the statements of current RSS chief Sudarshan where he routinely asks Muslims and Christians to Indianise (read Hinduise) to realize the falsity of this argument.

If we are to believe Elst, the Bharatiya Janata Party is more secular than other parties and that RSS is Boy Scouts like organization whose members think that it deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for their ‘constructive work.’ (p.155) According to him BJP has outdone even the Congress and other secularist parties in reaching out to the Muslims. He criticises the BJP ministers for not introducing even an ounce of Hindutva when they are in power. They are simply too nice. (p.245). They have gone soft and are acting like the “secularists.” The growing militancy of Parivaris is simply not good enough for him. He is pained by the token gestures that BJP makes towards Muslims. Downplaying RSS’ shrewd tactics he says it is a “big dinosaur in a small brain.” (p.234) He is exasperated with the RSS’ culture of “anti-intellectualism” and argues that other parties profit from this scenario. A glaring omission from the book is the analysis of RSS’ propaganda machinery. It is really surprising how Elst could miss the Sangh’s masterful use of catchy slogans, provocative art and inflammatory rhetoric. The RSS is anything but innocent when it comes to propaganda but Elst blissfully ignores it. Anyone with some familiarity with the Sangh’s tactics knows that all these gestures of goodwill towards Muslims are just a façade to mask its real dangerous intentions and to gain acceptability in the populace. Elst himself hints towards this when he writes that the shift from “Hindu” to “Indian” in the formation of BJP was not due to conviction but to fear. (p.158) At another place he admits that ‘anti-Muslim feelings are hiding just beneath the surface of Muslim-friendly statements.’ (p.362)

While the Sangh is hiding its anti-Muslim feelings Elst is more forthcoming in his animosity towards Islam and Muslims. He is smitten by the age-old biases about Islam. Two fanatical writers namely Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup shape his views on Islam. A careful study of these pseudo-historians indicates that there is nothing original in their works. They have just recycled the old orientalist works with the addition of inflammatory comments. For Elst however these two characters are heroes and whose books all Hindu revivalists should read. He says that the Islamic civilization did not create any substantial contribution in the development of India and there is nothing special about the Indo-Saracenic architecture. He says that Muslims did not work towards the elimination of caste-system in India but only preserved it. He falsely claims that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) never enjoined class equality. (p.398) Obviously he has not read the last sermon of the Prophet (SAW). Elst narrates with relish the myth about the execution of 900 Jews at the order of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in Madina without realizing that this has been debunked long time ago by classical Islamic scholars like Ibn Hajar and Imam Malik and recently by Barakat Ahmed in an article in The Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society. Similarly other arguments made by messrs Sita Ram Goel etc have been refuted but Elst would care less. In the bizarre world of Elst and his Hindutva fellow travellers Islam is to be blamed for all the ills of the Indian society as well as the world. From child marriage, caste inequalities to violence and poverty.

In his maniacal zeal Elst hopes for a similar destruction of Islam as had happened to Communism. He wants the Parivar to concentrate more in attacking the Islamic belief systems. He writes: “But the implosion of Soviet Communism has alerted people to the possibility that giants on clay feet can crumble surprisingly fast, and in particular, that Pakistan and the rest of the Islamic world may soon see the collapse of their dominant ideology from within.” (p.591) It looks like he needs a refresher course in world history. Islam has survived much more destructive scenarios (civil wars, Mongol invasion, dismantling of the Caliphate, etc) in its history than the one it is currently facing. If Elst and his fellow daydreamers think that they can destroy Islam by indulging in pedestrian attacks they are simply fooling themselves.

With regards to Indian Muslims Elst once again repeats the many urban myths that they are a pampered lot, always start riots, are multiplying at an alarming rate etc. If these claims are true then why are Muslims still so down trodden and impoverished ? In discussing the alleged Indian Muslim power to ban books Elst makes a patently false claim. He says that Richard M.Eaton’s Sufis of Bijapur is banned in India because in it ‘a few marginal sentences casts an unfavourable light on the Sufi tradition.’ (p.318) According to Dr.Richard Eaton this book was never banned. As a matter of fact when the book went out of print with its original publisher, Princeton University Press, it was picked up by Munshiram Manoharlal in New Delhi and is still available from them.

Elst accuses other India watchers of not meeting any Hindutva leaders in their research while at the same time he himself has not interviewed any Muslim to get his viewpoint. Not one Muslim, not even the BJP ones, figures in his long list of people that he has interviewed. His hostility towards the Muslims is evident when he describes the mild-mannered Syed Shahahbuddin as a “proverbial fanatic.” Compare this with that of Elst’s description of Advani whom he calls a “soft-spoken gentleman” who had tears in his eyes when his vandals destroyed the Babri Masjid. Expectedly Advani’s tears were shed not at the demolition of the Babri Masjid but at the “breakdown of RSS discipline.” (p.175)

Regarding Babri Masjid Elst continues his blame game by pointing fingers towards Narasimha Rao and V.P.Singh. He writes: “I was told at the BJP office that Prime Minister V.P.Singh had suggested to Advani that he create some public opinion pressure on the Government concerning Ayodhya. That way, V.P.Singh (who rejected the claim that the disputed building was a “mosque”) could explain to his Muslim supporters that in the face of such mighty pressure, he would be unable to keep his promise to give them the disputed site. So, possibly that is how the BJP decided to have the Rath Yatra.” (p.174) V.P.Singh has always denied this charge.

With regards to Narasimha Rao’s government’s involvement in the demolition of the Babri Masjid Elst writes: “Consider the matter from his (Narasimha Rao’s) viewpoint: as long as the “mosque” (for the BJP, “the disputed structure”; for commentator Girilal Jain, “the non-mosque”) was standing, the BJP could use it as a rallying-point, a visible “sign of national humiliation imposed by the invader Babar” kept in place by the “pseudo-secularist” Congress Government. On the other hand, if the building was demolished in a BJP-related action, this could be used against the BJP and the whole Hindu movement, viz.as a reason to dismiss the BJP state governments and ban the Hindu mass organizations. This is at any rate what effectively happened; the Ayodhya theme was killed as a BJP vote-getter, and the BJP’s march to power was temporarily reversed.” (p.175)

Apart from Muslim bashing Decolonizing the Hindu Mind throws up some interesting sides notes as well. For example that one of the nieces of L K Advani converted to Islam and married a Muslim man with his blessings. According to Gurudatt Vaidya, a prominent Arya Samaji,Jana Sanghi, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Jan Sangh leader, died of a heart attack in his prison cell because he ate two chickens against his doctor’s orders. So much for Sangh’s advocacy of vegetarianism.

