18 December, 2009

08 December, 2009

Don't Geelanise Kashmir

Tania Andrabi, The Kashmir Times

An open letter to Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Shopian is a part of Kashmir too

Syed Ali Shah Geelani - the name that reverberates in every nook and corner of the Valley, the person who brought together millions of Kashmiris in his support just last year. Such was the trust reposed by the people in him. You claim to represent Kashmiris and their struggle for the right to self determination; some people follow you blindly while others are not enamoured by your politics.

Mr Geelani I have never had any specific opinion of you as a leader, but today I am deeply dismayed by your actions. You may be a tall leader but your recent stand on Shopian agitation smacks of hypocrisy and egoism. By asking the Majlis-i-Mushawart Shopian to confine their struggle to seek justice for Asiya Jan and Neelofer Jan, who were raped and murdered in May this year, to Shopian only you have shown how big an ego you have; an ego which does not allow you to accept a call given by any organization other that the one which you head.

Mr Geelani, the Majlis does not represent an individual, it is a duly elected body of the people of Shopian, acknowledged even by the Hurriyat. If it gives a call for a Kashmir Bandh, in what capacity do you ask them to "confine their struggle to Shopian only"? This call was given by the Majlis after the High Court granted bail to the cops accused of destroying vital evidence in the Shopian incident. As a Kashmiri I feel this Bandh call was completely justified. If we can protest over minor issues, why should we not protest against the rape and murder of our women?

Mr Geelani if you deem it proper to hold protests over small issues, does not an incident like Shopian demand one? Mr Geelani, were not Asiya and Neelofer the daughters of Kashmir? If yes, would you explain why you asked the Majlis to "confine their struggle to Shopian" only?

Over the two decade long struggle in Kashmir, thousands of youths have disappeared, one lakh people have been killed while millions have been tortured. The situation here is so unpredictable that people do not know if they would return home after leaving in the morning. Nevertheless, during last year's land row and the struggle for right to self determination, people from every nook and corner of the Valley came out in your support and in support of every word you uttered. They knew they could be killed, but this did not stop them. The five lakh massive gathering at the Tourist Reception Centre, the largest in the history of Kashmir, bears testimony to this fact.

It was after many years that people had reposed their trust in you and your "ability" to guide them. Unfortunately, it was here that you asked people if they acknowledge you as their "only leader", a question to which the massive gathering replied in the affirmative. It might have overjoyed you at that time but it was enough to offend the other separatist leaders. This one statement changed the entire scenario; the struggle for self determination lost relevance for it led to an internal rivalry within the ranks of Hurriyat. The Geelanization of Kashmir cause overshadowed the larger picture.

Last year's mayhem claimed more than sixty innocent lives - mothers lost their sons, wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, sisters lost their brothers. But death was no deterrent and people continued to pour out in your support. Your Muzaffarabad Chalo call saw two and a half lakh people march on your call. They had faith that even if they are killed, you and other separatist leaders won't let their sacrifices go waste.

On this day fifteen people were killed and hundreds more injured when police and paramilitary forces opened fire on them. Among them was Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz. Today the whole of Kashmir knows that Sheikh Aziz was martyred on August 11, 2008 because he has been hailed by the Hurriyat. Bur Mr Geelani there were fourteen other people who laid down their lives on that very day for the bigger Kashmir cause but ironically their sacrifices have passed into oblivion. Not many of us remember them, but their families can't ever forget them for they lost their loved ones to no gain.

Sixty odd families were devastated in the protests you called for last year. Today we remember just one and he is Sheikh Aziz only because he was a part of the Hurriyat. Mr Geelani do not the other martyrs deserve the same honour as has been accorded to Sheikh Aziz? If yes why have they been forgotten? Mr Geelani why did you let their lives, rather deaths, go waste? The situation on ground today while I write this is like it was before last year's turmoil. Why did you make promises which you knew you won't live up to? Why did you show people dreams which you knew you can't fulfill?

Do you or other leaders of your party have any knowledge of how the families of those martyred last year are surviving? Have any of you once visited them? Has your party provided some help to any of the martyrs' families? If no, who are the people you claim to represent? As a leader is it not your duty to safeguard the interests of your people?

During last years economic blockade many people did not have a morsel of food to eat at their home. Their children went to sleep with an empty stomach every day. Did you or any other separatist leader empathise with them by going to sleep with an empty stomach even once? No, Mr Geelani, nobody did.

Today you are anti-India, but Mr Geelani how do you explain the fourteen years you served as a member of the state legislative assembly? Today you criticise the mainstream politicians, but if they are so inhumane why did you choose to become one at some point in your life? India had the same control over Kashmir at that time as it has today, then how can you justify the fourteen long years you took oath by the constitution of India? Why have you labeled it a forbidden fruit for Kashmiris when you yourself have tasted it? Mr Geelani it cannot be ruled out that had it not been for your old age, you would still be a part of the mainstream politics.

Mr Geelani you are anti-India, then why do you choose to spend the winter months in Delhi to escape the Valley chill? Your ideology says that New Delhi is the brain behind all the mishappenings in Kashmir, then how can you live there? Will you please tell us why is it that our separatist leaders desire world class medical care when the common Kashmiri suffers in ill-equipped government hospitals in Kashmir? Why do you need to travel to Delhi and Mumbai for your health checkups when the common man who you represent cannot afford to do so?

You plan to launch another agitation after Eid to get back the land which is presently under the control of Indian forces in the Valley. But Mr Geelani don't you feel there are more important issues which need to be addressed? Is it not important to secure the lives of the people, rather than securing their land?

Mr Geelani, an agitation will only lead to further bloodshed. More people will die to no gain. The people of Kashmir can't take it anymore, not atleast when the resolve is as weak as that of the Hurriyat leaders. Why don't you first try to forge unity in the ranks of Hurriyat, and then think about how to lead the people?