In short Elst is a very useful writer for the Parivar even though he admits that the relationship has soured because of his criticism of RSS. But despite that it appears that the Parivar is taking him seriously. The very selective appointments of Sangh oriented individuals in scientific, educational, cultural and literary councils, and attempts to re-write the history, aggressive campaigns against Muslims and other minorities, all indicate that slowly but surely Elst’s recommendations are being implemented. The relationship between the two is mutually beneficial. The Parivar gets a seasoned and ardent advocate for its agenda in the West and Elst (a self confessed apostate from Christianity and one whose sole source of income is writing) gets an ideology to hold on to, apart from the material benefits that come along with it.
Book Information

<b>Adi Deo Arya Devata. A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface</b>
Sandhya Jain

Rupa 2004
Price Rs. 495/-
ISBN 81-291-05522-5

The British claimed that India's Adivasi population lay beyond the pale of mainstream Hindu society. Yet even a cursory mapping of the spiritual-cultural landscape reveals a deep symbiotic relationship between tribals and non-tribals, which is amply reflected in the ancient literature and in inscriptions. Indeed, it was also noted by colonial anthropologists and ethnographers (mainly British officials), who deliberately delinked tribals from Hindu society through imposition of racial categories and Census classifications.

Tribals have made an enormous contribution to India's civilization; all major gods of the Indic tradition have tribal links. Shiva was worshipped by forest-dwelling communities in large parts of the country, as were Vishnu's incarnations as Varaha (boar) and Narasimha (lion). Vishnu in fact evolved out of several distinct deities, notably Vasudeva, supreme lord of the Vrishni/Satvata tribe; Krishna of the Yadava clan; Gopala of the Abhira tribe; and Narayana of the Hindukush mountains. Similarly, Gautama Buddha hailed from the Sakya tribe; Vardhaman Mahavira was a scion of the Jnatrikas.

There is to this day a close relationship between the Kurumba, Lambadi, Yenadi, Yerukula and Chenchu tribes and Shri Venkateshwar of Tirupathi. Lord Ayyappam in Kerala and Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu also appear to have tribal links. All these gods and temples, as also that of Jagannath in Puri, enjoy preeminent status in the classical Hindu pantheon.

Even caste, long regarded as the keynote of Hindu society, possibly originated in the tribal clan or gotra. The term `jat' or `jati' is used equally for caste and tribe in most Indian languages and tribal dialects. Moreover, the defining characteristics of tribes apply equally to castes, such as claims of descent from a common ancestor, common language, endogamy and clan exogamy, caste/tribal councils, certain taboos in matters of diet and marriage alliances, presence of hierarchy within groups, and limited self-sufficiency.

Mahatma Gandhi insisted that tribals are an inalienable part of Hindu society. This work suggests that tribal society constitutes the keynote and the bedrock of Hindu civilization.
A Review of "Political Islam in the Indian Subcontinent" by Frederic Grare.

Al-Islam hua Al-Hal (Islam is the solution to everything)
- Motto of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan

In merely 134 pages, international affairs scholar and the director of the Center de Science Humaines (cultural wing of the French embassy in India), Frederic Grare, has attempted to dissect the ideology and operations of the principal Islamic fundamentalist organization of South Asia, the Jamaat-i-Islami.

Grare's aim of situating his study in the larger context of the "green peril", which many believe is steadily endangering our world, is not feasible and over ambitious due to the shortness of the tract and the lack of adequate background research. Nonetheless, the topic is of great germaneness to world politics and should prompt someone else to a more thorough investigation of the Jamaat and its kindred.

Grare rightly asserts that social science researchers of the West have taken little interest in the Islamism of the Indian subcontinent and confined themselves to the Arabic and Persian versions. Like Samuel Huntington's strange omission of South America from his civilizational fight club line-up, Grare oddly does not once mention Islamism in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand or the Philippines and remains assured that South Asia is the third (and last?) cultural center of radical Islam.

Had he read V S Naipaul's Beyond Belief or reports about militant Islamic secessionist movements in Mindanao, Kelantan, southern Thailand or Maluku, he could have started with a different hypothesis. Proper knowledge of the geopolitical epicenters of Islamism is important before venturing on a publication purporting to assess whether the phenomenon is a "peril" or, to use Daniel Pipes' characterization, "fascism".

Grare's definition of Islamism is that it is not simply mad religious fervor, extreme moral rigor or recourse to violence, but essentially Islam's "relationship to politics and hence the state", through which it tries to realize a "truly Muslim society". (p.10) Jamaat-i-Islami is most powerful in Pakistan and it is mainly in that country that its actions are deeply interwoven into political structures. Abul Ala Maududi (1903-1979), the Jamaat's founder, was the single most important personage who ensured that Islam remained in the foreground of Pakistan's politics and foreign policy since 1947.

Ironically, Maududi was opposed to Pakistan founding father Ali Jinnah's "Muslim nationalism" before partition in 1947, although he shared the Muslim League's views about religion constituting the basis of nationality. What was wrong with Muslim nationalism of the Jinnah ilk was acceptance of the principle of rule of the majority, which Maududi considered "Western" and against the "call of Islam". The main difference between Nizam-i-Mustafa (the system of the Prophet) and Western democracy was that sovereignty belongs to Allah alone in the former, and not the people.

"There is only one single law, the sharia, imposed from above by God who is the only lawmaker and the only sovereign." (p.20) In practical terms, Maududi's contempt for the Pakistan movement lay in the fact that "it was clear to him that Jinnah had no intention of making Pakistan an Islamic state". (p.28) The idea of a secular democratic Pakistan obstructed the "religious notion of law" and was thus too feeble to realize "required uprightness" and totality of Islam in society.

The other reason that Maududi warned his followers against Muslim nationalism was that it promoted "sectarian interests", which destroyed the "unity of the Muslim world", ie the ummah. Quick to concoct conspiracies, Maududi alleged that nationalism was "a Western concept which divided the Muslim world and thus prolonged the supremacy of Western imperialist powers". (p.23) Islamism's obsession with the millat, the worldwide brotherhood of believers, would later translate into externalities such as Osama bin Laden's International Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, an umbrella transnational entity that knows no national, linguistic or cultural boundaries.

Once Pakistan was formed, though, Jamaat made a tactical adjustment and started talking about "Islamic nationalism" (not "Muslim nationalism") as the first step in the establishment of a universal Islamist revolution. Maududi launched a determined campaign from December 1947 for the progressive Islamization of the Pakistani state and incorporation of the world "Islamic" into the new constitution. When India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire over Kashmir in April 1948, Maududi curiously asserted that "carrying out further covert operations constituted a violation of the sharia and attested to the non-Islamic nature of Pakistan". (p.29) What Islam dictated was not stealthy infiltration into Kashmir but "officially denouncing the ceasefire agreement and resuming hostilities openly"!

Maududi did not mean to dissuade holy warriors from entering Kashmir, for he decreed that "volunteers could fight on the basis of an individual commitment for jihad", while the Pakistani government held true to the ceasefire. This "individual commitment" semantic would later come in handy for the Pakistani state, which utilized Jamaat as a cover for its foreign policy in South and Central Asia.

Maududi was imprisoned until the end of 1949 for refusing to sign the oath of allegiance to the state and affirming that "it was to God alone that a Muslim owed allegiance". He won an initial victory in March 1949 when the constituent assembly recognized the principle of "divine sovereignty" from which the state of Pakistan derived its delegated sovereignty. Jamaat's star shone after Liaqat Ali Khan's death (1951), as its agitations and publicity drives forced the ratified constitution to usher in the "Islamic Republic of Pakistan", with clause 205 reading, "No law contrary to the teachings of the Koran and the Hadith could be adopted by parliament."

The army's takeover and Ayub Khan's emphasis on socioeconomic development rather than religion led the Jamaat to cry hoarse that the 1958 coup was a ploy to "eliminate any possibility of electoral victory by Islamic parties". Ayub's modernizing attitude was interpreted as a pro-Western secular trap to sap the bases of Pakistan's "Islamic mode of life".

Revealing an already established opportunist streak, once Yahya Khan succeeded Ayub, the Jamaat stopped pretending as a defender of democracy and collaborated with the military regime. Its student branch, Islami Jamiat-i-Tulaba, turned into an armed militant body and violently suppressed leftist movements on university campuses. Instead of halting the arm of state brutality in East Pakistan, the Jamaat advised Yahya that the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 was the result of "failure to apply Islamic principles in governance". (p.36)

Confident of state support, the Jamaat contested the 1970 elections, only to suffer big reversals. The assumption that, given a free choice, the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis would "vote for Islam" was shattered. Despite Maududi's animus for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's "socialism", he initiated massive rallies and momentum to force the latter to rename Pakistan as an "Islamic Republic" and stipulate that both the prime minister and president had to be Muslims (ie not impious Muslims like Ayub). In 1973, Maududi championed the notarization and violent suppression of Ahmadias/Qadianis as heretics and succeeded in getting a constitutional amendment declaring them non-Muslims.

By 1976, Jamaat's street power multiplied by 150,000 new entrants when it swore to organize marches to Islamabad for implementing sharia. In 1977, Maududi cobbled together a grand alliance of rightist religious parties and launched a "civil disobedience campaign", leading to his arrest. So powerful had Jamaat become in Islamist ranks by then that the Sunni Wahhabi government of Saudi Arabia personally intervened to secure Maududi's release by dangling the specter of "revolution" in Pakistan.

Zia ul-Haq's time was understandably the golden era for Jamaat, when "reciprocal attempts at using each other as instruments" flourished between state and Islam-pasand parties. Mian Tufail, Maududi's successor as Amir, concluded a deal with Zia to be given high profile ministries in the puppet central government. Collaboration of the Jamaat, Pakistani intelligence and the army prevented Tufail from openly opposing Zia for what the dissatisfied rank-and-file Jamaatis considered "tardiness in the process of Islamization"' (p.40) By the late 1980s, Zia's relations with the Jamaatis soured due to the excessive radicalizing tendencies of Qazi Hussain Amhad, the new Amir. The military ruler started playing off the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) against the Jamaat in its stronghold province, Sindh.

During the democratic interlude of 1988-99, the Jamaat continued to act as an "eternal opponent" of un-Islamic rulers, while grabbing power-sharing chances, especially under Nawaz Sharif. General Pervez Musharraf's coup in 1999 was welcomed by Qazi Hussain, but once the former began brandishing "Kemalism" as his model of governance, Jamaat once again donned the role of vigilante and warned that "Pakistan's destiny lay in the Islamic revolution" and that party workers "were ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Almighty Allah and His Prophet". (p.47)

In Grare's estimate, neither the "Islamic theodemocracy" nor the "Islamic economy" of the Jamaat have been attained, and though Qazi Hussain rhetorically claims that "Allah will rule in Islamabad in five years", his organization still remains on the fringes within Pakistan.

Failures on the domestic front are matched by great successes in foreign propaganda and military actions of the Jamaat, and it is here that its real potential for destabilization lies. Grare says that the innate faith in jihad and terror which Jamaatis have is provided a safe outlet by the Pakistani state in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Tajikistan and elsewhere. Jamaat's "Islamic theory of international relations" where the struggle between Islam and non-Islam replaces the struggle between classes as the central force of historical progression, matches with the so-called "Muslim school"of Pakistani foreign policy, which plans to establish a strategic consensus among Muslim states to counterbalance American imperialism and the "Judeo-Christian peril". Al the major foreign engagements of the Pakistani state, presence of Muslim majority populations or alleged atrocities against Muslims became raison d'etres for armed intervention. Jamaat became the modus operandi.