Everything that could possibly go wrong on this 'paradise on earth' has gone wrong. Youths killed, women widowed, children orphaned, girls raped, innocents murdered - the list is too long. Kashmir, our motherland, must be ashamed of its people, as much as I am to be called one.

There goes a saying about Kashmiris that 'Kashmiris are the only people for whom God needs no guards at the hell door, for before a Kashmiri could jump out another fellow Kashmiri would knock him down'. How sardonic, but how true! If this be the state of our amity in the hereafter, the world we live in is but too materialistic to pay heed to other's wellbeing. You are no exception Mr Geelani for you too are a mortal, like each one of us. But unfortunately, you are also a tall leader. People have expectations of you leading them in a more responsible way.

01 December, 2009

No votes for temple, we needed roti with Ram: man who cast the first Ayodhya stone

The Indian Express

Two days before the Lok Sabha discusses the report of the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry into the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Kameshwar Chaupal, who laid the foundation stone for a proposed Ram Mandir at the shilanyas site at Ayodhya in 1989, has said that the Ayodhya movement has lost its electoral appeal. And the BJP, which has to blame itself for it, should have included “roti (livelihood) with Ram.”

Chaupal, a Dalit (Paswan, by caste), has been a much-feted swayamsevak in the BJP/RSS, and the Sangh Parivar has always maintained that “his shilanyas act showed that the RSS-BJP’s Hindutva was an inclusive, all-encompassing idea.”

“You won’t be able to mobilise voters in the name of Ram or Ayodhya now. The politicisation of the Ram Temple movement proved to be its bane. It should have been left to the religious leaders of both communities. Ram, like Gandhi, Subhash (Chandra Bose) and Patel, is a revered symbol in the country. The symbol of Ram then should not have been reduced to the BJP when leaders from even the Congress, like Dau Dayal Khanna and Karan Singh, were also involved in it,” Chaupal told The Sunday Express today.

Chaupal, a BJP MLC in Bihar, was an RSS swayamsevak, involved with its Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram project, when his name was decided by a meeting of Hindu religious leaders in Allahabad to lay the foundation stone at the shilanyas site. “I was then busy countering the activities of missionaries in Jharkhand which had become a priority for the RSS after the Meenakshipuram conversions (when Hindu Dalits had converted to Islam at Meenakshipuram, in Tamil Nadu, in 1981). I laid the foundation stone at the site after the Uttar Pradesh Government’s go ahead, and it was only in 1991 that I joined the BJP,” he said.

The Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Inquiry writes about Chaupal: “On 9th of November 1989, one Kameshwar Chopal (sic), a Harijan bandhu (sic), laid the first shila in presence of people.”

Chaupal today said that the very Palampur resolution that the BJP regards as a milestone in its evolution (when it included the Ram Temple in its charter, at its national executive meet at Palampur in Himachal Pradesh) was faulty. “I would have protested the inclusion of the Ram Temple in the BJP’s charter, if I was there,” said Chaupal.

The BJP MLC also said that the BJP ideally should have included roti (livelihood) along with Ram in its political campaign. Asked why Chaupal agreed to remain in the BJP, and contest Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, before being nominated as an MLC (he is serving his second term as MLC), he said: “If all of us in the BJP had a common opinion (on the Ram Temple issue, and other issues), its fate would have been somewhat different.”


Relevance of a faith that is timeless

Speaking Tree, The Times of India

Deepam Chatterjee

Young people today engaged in self-exploration are looking for inner peace. They question the relevance of rituals and religious practices. Religion needs to be reinterpreted to suit the context of modern times; otherwise today's youth might lose faith in Sanatana Dharma - the timeless faith.

The hallmark of Hindu tradition has been its great capacity to adapt itself to the lifestyles of people without losing its identity, and helping seekers focus on attaining the transcendent absolute.

One may ask, who then is a true Hindu? A real Hindu is one who searches for the Ultimate Truth and relentlessly pursues answers to questions such as, 'Who is God? Who am i? What is my purpose? How to know God? What is the Ultimate Truth?'

A true Hindu firmly believes in allowing every human being to search for God in his or her own way; to freely experiment with various practices and rituals to suit one's personal needs and temperament.

The inquiry into the nature of God and self, and the practices thereof could be termed as the Hindu way of life. The ultimate aim of a Hindu is God-realisation through the spiritual practices he adopts. It is a way of life which respects and accepts all paths to self-realisation.

What is commonly referred to as Hinduism is the collective wisdom of many great seers and sages as opposed to the teachings of a single teacher. It is more a group of faiths, somewhat connected by a set of scriptures and a pantheon. Hinduism has no universally accepted scriptural doctrine or uniformity of worship and it is impossible to define in a set of parameters, having no common practices, rites or rituals. Unlike many other faiths, Hinduism refuses to sanction the monopoly of one God, one spiritual practice, or one scripture as the One and Only way to liberation.

Hinduism is based upon the qualities of acceptance, absorption, continuous change and expansion. It is thus a dynamic, living, ever-growing set of ideas, rituals and spiritual practices. It incorporates constant acceptance and freedom of thought for all other Religions of the World.

One cannot be 'converted' to Hinduism. For every other religion, there are 'rites of baptism'. Hindus consider that everyone is naturally on a journey to reach a higher awareness through the cycle of birth and death; and that the soul continuously reincarnates to experience Karmas - the effects of actions performed in earlier incarnations. This is something automatic.

In a way, everyone who is trying to explore their divinity is practising Hinduism.

Hinduism is a way of life and does not conflict with any religion for it is simply the commitment to search for the truth. One does not have to give up one's religious identity to follow Hindu practices.

The greatness of Hinduism lies in its infinite capacity of acceptance and allowance. As long as an individual is mindful of 'raising consciousness' - of self, community, and humanity as a whole, one is following tenets of Hindu religion.

This has been termed as 'Shreya' - the essence of the Hindu way of life, in a single word.