Jamaat has had links with the Afghan Hizb-i-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar from 1965, contacts exploited by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan army once the anti-Soviet jihad started in the 1980s. Pakistan turned into a hub of the "Islamist orbit" as Maududi's followers brought their Wahhabi allies from Saudi Arabia and their fabulous riches for conducting jihad, and "a division of tasks took place between the Jamaat and the Pakistan army". (p.66) Jamaat's profession of imparting "Muslims the religious instruction that they lack" has acted as a decoy for training and indoctrination of thousands of mujahideen to fight not only in Afghanistan but also as far as Chechnya, Bosnia, Sinkiang, Nagorno-Karabagh and Southeast Asia. One of the more fascinating strategies of the ISI-Jamaat nexus in Central Asia is to "disintegrate the Russian Federation itself and the recomposition of a new structure dominated by conservative Islamist regimes". (p.68).

The capture of Kabul by the Taliban in 1996 was a setback for the Jamaat, especially when Qazi Hussain negotiated a deal between Hekmatyar and Ahmad Shah Masoud factions of the Northern Alliance. Within a few days, Jamaat lost its utility for the ISI, dramatically affecting its capacity to influence Pakistan's foreign policy. But as there is now confirmed information that a "strategic triangle" of Hizb-i-Islami, al-Qaeda and the Taliban is in place to dethrone the Hamad Karzai government in Kabul through a new jihad, the long shadow of the Jamaat will once again form over Afghanistan.

In Kashmir, the leading terrorist group, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, is the armed wing of the Jamaat, whose Kashmir branch swears by "an Iranian type Islamic revolution in order to achieve independence from India". Jamaat is invaluable to the Pakistani state here because it is the only separatist outfit in Kashmir that demands unification of the valley with Pakistan. Jamaat's main tactic is to increase unrest in Indian Kashmir and then convince international public opinion through its offshoots in Europe and North America that Delhi is engaged in violation of human rights. Jamaat camps in Pakistani Kashmir have trained not just Pakistanis and indigenous Kashmiris but also Sudanese, Afghans, Egyptians, Palestinians and Arabs from the Gulf. Jamaat is also the main vector of the Islamization of those opposed to the Indian presence in Kashmir, especially youngsters who are systematically indoctrinated across the border. What all this amounts to in terms of state-Islamist relations is that Jamaat allows the government of Pakistan "to keep alive a low intensity conflict on the boil without Islamabad ever appearing officially as the instigator of the unrest". (p.83)

Outside Pakistan, Jamaat works in non-Muslim majority countries by being only slightly "susceptible to modernity" and open to the culture of the predominant religion. Grare fails to explain how Jamaat-i-Islami Hind (JIH) is at once opposed to nationalism and the modern secular state and yet "promotes national unity in a multiracial, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural Indian society". (p.100) JIH is suspected in Indian circles for precisely this contradiction and its controversial links with madrassas all over the country. In Britain, too, affiliates of the Jamaat are blamed for fomenting separate schooling for Muslim children and race riots, the most recent of which were in the Jamaat stronghold, Bradford (the city from which Jamaat launched the "world protest" for burning copies of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses).

Grare duly notes that Jamaat policy in Western countries is to "defend the separate Muslim identity in children exposed to permissive Western society", but ignores the wider fallouts that segregated schooling procreates. He mentions wings of the Jamaat like the Islamic Foundation of Leicester, which has resolved "to spread the message of Islam among non-believers" and become notorious as major centers for the spread of Sunni Islamist thought, and yet fails to conclude that the modernization project is being hindered through Islamist insularity in the West.

In conclusion, Grare thinks that Jamaat cannot be a major threat to international security due to its limited successes in taking power inside Pakistan and its dependence on Western-style democracy and human rights terminology to be heard by wider audiences. What Grare omits is any reference to Jamaat's frontline participation in the "Islamist Internationale" set up by Hassan-al-Turabi in Sudan with the blessings of Osama bin Laden. Further, he has not explored the relationship between Jamaat and Fazlur Rehman's Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Islam, the mentor of dreaded terror outfits, Harkat-ul-Ansar and Jaish-i-Muhammad. Most puzzling, Grare does not read that Musharraf's "Kemalism" has limits mainly because, as the author himself writes, "the destabilizing potential of Islamism is much less powerful when it is better integrated into a regime". (p.125)

Political Islam in the Indian Subcontinent is a theoretically sound book with the excellent idea of researching how non-state actors in global terrorism are often fronts for states to pursue strategic objectives. But the thesis is not stated as such and too much weight is given to the "limits of Islamism" by selectively ignoring a host of evidence. The ultimate success of Jamaat is taken by the author to mean achievement of its stated objectives ("totalizing Islam"), by which standard it is certainly not a world peril. But he has not managed to look at myriad unstated/under-stated objectives, unverified real cadre strength, hidden sister organizations, covert operations and financial networks which make the Jamaat one of the major sources of irredentism and violent change in the 21st century.
Has anybody read this book ?

Islam and the Challenge of Democracy

Here is a book review from Yoginder Sikand.. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Islam and the Challenge of Democracy

Khaled Abou El Fadl

[Book Review by Yoginder Sikand of

Khaled Abou El Fadl, Islam and the Challenge of Democracy

(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 139 pages, ISBN: 0-691-11938-4]

The relationship between Islam and democracy is a much discussed and hotly debated issue. Given the diverse understandings of democracy and Islam, the answer to the question of the compatibility between the two is not a straightforward one. As Khaled Abou El Fadl makes clear in this absorbing book, Islam and democracy are not singularly defined concepts, and the quest for reconciling the two must necessarily entail exploring the plurality of understandings of both. Anti- and well as pro-democratic versions of Islam exist and compete with each other, he suggests, and the task before the concerned believer today is to promote socially engaged visions of the faith that are grounded in the quest for human rights and social justice.

The first section of the book consists of a lengthy essay by El Fadl, where he seeks to develop a democratic understanding of Islam. At the very outset he warns that he does not argue that democracy is an invention of Islam or of Muslims, as some Muslim writers indeed do. Rather, his claim is more modest, in that he contends that Islam can indeed be interpreted in such a manner as to support democracy. In the process of developing such an understanding of Islam, he seeks to counter radical Islamists as well as hardened Islamophobes, both of whom, using the argument of God as sovereign law-giver in Islam, insist that Islam is antithetical to democracy. <b>El Fadl argues that while God is indeed the sovereign master of the universe, He has provided humans with a limited, derived sovereignty of their own in their capacity of His deputies or khulafa. Further, Islam envisages a limited form of government, the rule of law, consensual decision making through shura’, toleration of dissent and difference and accountability of rulers to the people. </b>It also stresses the centrality of basic ethical values, particularly social justice (‘adl) and respect for the rights of the ‘creatures of God’ (huquq al-‘ibad), which, in turn, resonate with many contemporary notions of human rights. Islam, El Fadl points out, allows for the use of human reason to devise, through the process of ijtihad, laws in areas on which the shari‘ah is silent. He also highlights the importance of notions of maslaha or the ‘public good’ and ahkam al-shari‘ah or ‘expediency laws’ in developing new understandings of fiqh to suit changing social contexts. This is particularly crucial for him, as for many other modernist Muslim writers, with regard to the legal status of women and non-Muslims, whom he insists should be treated as the absolute equals of Muslim males.

The crux of El Fadl’s essay, then, is to draw the parallels between democracy and Islam as he defines it.  <b>He is of course aware that his own interpretation of Islam is not normative and that it can be contested, being only one among many. He admits that all interpretations of Islam are human constructs, and none can be held to represent the absolute divine will, which is actually beyond human comprehension. This is why he is opposed to the notion of an ‘Islamic state’ charged with the task of imposing the shari‘ah. As he explains, to do so would be to confuse a limited, human understanding of Islam with God’s will, which, in turn, is tantamount to the grave sin of putting up partners with God (shirk). </b>Furthermore, he argues that a state that sees itself as the deputy of the divine will would soon, and inevitably, degenerate into an instrument of authoritarianism and oppression.

The second section of the book consists of short responses to El Fadl’s essay by several  scholars. John Esposito points out how El Fadl’s essay indicates the complex and multiple ways in which a religious text, in this case the Qur’an, can be interpreted in different contexts in order to suit different social and political agendas. Muqtedar Khan remarks that the pact of Medina that the Prophet entered into with the Jews and the pagans of the town could be used as an Islamic model of democracy and pluralism, in that all the parties to the treaty were guaranteed equal rights and had to shoulder equal responsibilities. He also adds to El Fadl’s point about the historicity of fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence by suggesting that Islam should be seen as a font of values and moral principles, as opposed to a rigid system of readymade solutions to all problems. He argues that this distinction is essential in order to develop a more democratic and relevant understanding of the faith.

Saba Mahmood also criticises some of El Fadl’s proposals, but from a different angle. She questions whether liberalism is the only answer for Muslims, or for anyone else for that matter, and argues that the assumption that liberalism is normative and problem-free is itself gravely problematic. She critiques El Fadl for uncritically embracing liberalism without noting its contradictions and limitations, and for ignoring the distinctly illiberal and violent historical trajectory of Western liberalism. She contends that El Fadl’s concern with civic rights glosses over the perhaps more important question of economic rights, and that in focussing on the rights of individuals he overlooks the importance of the rights of communities. She claims that El Fadl’s  perspective on rights stems from his assumption of the normativity of the Western liberal tradition, in which economic and community rights receive little attention. Mahmood also faults El Fadl for ignoring the crass and large scale violation of human rights by self-proclaimed liberal states such as the United States, and for their sponsoring of distinctly illiberal regimes in countries like as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in order to promote their own interests.

Echoing Mahmood, Kevin Reinhart remarks that El Fadl’s assumption of liberalism being normative for all peoples is greatly problematic. It ignores the vital question of what Western liberalism could learn from other cultures and approaches to the world, including the Islamic. He also notes that the reception of democracy in the Muslim world critically depends on Western policies. Quite naturally, Western military intervention in the Muslim world can only make the cause of democracy in that region even more hopeless. William Quandt echoes a similar view, arguing that the diversity of understandings of Islam clearly suggests that Islam per se cannot be said to be the cause of the distinct absence of democracy in many Muslim countries. Rather, he says, the problem must be located principally in the existence of monarchical or dictatorial regimes in these countries, nearly all of whom are supported by dominant Western powers. In other words, he seems to suggest, the cause of democracy in the Muslim world depends on both a more democratic vision of Islam as well as structural political changes in the direction of genuine democracy, a prospect that neither ruling regimes in that part of the world, nor their Western allies, are likely to enthusiastically welcome.
From the above..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->He admits that all interpretations of Islam are human constructs, and none can be held to represent the absolute divine will, which is actually beyond human comprehension. This is why he is opposed to the notion of an ‘Islamic state’ charged with the task of imposing the shari‘ah. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Let me guess how the friendly-neighborhood mullah will read this..

<i>Yes, yes 'Islamic state' cannot impose shariah they need to get the ulama involved.. </i>

<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Book Review: <b>FREEDOM STRUGGLE: THE UNFINISHED STORY</b><b>The most provocative commentary on Indian history</b>

Review By M. V. KAMATH

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is true that an unending war raged between the Hindus and Muslims in India from 1192 when the Muslims defeated the Hindu king of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan. However, it is also true that this war ended with the death of the last great Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, in 1707. This paved the path for a real Hindu-Muslim synthesis that developed in the 18th century, finally culminating in Hindus and Muslims becoming blood brothers as they fought and died in the defence of their common national sovereign, Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857”.

Who said this? Few will guess correctly . The writer is Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who is simultaneously revered as a hero of the freedom struggle as well as reviled as a brain behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

What was Savarkar like? And Mahatma Gandhi, probably the most revered of Indian leaders in the 20th century? And what is the role played by others in India’s freedom fight? What was that fight like? Did the Mahatma’s approach really improve communal harmony or did it only serve to exacerbate it? Were the British the legitimate successors of the Mughal Empire or were they illegal usurpers? Who betrayed India in the end?

These and many other questions are answered in this remarkable work by a young engineer, Pankaj Phadnis who spent five full years on research to produce what turns out to be the most provocative history of India’s independent movement, to date. Few people and institutions are spared. The Mahatma comes in for detailed analysis. And yet the book makes no attempt to provide life sketch of any one individual, however exalted. The author admittedly is harshly critical of the Mahatma, but the latter is not vilified. In fact this work neither glorifies nor vilifies anyone, though due emphasis is given to the roles played, for instance by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, V. D. Savarkar and Subhas Chandra Bose. There is thus no identifiable hero or even a despicable villain, though, one supposes, Britain is not spared, Indeed, what Britain did to India from 1803 onwards and especially with the beginning of the Second World War has to be noticed to be believed. And Phadnis has a lot to say on the subject. His research is nothing if impressive. And his findings are enough to make one weep.