From the introduction to 'The Timeless Faith - Dialogues on Hinduism' by the writer.


29 November, 2009

For 40 years, Muslim discourses on Hindu scriptures

IANS, 29th November, 2009

Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh): Dressed in saffron robes, adorned with rudraksh garlands, sporting a sandalwood mark on his forehead and delivering discourses on Hindu scriptures in temples across eastern Uttar Pradesh, this 'saint' is actually a devout Muslim, who offers namaaz five times a day.

Meet Mohammad Yaseen, 60, a resident of the Pipraich village in Gorakhpur district, some 300 km from state capital Lucknow, who has been giving lectures on the Ramcharitmanas and the Gita for nearly 40 years now.

'I believe there's a lot to learn from the holy scriptures, particularly the Ramcharitmanas and the Gita that guide our behaviour towards individual, family and society,' Yaseen told IANS.

Initially ostracised by his family and relatives for studying Hindu religious texts and even being turned out of his house, Yaseen is today respected by Hindus and Muslims alike for his efforts to bring the two communities together.

His affinity for Hindu religious texts followed an emotional period after the death of his father in a road accident, when Yaseen was only 17. A withdrawn Yaseen fell ill and, when in hospital, had a sadhu as his neighbour who introduced him to Hinduism, sparking his interest.

'It was a road accident in which I lost my father. I loved him most of all the family members. I left my studies, went into a state of shock and even stopped talking to my family members. I used to lock myself in a dark room for days and did not meet anyone,' recalled Yaseen.

'I fell ill and was admitted to a hospital, where I met a sadhu who was in a bed next to mine. He used to share teachings of the Ramayana with me and asked me to tell him about the Quran. Though the sadhu was much older than me, we became friends.

'The day before I was to be discharged from the hospital, he suggested I should listen to a discourse on Ramcharitmanas that would help me a lot in diverting my attention from my problems.'

Acting on the advice, Yaseen went to listen to a discourse at a temple on the outskirts of his village.

'I cannot put into words what I felt after listening to the discourse. It was something that provided me complete peace of mind. Later, I decided to participate in the discourse on a regular basis and started studying Hindu scriptures,' said Yaseen, who has a family business selling clothes.

There was opposition from his family members, who threatened to shun him if he did not stop attending discourses at temples and studying Hindu scriptures.

'I did not bother them, still they even forced me to leave the house. As I became totally free, I decided to give small lectures in temples after convincing their priests,' said Yaseen.

Today Yassen's son looks after the family business, while he passes most of his time in delivering religious lectures in temples of various districts in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, he returned from Ballia, where he was called to attend a religious function at the famous Duddheshwar Nath Temple.

At the same time, Yaseen remains a devout, practising Muslim.

'On a number of occasions, I have to take a break from the discourse when it's the time to offer the namaaz. That I can't skip under any circumstances,' he said.

Yaseen has become popular among both Hindus and Muslims of his village as both the communities believe he could bridge differences between them.

'Though he is Mohammed Yaseen, we call him Sant Yaseen Bharti. A saint like him, in a true sense, is working to promote communal harmony,' said Banshraj Mishra, who runs a utensils shop in the village.

Another resident Ijaz Warsi said: 'Some politicians and people, who for vested interests, make efforts to divide society in the name of religion, should learn something from Yasin bhai, who is liked by Hindus and Muslims alike.

10 November, 2009

Vande Mataram issue: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Deoband clerics find middle ground

Above: Sri Sri with clerics at Darul Uloom Deoband

Samay Live, 9th November, 2009

In a bid to tone down the row over its fatwa against the singing of 'Vande Mataram', clerics from the Deoband Islamic seminary have said they won't stop Muslims from singing the national song but the fatwa would stay.

The climbdown comes after some clerics from Darul Uloom Deoband met Hindu spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

"The clerics have changed their stand on 'Vande Mataram' to bring the Hindu-Muslim communities closer," said a press statement from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The clerics, according to the press release, said they "do not have any objection to the national song" and have left it to the "conscience" of Muslims who should decide for themselves whether they want to sing it or not.

The press statement quoted Maulana Khalik Madrasi of the Darul Uloom as saying the fatwa on 'Vande Mataram' cannot be recalled now, but the Darul Uloom will not stop anyone from singing it.

Present at the meeting with Sri Sri were "Maulana Margubur Rehman of the Darul Uloom, Darul Iftah (fatwa section) in-charge Mufti Habibur Rehman, who issued the (decree), Mufti Ehsaan Qasmi and Usman Mansoorpuri of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind", the statement said.

Sri Sri told them that 'Vande Mantaram' is not a prayer but a means of thanksgiving.

"The first lines of 'Vande Mataram' are not objectionable in any way. This issue should not be given more importance. The country is above all and there should be no rift between the Hindu and Muslims," he said.

Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, Sri Sri also said that no one should be pressurised to sing 'Vande Mataram'.

03 November, 2009

Baba Ramdev's Yoga steals the show at Islamic conference in UP

DNA, 3rd November, 2009

In a rare confluence, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev performed Pranayam while a Hindu Priest recited Vedic hymns at the largest congregation of Muslim clerics of the country here today.

The 30th General Assembly organised by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind at the Darul Uloom Islamic seminary was the first occasion when a Hindu religious figure addressed the audience, primarily comprising Muslim clerics.

The jam-packed pandal of the seminary, which is the seat of Sunni Muslims in Asia, fell silent as Pandit NK Sharma started reciting sacred Sanskrit texts at the dias.

More than two lakh clerics and students first listened attentively to Hindu religious texts which dealt with peace, unity and brotherhood and then watched the Yoga performance of Baba Ramdev.

Ramdev, in his signature style, started with a brief introduction about unity, health and well being followed by demonstrating Anulom-Vilom, Pranayam, Kapaal Bhati and other Yogasans to the gathering.