His criticism of the Congress is sharp. He writes: “The Congress has a lot of explaining to do to the nation. First, the criminal delays from the resolution at Ramgarh in March 1940 to finally launching Quit India Movement in August 1942. Two and a half wasted years. Then from November 1945 to August 1947. What was the Congress waiting for?’’ Phadnis describes the scene: ``Tilak whose memories even Jinnah now cherished, was no more. Savarkar was ailing and did not command popular backing. Netaji who could have effectively united the two warring nations, had been removed from the national scene. The seeds of a gigantic tragedy were being sown…’’ Phadnis notes that the British had become aware that they could not hold out any longer. As he puts it: “It was clear to them that the days of the Raj were over…(for them) the choice was only between a dignified retreat, making a virtue out of necessity or an ignominious ejection…’’

But what did the Congress do? It scared Jinnah away. Nehru’s conduct, writes Phadnis, “was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back for Jinnah. He was never again to trust the Gandhi Congress”. The Congress could have ignored the Cabinet Mission and re-ignited the Quit India Movement or it could have accepted the Mission proposal of 6th June 1946. Writes Phandis: “Now was the opportunity to make a common front and defeat the British intentions. What the Congress did was unforgivable: instead of conspiring against the British it chose to sabotage the League acceptance’’. Further on he writes: “What seemed to have irked Jinnah the most is the capacity of Gandhi and Nehru to be legally correct but devilishly encroaching on the rights of others. Nor was Jinnah the only one to be so angered. What the Congress did in that fateful summer of 1946 was unforgivable. If it had the courage of conviction, it should have had nothing to do with him. Either of this would have been far more preferable. It did neither… It let the British escape out of a tight corner’’. One has to read this book to shed copious tears. According to Phadnis, in 1946 India was capable of throwing the British into the seas – lock, stock and barrel. The Congress threw away the opportunity.

But to understand the full trend of Indian history, one must start from the very beginning. The story begins with the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan; the next chapter deals with the Battle of Plassey, and the birth of a new nation. This is followed by an account of how India lost independence on 16th September 1803 when Shah Alam, the nation’s sovereign accepted the protection of an alien power, Britain. The author then discusses the end of Hindu-Muslim War in 1707 and the historical role of Shivaji. Then he discusses the Hindu- Muslim synthesis between 1707 and 1803 and the role of the Maratha. This is followed by detailed study of the period between 1803 and 1920, the time Gandhi arrived on the national scene in India. By then Tilak had made Indian independence an explosive issue which was to force the British to offer constitutional concessions. More importantly he had confounded the British by concluding a Hindu-Muslim pact with Jinnah. Came Gandhi on the scene.

Of Gandhi’s work says Phadnis, it is “a sad story of a truly outstanding individual leading the country into an abyss from 1920 to 1939”. Gandhi’s biggest error was to lead a mass movement against the British “for the restoration of the Turkish Caliph.’’ Of that the author says: “Not even his (Gandhi’s) devoted followers have been able ever to satisfactorily explain the manner in which the independence of India would have been furthered by the restoration of the Ottoman Empire’’. Describing the last days of the British Empire, the author says: “Partition was rushed through in less than three months’ time. Nehru end Patel got their power. The British got their commercial benefits. And the people of Indian sub-continent got the communal orgy of violence that continue to haunt them even today’’.

This is a book to be read and re-read and re-re-read and digested. It carries a moral. The author concludes that the path to the future lies on the road to Sindhutva: equality of all, appeasement of none, based on Savarkar’s famous dictum: “If you come, with you; if you do not, without you; if you oppose despite you”.

There have been scores of books on India’s history of the last two hundred years. But this book dares to think differently; it tugs at the heart and shakes one’s very being. It challenges all Indians to think again and to make peace with the past. Says Phadnis : “If enough Indians and Pakistanis embark on that journey, reconciliation between them can be brought about.”

A very significant observation.

By Pankaj K. Phadnis; Abhinav Bharat, Mumbai;
Pages: 540;
Rs. 2,000.
Cambridge University economist Hertz asserts that Reagan's and Thatcher's brand of free market capitalism has had dire social and political repercussions, although it has triumphed as the dominant world ideology and brought prosperity to many. She sensibly argues that with government in retreat from its traditional rule-setter role, multinational corporations have grown so powerful 51 of the hundred biggest economies in the world are corporations that they determine political policies rather than operate subject to them. Market success may rule, but Hertz laments that the state, in appearing to serve business, may be nullifying democracy's social contract to represent and protect the rights of all citizens equally. WTO protests and activism reinforce her sense of growing political discontent not only about income distribution effects (97% of the increase in income over the past 20 years in the U.S. has gone to the top 20% of the families) but also about human rights issues. Campaign finance realities, declining voter participation, increasing alienation and terrorism amid glowing corporate results represent an urgent cry for reform to Hertz. Since corporations are not designed and cannot be expected to serve a general population's social and political needs, she argues that democracies need to move toward a realignment between the state's political power and the corporations' economic power so that all people have a positive stake in world economic progress. Hertz maps out a proposed agenda, and her eloquent call to action deserves the attention of every concerned citizen of our troubled world.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist
In the new global economy, the rule of government has taken a backseat to the power of big business. Corporations control much of the way we live, from the quality of the food on our plates to the news we consume through the media. According to Hertz, NAFTA and the WTO allow a small group of unelected officials who answer to no one but big multinational corporations to make secret rulings that can override the laws of nations in the name of fair trade. Although it's depressing to read her... read more --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Of the world's 100 largest economies, 51 are now corporations, only 49 are nation-states. The sales of General Motors and Ford are greater than the gross domestic product of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, and Wal-Mart now has a turnover higher than the revenues of most of the states of Eastern Europe. Yet few of us understand fully the growing dominance of big business.

Widely acclaimed economist Noreena Hertz brilliantly reveals how corporations across the world manipulate and pressure governments by means both legal and illegal; how protest is becoming a more effective political weapon than the ballot-box; and how corporations are taking over from the state responsibility for everything from providing technology for schools to healthcare for the community.

The Silent Takeover asks us to recognize the growing contradictions of a world divided between haves and have-nots, of gated communities next to ghettos, of extreme poverty and unbelievable wealth. In the face of these unacceptable extremes, Noreena Hertz outlines a new agenda to revitalize politics and renew democracy.

Dr Hertz is a very articulate lady and her presentation of the issue is far from the biased-bipolar atmosphere that pollute the media in the United States, where the effect of Globalization could be as harsh as in the developing world, if nothing is done to tame the power the supranational entities continue to have over the elected governments. She presents facts supporting corporations as well as their counterbalance, which leave the reader with his/her option to decide accordingly. It's only in the final chapter that she proposes some solutions that should be expected in dealing with such a wide issue. Globalizations should not erase the social responsibility that governments have over the citizenry. And the role of the state is to provide for its citizen a safe and prosperous environment, not to bow down to the desire of the major corporations which benefits from more welfare than individuals and have failed to exercise the trickle-down concepts which the concensus have adopted...this book is a fresh reminder that in the absence of counterbalance the rich will find ways to widen the gap to their advantages and the most extremists among us will find an equal and opposite way to arise the passion of the discontent majority. Since we all have to share this planet we all will bear the social consequences, regarless of our hiding places. She is inspirational

The Silent Takeover : Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy
by Noreena Hertz
Book Information

<b>Adi Deo Arya Devata. A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface</b>

Sandhya Jain
Rupa 2004
Price Rs. 495/-
ISBN 81-291-05522-5

The British claimed that India’s Adivasi population lay beyond the pale of mainstream Hindu society. Yet even a cursory mapping of the spiritual-cultural landscape reveals a deep symbiotic relationship between tribals and non-tribals, which is amply reflected in the ancient literature and in inscriptions. Indeed, it was also noted by colonial anthropologists and ethnographers (mainly British officials), who deliberately delinked tribals from Hindu society through imposition of racial categories and Census classifications.

Tribals have made an enormous contribution to India’s civilization; all major gods of the Indic tradition have tribal links. Shiva was worshipped by forest-dwelling communities in large parts of the country, as were Vishnu’s incarnations as Varaha (boar) and Narasimha (lion). Vishnu in fact evolved out of several distinct deities, notably Vasudeva, supreme lord of the Vrishni/Satvata tribe; Krishna of the Yadava clan; Gopala of the Abhira tribe; and Narayana of the Hindukush mountains. Similarly, Gautama Buddha hailed from the Sakya tribe; Vardhaman Mahavira was a scion of the Jnatrikas.

There is to this day a close relationship between the Kurumba, Lambadi, Yenadi, Yerukula and Chenchu tribes and Shri Venkateshwar of Tirupathi. Lord Ayyappam in Kerala and Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu also appear to have tribal links. All these gods and temples, as also that of Jagannath in Puri, enjoy preeminent status in the classical Hindu pantheon.

Even caste, long regarded as the keynote of Hindu society, possibly originated in the tribal clan or gotra. The term ‘jat’ or ‘jati’ is used equally for caste and tribe in most Indian languages and tribal dialects. Moreover, the defining characteristics of tribes apply equally to castes, such as claims of descent from a common ancestor, common language, endogamy and clan exogamy, caste/tribal councils, certain taboos in matters of diet and marriage alliances, presence of hierarchy within groups, and limited self-sufficiency.

Mahatma Gandhi insisted that tribals are an inalienable part of Hindu society. This work suggests that tribal society constitutes the keynote and the bedrock of Hindu civilization
Mudy, Apropos your last post have you read a book"Earth Mother" by Pupul Jayakar? It traces the tribal versions of Shakti and shows the clear linkage of the Tribal to the manistream Hinduism. If you are interested let me know.
Sure, I am interested to read.
<b>Pagans and Christians</b>
by Robin Lane Fox

The Christian Church does not talk much about how it obtained dominance in the European world. One reads of BIble stories and martyrs and popes but nothing on the events that led to the overthrow of the gods of a religious people. In this book, one discovers that early Christians were the "Atheists" since they did not worship a pagan god.

Pagan gods were wondrously easygoing. Each town or family had their own god. Acceptance or rejection was entirely personal. Gods could be adopted, created, borrowed or discarded depending on the social circumstance. Christianity demands that only "God" (Jesus) receive adoration, thus setting up a conflict that resulted in one side winning and outlawing the former gods.

What is particularly interesting is the daily life of the people and how their religion affected them. Pagans were generous with their money, held services, performed rituals and prayed for success or money. Even more interesting is the manner in which Christianity adapted and adopted from pagans - both in theology and ritual. The mystical union of god and man was a uniquely pagan thought as was the "Mind of God". We read about the ferocious fights concerning divinity ("Was Jesus one or separate with God?"), scripture (books were "voted" holy at synods) and ceremony. Christianity owes at least as much to paganism as it does Judaism. Get this book and The Unauthorized Version, Fox's other masterpiece
The word Pagan has acquired unnecessary negative overtones, simply because the Christians had to overcome the Pagan practices in order to gain acceptance for the new religion. It is for the same reason that the Abrahamic religions feel so uncomfortable with the Sanatana Dharma. We have to do some head shaping here and educate the people of the west(and perhaps many Indics) that having millions( in Their description of the Dharma) of Gods is not evil by itself and that it is not inherently superior to believe and worship in one God.

Part of the problem is the use of language. In Sanskrit Devata (Deus in Latin )or ishtdevata (personal God) is not the same as Brahman or the cosmic consciousness or the supreme spirit. These devatas are simply evolved humans. so one can believe in as many as one wants, the more the merrier. The Indic is quick to elevate humans to deific levels (e.g the mahatma) but he does not confuse the same with Brahman or the supreme consciousness.

Explaining all this to some westerners iis like explaining a 3 D world to a flatlander. How do you explain Brahman to a person who does not even know his own real self.