"I teach people Yoga. I speak of well being, healthy life and haven't changed anyone's religion," a beaming Baba Ramdev said. Incidentally, the 143-year-old influential seminary had in the past issued a fatwa in favour of yoga after some clerics banned Muslims from practising it.

Stressing on the need to promote yoga, Ramdev sought to dispel misconceptions about the activity by saying, "These yogas were like exercise to keep the body fit and do not violate any tenets of Islam since one is not required to recite any shlokas."

As the Baba who is the founder of Patanjali Yaogapeeth in Hardwar exhibited some fine points about breath control, concentration, meditation, the audience was seen following him in the acts. He emphasised the need for promoting communal harmony satying the unity between Hindus and Muslims was the strength of the nation.


02 November, 2009

Hiding from the massacre: 1984 remembered

Above: A young Harmeet Shah Singh pictured at the wedding of one of his older sisters

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN, 1st November, 2009

The school bell rang and along with my sixth-grade friends, I climbed down the stairs. My teenage sister was in the hallway waiting for me. Her being there was unusual.

"Indira Gandhi has died," she whispered in Punjabi. Kukki, as we called her, hung my bag on her shoulder, clasped my hand and whisked me out. We jumped onto a cycle rickshaw outside. In about 15 minutes, Kukki had brought me home.

It was the afternoon of October 31, 1984. I was 10, but I could sense some unease in the air as strong rumors persisted that then-Prime Minister Gandhi had fallen to the bullets of her Sikh bodyguards. There were no private TV networks in those days in India and confirmation of her death on state-run television and radio came late.

By evening, we did hear rumors of some stray attacks on Sikhs, but I don't remember seeing anything on our television about the assaults that night.

My parents didn't send me to school the next day. By now, we knew attacks were not sporadic. Ours was the first Sikh home - and the tallest - in our lane. Curious, I darted to our roof. I remember seeing plumes of dark smoke rising on the horizon.

Sikh properties were on fire in the commercial and industrial belt that ringed our locality in New Delhi. On November 2, our neighborhood, largely Hindu, decided to begin building defenses. A makeshift barricade of bamboo was put up right at the entry to our lane and residents were on night patrol like watchmen for at least the next month. I still remember a night when I heard young boys issuing what would be a false alert about mobs being close - perhaps to keep everybody awake. It worked.

In the first week of November of 1984, we secretly shifted what we regarded as our most expensive belongings to the home of one of our Hindu neighbors. A double-deck tape recorder, which my father had bought from London, was one thing that I carried to the neighboring house.

Attacks went on until November 3. Our locality was spared, but in the aftermath my parents would ponder the future. A challenge was how to take me to Punjab, where most of my maternal family lived.

Sikhs had been singled out and killed in trains and buses. Like other children from the community, I would wear a "patka," a small under-turban or a scarf, as headgear.

It was decided my mother would dress me up as a girl. I was unwilling, but my mom told me that was a good safety precaution.

I think it was most of December that I spent in Punjab. My father - maybe many other parents like him - in New Delhi had already submitted a leave application with my school, a Sikh school.

I began feeling terribly homesick in Punjab, so for me perhaps the happiest moment from that time came when I stepped into my home again. When I rejoined my school, a teacher circulated some "chits" to our class, a sacred Sikh verse asking for God's help in difficult times.

I remember we all sang it in chorus.


30 October, 2009

Blindsight: Yoga and Islam

Sunday Indian, 1st November, 2009

Rajaque Rahman, a devout Muslim, is a former journalist now engaged in teaching yoga-based spiritual programmes, as part of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 's Art of Living Foundation. To him, both - Yoga and Islam - have common goals…

Recent fatwas forbidding Muslims from doing yoga have left many confused about what Islam really says about it. Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council and Indonesian Ulema Council’s edicts on the ground that yoga will erode their faith in the religion reflect a complete ignorance about the discipline of yoga.

As the Quran and Hadith have nothing specific that deign the practice of yoga haram, the ulemas based the ruling on their own concocted fear of supposedly ‘Hindu’ elements of yoga destroying the faith of a Muslim. The best way to allay their fear is to look at the Hindu philosophy on yoga and see how and where it contradicts the tenets of Islam.

Yoga simply means uniting with the self. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras starts by calling itself an enunciation in union. The asanas, the practice of which is the focal point of these fatwas, are just one way of attaining that union. Is striving for such a union with the self against Islam? It cannot be. For, Prophet Muhammad has said, “He who knows his own self knows his Lord.” So anything done in pursuit of knowing the Lord will count as a meritorious act of following the Prophet. So yoga as a spiritual pursuit is very much permissible in Islam.

The best explanation of why yoga is not just permissible, but also desirable for Muslims is to be found in the second sutra of the Yoga Sutras. Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodhah. It means yoga is stopping all the modulations of the mind. Ceasing all the outward activities of the mind and reposing in Allah is the ultimate goal of Islam. Prophet Muhammad said, “I have a time with God to which even Gabriel, who is pure spirit, is not admitted.” Hence, the soul of prayer is a complete absorption, a state without room for any outward thoughts which is also the ultimate purpose of yoga. So doing yoga asanas as a means of attaining a thoughtless state will qualify as the highest form of ibadat (prayer).

This leaves only one ground for orthodox mullahs to frown at yoga: that yoga stems from polytheist beliefs of Hinduism. But when yoga means union, how can it be linked to polytheist beliefs? In fact, yoga takes one away from polytheism and leads to Advaita, which is in perfect agreement with the Islamic doctrine of tauhid (oneness of God).

It’s universally proven that yoga brings peace of mind, and on that count yoga is almost obligatory for Muslims. For the Quran says, “The only religion with Allah is Islam.” As Islam means peace, peace of mind is a prerequisite for one to be truly following Allah’s only religion.

Outweighing all these synergies of yoga is the discomfort among Muslims in chanting certain sounds, particularly Om which generally forms a part of yoga. This uneasiness is caused again by lack of knowledge about what Om signifies and why it’s chanted. Contrary to the general misconception, Om isn’t a name of a God or a prayer to a particular God. Om is a universal sound that is chanted for its effect in harmonising one’s being and creating peace within and without. The vibration the sound creates has the power to take one to that state of complete absorption which Prophet Muhammad mentioned as his time with God. That’s why Om and other similar sacred sounds such as Aameen and Amen are normally chanted at the time of supplicating before God. Hindus chant Om before praying for peace, Muslims and Christians chant Aameen and Amen respectively after seeking blessings from God. This proves that the accent is on the resulting state of harmony which helps one connect with God easily.

So doing yoga with the sole intention of attaining a thoughtless state so that one can connect with Allah wouldn’t make one a bad Muslim.

Polytheism in the name of Allah

Chairman of National Fatwa Council of Malaysia, Abdul Shukor Husin, while passing a fatwa against yoga last year stated, “Many Muslims fail to understand that yoga’s ultimate aim is to be one with a God of a different religion. When one has affirmed to ‘La Ilaaha Illallaah’, how can a Muslim think of another “God of a different religion?"

‘La Ilaaha Illallaah’ (literal translation: ‘there is no god but God’) establishes beyond argument that there is only one God. If a Muslim thinks there are different Gods for different religions, he is negating the essence of Islam and unwittingly subscribing to polytheist beliefs. However, differently we may pray and by whatever name we may call, it goes to that one source. Further, the Quran clearly states that God can be invoked in different names. “Invoke God, or invoke the Most Gracious by whichever name you invoke Him. He is always the One, for His are all the attributes of perfection [Al Isra 17:110]. Another verse [Al Hashr 59:22] proves that God is beyond even the 99 names mentioned in the Quran. “Glory be to God, beyond any associations. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.” This means that God can be addressed by anything that’s uttered in reverence and with a sense of beauty.

The time has come for religious leaders to go to the basics of tauhid and reinterpret it to present the real essence of Islam to the world. Such a correction will go a long way in stopping many atrocities against humanity committed in the name of cleansing the world of infidels.

03 October, 2009

How Quattrocchi walked free

Indian Express, 1st October, 2009

The manner in which investigations and prosecutions in the Bofors case were consistently and spectacularly bungled is proof enough that whoever took the Bofors money is supremely powerful.

Over the last two decades, there was always someone in the CBI, the courts, the law ministry who was batting for the accused rather than the government. Somehow, Ottavio Quattrocchi always managed to be a step ahead of our law enforcement agencies. And despite the sound and fury in the media and in the Parliament, the suave Italian businessman has ended up laughing all the way to the bank.

Quattrocchi's final triumph came on Tuesday when the Solicitor General announced that the Indian government planned to withdraw all cases against him. Quattrocchi has been let off even though many legal experts considered his involvement in the Bofors scam to be an open and shut case. Not because of the investigative skills of our CBI but because the Swedish government, the Swiss courts and investigative journalist Chitra Subramaniam had provided a wealth of documentary evidence against him. In how many corruption cases can you actually succeed in finding out the number and name of the owner of the bank account into which the money was paid? All this evidence was sufficient for Interpol and the Swiss and British courts, but not the Indian authorities.

Here is a brief run-down of the cover-up:

Though the scam came to light in 1987, no FIR was registered as long as Rajiv Gandhi's government was in power. The FIR was registered only in 1990 during the Janata Dal regime and a letter rogatory sent to Swiss and Swedish authorities.

In November 1990 during the Congress-supported Chandrashekhar government, the CBI moved court to quash the FIR on the ground that it did not disclose any offence.

In 1993, then foreign minister Madhav Sinh Solanki wrote an aide memoir to the Swiss authorities urging that the case be closed and no documents sent to India. Solanki had to resign following the leak of the memoir.

In 1993, the Swiss authorities confirmed Quattrocchi's name as the beneficiary of the kickbacks from Bofors, but the CBI did not seize his passport immediately. Instead it waited 72 hours by which time Quattrocchi had fled India.

The Delhi High Court held that the Swiss documents were not properly authenticated, on the ground that they were not original documents but photocopies. The court took the curious position that because of this no offence against the accused could not be made out. During Manmohan Singh's first tenure, the law ministry advised the CBI not to appeal against the court's erroneous order.

In 2004, the Delhi High Court held in another judgment that no allegations could be proved against public servants accused in the case. The High Court came to this conclusion without a trial. The law ministry once again advised the CBI not to appeal in the Supreme Court.

In 2006, the law ministry secretly dispatched an officer to UK to inform the Crown Prosecution that no case was made out against Quattrocchi and the two erroneous High Court orders were cited to establish this. The law ministry's move was to facilitate Quattrocchi to defreeze his bank accounts and withdraw the alleged Bofors bribe money. By the time the news leaked and the Supreme Court ordered that efforts be made to re-freeze Quattrocchi's bank accounts, the Rs 23 crore in bank account had been spirited away.

In 2007, Quattrocchi was detained in Argentina because of an Interpol Red Corner Notice pending against him. The CBI flew to Argentina, brandishing the judgments of the High Court, which the government had declined to appeal against, to facilitate his release from prison. Incidentally, the automatic appeal was also withdrawn by the law ministry, without even the token formality of consulting the CBI.

The Bofors story has been popping up in the media at regular intervals for over 20 years. The rights and wrongs of the case are lost on the new generation, some of whom were born after the Swedish Radio first broke the story back in April 1987. With the matter dragging on endlessly, indignation over bribery in the Bofors purchase has somewhat eroded. One defence put forward is that during Kargil conflict it was established that the Bofors gun at any rate was first class. Others try to deflect the issue by pointing out that the total amount of the bribes, Rs 64 crore, was chicken feed by today's standards of corruption. Some even argue, falsely, that more money was in fact probably spent on investigations in the case. A few of those who have been at the forefront in pressing the Bofors corruption charges, such as V P Singh and Ram Jethmalani, did a volte face when it suited their political interests.