The corollary of all this is a deep distrust of India simply(or in large part) because the Dhaarmik is pagan., the assumption being that a polytheistic belief necessarily means a less evolved human being. Just as Mohammad Ali (of Khilafat fame) said of Gandhi ( a prostitute is better than Gandhi, even though he may be the best that the Hindus have) the implication is very heavy that a jihadi is better than the best that the Hindus have. This has now been internalized by some of the denizens of the subcontinent and is now part of secularist dogma and pervades the discourse in secularist forums where the secularist make the automatic assumption that as a HIndu you are guilty unless proven innocent . When a HIndu kills a Muslim he is part of a pogrom, but when the Muslim killls a Hindu he is merely a militant. Not surprising that I was called a Child Killer apologist in one such forum without the slightest protest or reprimand from the moderators.
Title: Philosophy of Shri Guru Granth Sahibji
Author: Malhar Krishna Gokhale

Publication: 'Vivek' weekly (Marathi) - Free translation

Date: October 17, 2004

Review of a Book with the same title
Author: Dr Arvind Godbole
Distributor: Sahitya Sindhu Publication, Bangalore
Pages: 160
Price: Rs.100

Guru Nanak is called the original founder and first Guru of Sikh sect. His period is 1469 to 1539 A.D. ADIGRANTH is considered to be their sacred religious book. It is also considered to their Guru. Tenth Guru Gobindsinha declared before his death i.e. 1708 that there would not be any Guru after him. His followers should consider Adigranth as their Guru. Hence thereafter, Adigranth was called "Adi Shri Gurugranthsahibji". What does it exactly contain? Mainly Gurugranth is a collection of a number of songs by various sages and saints from North India, Shlokas (stanzas?) and Savaya (a kind of poetic rendition). Sadhubhasha or Sadhukkadi is a mixture of many dialects in vogue in North India. During the time of 5th Guru, Arjundeo for the first time, the Gurugranth was neatly edited in 1603-04 and at that time, it was written in Gurumukhi script.

Gurugranth is written on 1430 large pages. The songs of various saints are not in regular groups. Overall, the structure of the book is not for reading but singing it aloud or singing in Raagas. Hence the order of the songs is based on Choupadi, Ashtapadi, Chanta etc. according to the Raagas or meters. This collection of songs is woven in different 31 Raagas.

This is about the outer structure of the Gurugranth. What does it contain inside? What is narrated through the songs of various sages? Have Guru Nanak or the following Gurus stated some different thoughts?

Dr Arvind Godbole, the author the book Philosophy of Shri Guru Granth Sahibji,has taken the pen in hand to have an insight on it. His earlier book "Guru Nanak to Guru Gobindsinha" which had traced the history of 'Guru Tradition (Parampara)' was praised even by Sikh readers and critics. Recently, an improved edition of this book has been published. British went on conquering small and large powers in India one by one and in the end swallowed the entire country. The last state they conquered was that of Khalsa State Raja Ranjitsinha i.e Sikh State. This took place in about 1847 A.D.

Hence, the Sikhs remained aloof from the wildfire of 1857 Independence War between Hindus and Muslims against British. Because, their experience of British rule and slavery was of only 10 years. Just as British systematically effected a divide between Muslims and Hindus, in the same way they started to separate Sikhs from Hindus. The Sikhs in English army were being told on the basis of some lines in Gurugranth that to remain loyal with British Government was their religious duty.

This was the beginning. British writers started writing that Guru Nanak has propounded some philosophy different from Vedic or traditional Hindu religion. His thoughts are influenced by pre-Aryan Indian Philosophy, Jain thinking, Bouddha thinking, Judaism, Christianity, Sufi sect etc. He tried to achieve a religious harmony among Hindus and Muslims. On the whole, Sikh is not a sect in the Hindu traditions or community but it is a separate religion. British carried out the Census of India 1911. In it, they unhesitatingly registered Sikh as separate religion. Then this divisive religious politics went on worsening. After freedom, this should have been corrected. But the new people in power did not know anything about National identity and hence this divisive politics went on worsening further.

Some Malcolm says, Nanak endeavoured to create religious harmony among Hindus and Muslims. Some Harbansingh says, Nanak's efforts were to find out an alternative to Hindu and Muslim religions. Some Kohli says, Nanak's philosophy was influenced by Bouddha thoughts; what is the truth in all these writings?

After a deep study of Gurugranth for answers to these issues, the writer found that there is no influence of philosophy of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sufi Sect, Jain Bouddha etc. whatsoever on the thoughts of Guru Nanak. On the contrary, Guru Nanak has based his philosophy on Vedas, Upnishadas, Ramayan, Bhagvadgita and Naradbhaktisutra. It is not true that Sikh thinking believes not only Nirgunopasana (worship without Idols i.e. God without a Guna -shape), but Sagunopasana (worship of Idols is God with shape) is also acceptable to it.
Basically, Nanak has nowhere said that he was starting a separate sect or community. On the contrary, all his thoughts are just like the Devotion Sect (Bhaktipanth) in vogue everywhere in the contemporary India. Nanak was contemporary of Mogul Emperor Babar and hence the descriptions made by Guru
Nanak of the calamity, which had befallen on Hindus, and how Hindus had become
weak and lost inherent strength and similar descriptions of conditi! on of Hindu society made by Saint Ramdas are very similar.

The writer has given an exact table of the words, which are written in the Gurugranth while addressing God. According to it, Hari has occurred in highest number of places, i.e. 8344, Ram occurs in 3533. Other words like Prabhu, Gopal,
Govind, Parabrahma, Thakur, Karta, Data, Parmeshwar, Murari, Narayan, Antaryami, Jagdish, Satnaam, Mohan have also occurred. Non-Hindu word 'Allah' has occurred at 46 times. There are some Shlokas addressed to Muslims warning strongly about what is the true Masjid, what is the true Namaaz, true Kaaba and true Roza by Guru Nanak himself. Kabir was a devotee of Ram. Hence Muslims do not consider him as theirs. But Baba Fareed was a Sufi. In his songs included in Gurugranth contains no Islamic Philosophy but it deals with the extremely difficult
position of human being during old age. In short, Sikhism is not not only a separate religion but it is not a separate community also. At least it was not at the time of Nanak. Guru Nanak was an outstanding saint in the tradition in vogue in India in his times and even afterwards. This is the conclusion presented by the author before the readers with exact evidence from Gurugranth. Congratulations to the author for producing an extremely important reference book.

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