The Bofors case illustrates that Indian democracy has yet to mature to the level where the law is blind and applies in the same manner to one and all. In India those in high places know how to work the system to their advantage, even if it takes more than two decades to complete the process.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @ Mother Teresa

Could Indian spirituality have helped Mother Teresa?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Hindustan Times

Mother Teresa has done unparalleled service to India. Could she also have benefited from theunparalleled spiritual wealth of India? Yes, definitely!

Although Mother Teresa lived in this ancient land of rich spiritual heritage, she stayed away from Indian spirituality and remained an island unto herself. It is not uncommon for spiritual seekers to lose sight of what is happening inside them when they get involved in serving others.

Whether many so-called religious people are really on the spiritual path itself is questionable. They neither acknowledge nor recognise the conflicts and agony that one faces on the spiritual path. Mother Teresa has been so sincere and honest to herself that she expressed what she was experiencing. On the spiritual path, what is most important is to be honest with yourself and recognise what is happening within you.

Serving others uplifts one's energy, but it does not alleviate one from the inner torment. For that, one has to understand the mechanics of consciousness and their relation with pleasure or pain. This knowledge is found in many Indian scriptures such as the Upanishads, Yoga Vashistha, Ashtavakra Geeta and Tripura Rahasya.

The knowledge of Vedanta could have helped Mother Teresa get over her doubts and quench her intense seeking. All the states described in her letters are mentioned in the nine obstacles to yoga enunciated by Maharshi Patanjali.

Mother Teresa would have benefited immensely from Maharshi's enunciations on how to face the obstacles of Vyadhi (ill-health), Styana (procrastination), Samshaya (doubt), Pramada (carelessness), Aalasya (laziness), Avirati (craving), Bhranti-darshana (confusion), Alabdha Bhumikatva (lack of any spiritual attainment) and Anavasthitva (emptiness or agonising state of mind).

Mother Teresa seemed to have gone through the agony of these states of consciousness without the knowledge of spiritual science. This is akin to a person suffering from malaria, not knowing what medicines to take.

What Mother Teresa experienced is not different from what many saints from different religions, including Sri Ram, went through. Sri Ram found his guidance from Maharshi Vashishtha in the form of Yoga Vashishta. In the scriptures it is said that only one who is well versed in some practice of samadhi can help one to overcome spiritual torment and misery.

When orthodox beliefs limit us from looking beyond, it becomes an impediment on our spiritual journey.

One on the spiritual path should have an open mind and, at the same time, honour orthodoxy. Spirituality beyond the boundaries of a religion can help one to cope with loneliness, isolation and emptiness. It need not be seen as a betrayal of one's own religion or philosophy.

Spiritual practices like yoga and meditation do not in any way conflict with one's religious beliefs. Take the example of Father Bede Griffith who came to India and studied yoga and Vedanta philosophy in Trichy. These teachings helped him to overcome obstacles on the spiritual path while remaining true to his faith as a devout Christian monk.

Being orthodox, Mother Teresa perhaps thought she would be betraying Jesus if she searched for answers to her dilemma in Indian spirituality. A seeker has to keep the goal in front and if there is a block on the path, he or she has to find an alternative route to the goal.

When we see God as an object of perception, that is when we are totally lost and misery follows. From the scene to the seer, from the object of perception to the perceiver... that shift of consciousness makes all the difference on the spiritual journey. This is how the real joy, which is the nature of consciousness, gets kindled. And all the barriers, mental blocks and intellectual inhibitions that our understanding imposes can be transcended by experiencing the precepts of Vedanta.

It is unfortunate that people are not open in their thinking. I am sure that just a few sessions of pranayama and meditation would have helped Mother Teresa to overcome those days of darkness and inner torment. Thousands of seekers on the spiritual path experience this state, but they overcome it once they practise dhyana.

The Indian philosophy talks of three types of misery - physical, mental and spiritual. Spiritual torment is the worst. The agony and torment that one experiences is at the level of the mind and to go beyond the mind, go beyond thoughts, is the very purpose of samadhi. Mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. Unless one knows how to quieten the mind, it is impossible to achieve inner peace.

The mind can be transcended through yoga sadhana. Yoga is not asanas alone; pranayama and meditation are an integral part of it. Patanjali Yoga Darshan, Adi Shankara's Drig Drishya Viveka, Vigyan Bhairav Tantra of Kashmir Shaivism, Thirumandiram of Saint Thirumula all offer different techniques that help one overcome spiritual torment and misery.

Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta respectively are the three remedies to eliminate mala (impurities in the body) vikshepa (disturbances in mind) and avarna (veil that covers the light within). While ayurveda helps people to calm their thoughts, pranayama and meditation help one become happy from the core of their Being.

Happiness is only a sign of connection with the divinity deep within. Through these Vedantic practices, you can experience the scintillating consciousness that you are. It is a simple recognition of what is and has always been in us, and with us, as our self.

The basic principle of Vedanta is that what you are seeking is already there, like the air around you. You don't have to go somewhere searching; you only need to become aware. In the same way divinity, or the consciousness, bliss, love, is already present in you; it is only a matter of recognising it.

Scientific temper and Vedantic knowledge together make one whole and bring inner stillness. And that is the essence of Indian spirituality. Critics often ask what use is spirituality if the underprivileged are not taken care of. What they fail to see is that wherever there is genuine spirituality, a component of seva or service has always been attached to it. And this can be seen through the length and breadth of this country.

In the realm of consciousness, as you sow so shall you reap. If you think suffering is an important tool for uniting with God, then you are bound to attract it. If you sow a seed of suffering, that multiplies. The lack of experience of dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (equanimity) can keep a seeker morose and dull. To overcome this, one needs a shift in understanding about heaven and hell, and about the consciousness that is all pervading. Spirituality alone can bring that shift.

In the Eastern philosophy, experience comes first and then faith follows. In the occidental way of thinking, belief comes first and then experience. Mother Teresa had faith but was struggling for an experience. And it was experience which turned atheist Vivekananda into a swami. Ironically, Kolkata witnessed both in the same century!

01 October, 2009

The Truth behind 26/11 - Mumbai

Mumbai attack: Terrorists spoke Marathi Read story

"I am sure there were more than three terrorists in the Taj - we ourselves saw quite a few" - Erika Mann, Member of European Parliament Read story

"Sixteen persons are wanted in the terror attack" - Hasan Gafoor, Commissioner of Police Read story

"They were very, very familiar to the area" - Ex-NSG chief Read story

"Local LeT cells guided 26/11 attackers" - BBC Read story

"Over 40 terrorists involved in Mumbai attacks" - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of Living Founder Watch video

"26/11 could not have happened sans local support" - slain NSG commando’s father Read story

26/11 hero Karkare's wife slams state govt, alleges cover-up Read story

Aurangzeb 's Farman: Demolition of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Exhibit No. 11: Demolition of the temple of Viswanath (Banaras). August 1669 A.D.

It was reported that, “according to the Emperor’s command, his officers had demolished the temple of Viswanath at Kashi”. (Maasiri-i-Alamgiri, 88)

Source: Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records

12 September, 2009

450 Government Schemes, Programmes named after Nehru Gandhi Family

The following is the list of Government Schemes and Projects; Universities and Educational Institutions; Ports and Airports; National Parks and Sanctuaries; Sports Tournaments, Trophies and Stadia; Hospitals and Medical Institutions; National Scientific and Research Institutions; University Chairs, Scholarships and Fellowships; Festivals; Roads and Buildings named after three member of the Nehru Gandhi family viz. Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, which has been submitted to the Election Commission by A.Surya Prakash as an Annexure to his complaint. This list includes most of the projects, schemes and institutions funded by the Union Government and the Governments in the States.

Central Government Schemes

1. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, Ministry of Power - A scheme “Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana” for Rural Electricity Infrastructure and Household Electrification was launched for the attainment of the National Common Minimum Programme of providing access to electricity to all Rural Household by 2009. Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is the nodal agency for the scheme. Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana to be continued during the Eleventh Plan period with a capital subsidy of Rs. 28000 Crore; allocation of Rs 5500 crore for FY09.

2. Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (RGNDWM), Ministry of Rural Development, Annual allocation plan 2007-08 was Rs.6,400 crore and Annual allocation plan 2008-09 is Rs.7,300 crore.

3. Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme for the Children of Working Mothers, Department of Women & Child Development, Ministry of HRD, New Delhi,

Budgetary allocation 2008-09 – 91.88 crore
Budgetary allocation 2009-10 – 91.52 crore

4. Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana for benefit of NE entrepreneurs, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Government of India,

Budgetary allocation 2008-9 – Rs. 2.70 crore
Budgetary allocation 2009-10 – Rs.1.12 crore

5. Indira Awas Yojana, Ministry of Rural Areas and Environment - IAY is a CSS funded on cost-sharing basis between the Centre and the States in the ratio of 75:25. In the case of UTs, the entire funds are provided by Centre. The target groups for housing under IAY are households below poverty line living in rural areas, particularly those belonging to SC/ST and freed bonded labourers.

Budgetary allocation 2008-09 – Rs. 7919.00 crores
Budgetary allocation 2009-10 – Rs.7914.70 crores

6. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme - objective to provide social security to workers in the unorganized sector in a phased manner. Budgetary allocation in 2008-09 is Rs. 3,443 crore

7. Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of India – 7 years time frame, 50,000 cr.

Budgetary allocation for 2008 - 9 - 10447.98 crore
Budgetary allocation for 2009-10 – 10713.84 crore

8. Jawaharlal Nehru Rojgar Yojna – Ministry of Labour and Employment - A Self- employment programme for urban poor

9. Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojna, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation

10. Indira Gandhi Canal Project, Funded by World Bank

11. Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Bima Yojana, Union Ministry of Textiles, in association with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited

12. Indira Vikas Patra

State Government Schemes

1. Rajiv Gandhi Rehabilitation Package for Tsunami Affected Areas, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Budgetary Allocation Rs.2347.19 crores

2. Rajiv Gandhi Social Security Scheme for poor people, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management, Govt. of Puducherry

3. Rajiv Ratna Awas Yojna - Congress party president and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had announced that the Centre would give a package of Rs.1,500-crore for providing housing facilities to the poorer sections in Delhi, thus announcing the scheme.

4. Rajiv Gandhi Prathamik Shiksha Mission , Raigarh

5. Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Madhya Pradesh

6. Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Food Security , Madhya Pradesh

7. Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Community Health, Madhya Pradesh

8. Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation Limited is a Government Company established by the Government of Karnataka to cater to the housing needs of the Economically and Socially weaker sections of the society. Registered in April 2000, its authorised Capital is Rs.10 crores with Rs.3 crore paid up.

9. Rajiv Gandhi Tourism Development Mission, Rajasthan

10. Rajiv Gandhi Computer Literacy Programme, Assam

11. Rajiv Gandhi Swavlamban Rojgar Yojana, Govt. of NCT of Delhi

12. Rajiv Gandhi Mobile Aids Counseling and Testing Services, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

13. Rajiv Gandhi Vidyarthi Suraksha Yojana, Maharashtra

14. Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Water Shed Management, M.P.

15. Rajiv Gandhi Food Security Mission for Tribal Areas, MP

16. Rajiv Gandhi Home for Handicapped, Pondicherry

17. Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme, Pondicherry

18. Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas, Punjab

19. Rajiv Gandhi Artisans Health and Life Insurance Scheme, Tamil Nadu

20. Rajiv Gandhi Zopadpatti and Nivara Prakalpa, Mumbai

21. Rajiv Arogya Sri programme , Gujrat State Govt. Scheme

22. Rajiv Gandhi Abhyudaya Yojana, AP

23. Rajiv Gandhi Computer Saksharta Mission, Jabalpur

24. Rajiv Gandhi Bridges and Roads Infrastructure Development Programme for the construction of new roads and bridges and strengthening of the existing ones in the state of Haryana

25. Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Niwara Prakalp, Maharashtra Govt.

26. Indira Gandhi Utkrishtha Chhattervritti Yojna for Post Plus Two Students, Himachal Pradesh Government Scheme, Sponsored by, Central Government

27. Indira Gandhi Women Protection Scheme, Maharashtra Govt.

28. Indira Gandhi Prathisthan, Housing and Urban Planning Department, UP Govt

29. Indira Kranthi Patham Scheme, Andhra Pradesh

30. Indira Gandhi Nahar Pariyojana, State Govt. Scheme

31. Indira Gandhi Vruddha Bhumiheen Shetmajoor Anudan Yojana, Govt. of Maharashtra

32. Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP), Jaisalmer, Govt. of Rajasthan

33. Indira Gandhi Niradhar Yojna, Govt. of Maharashtra

34. Indira Gandhi kuppam, State Govt. Welfare Scheme for Tsunami effected fishermen

35. Indira Gandhi Drinking Water Scheme-2006, Haryana Govt.

36. Indira Gandhi Niradhar Old, Landless, Destitute women farm labour Scheme, Maharashtra Govt.

37. Indira Gandhi Women Protection Scheme , Maharashtra Govt.

38. Indira Gaon Ganga Yojana, Chattisgarh

39. Indira Sahara Yojana , Chattisgarh

40. Indira Soochna Shakti Yojana, Chattisgarh

41. Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojana , HP

42. Indira Gandhi Garibi Hatao Yojana (DPIP), MP

43. Indira Gandhi super thermal power project , Haryana Govt.

44. Indira Gandhi Water Project, Haryana Govt.

45. Indira Gandhi Sagar Project , Bhandara District Gosikhurd Maharashtra

46. Indira Jeevitha Bima Pathakam, AP Govt

47. Indira Gandhi Priyadarshani Vivah Shagun Yojana, Haryana Govt.

48. Indira Mahila Yojana Scheme, Meghalaya Govt

49. Indira Gandhi Calf Rearing Scheme, Chhattisgarh Govt.

50. Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Vivah Shagun Yojana, Haryana Govt.

51. Indira Gandhi Calf Rearing Scheme, The government of Andhra Pradesh helped most of the respondent families in acquiring female calves through this scheme.

52. Indira Gandhi Landless Agriculture Labour scheme, Maharashtra Govt.

Sports / Tournaments / Trophies

1. Rajiv Gandhi Gold Cup Kabaddi Tournament

2. Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Run

3. Rajiv Gandhi Federation Cup boxing championship

4. Rajiv Gandhi International tournament (football)

5. NSCI - Rajiv Gandhi road races, New Delhi

6. Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race, Kerala

7. Rajiv Gandhi International Artistic Gymnastic Tournament

8. Rajiv Gandhi Kabbadi Meet

9. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Roller Skating Championship

10. Rajiv Gandhi memorial marathon race, New Delhi

11. Rajiv Gandhi International Judo Championship, Chandigarh

12. Rajeev Gandhi Memorial Trophy for the Best College, Calicut

13. Rajiv Gandhi Rural Cricket Tournament, Initiated by Rahul Gandhi in Amethi

14. Rajiv Gandhi Gold Cup (U-21), football

15. Rajiv Gandhi Trophy (football)

16. Rajiv Gandhi Award for Outstanding Sportspersons

17. All Indira Rajiv Gandhi Basketball (Girls) Tournament, organized by Delhi State

18. All India Rajiv Gandhi Wrestling Gold Cup, organized by Delhi State

19. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Jhopadpatti Football Tournament, Rajura

20. Rajiv Gandhi International Invitation Gold Cup Football Tournament, Jamshedpur

21. Rajiv Gandhi Mini Olympics, Mumbai

22. Rajiv Gandhi Beachball Kabaddi Federation

23. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Trophy Prerana Foundation

24. International Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Tournament

25. Indira Gandhi International Hockey Tournament

26. Indira Gandhi Boat Race

27. Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup Football Tournament.

28. Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey Tournament.


1. Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Delhi

2. Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi

3. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi

4. Rajiv Gandhi Sports Stadium, Bawana

5. Rajiv Gandhi National Football Academy, Haryana

6. Rajiv Gandhi AC Stadium, Vishakhapatnam

7. Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Pondicherry

8. Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Nahariagun, Itanagar

9. Rajiv Gandhi Badminton Indoor Stadium, Cochin

10. Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Kadavanthra,Ernakulam

11. Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex , Singhu

12. Rajib Gandhi Memorial Sports Complex, Guwahati

13. Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad

14. Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Cochin

15. Indira Gandhi Stadium, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

16. Indira Gandhi Stadium, Una, Himachal Pradesh

17. Indira Priyadarshini Stadium, Vishakhapatnam

18. Indira Gandhi Stadium, Deogarh, Rajasthan

19. Gandhi Stadium, Bolangir, Orissa

Airports / Ports

1. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, New Hyderabad, A.P.

2. Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal, Cochin

3. Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

4. Indira Gandhi Dock, Mumbai

5. Jawaharlal Nehru Nava Sheva Port Trust, Mumbai

Total budgetary plan outlay 2008-9 - 69.92crore
Total budgetary plan outlay 2009-10 - 324 crore

Universities / Education Institutes

1. Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shilong

2. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Aeronautics, Ranchi, Jharkhand

3. Rajiv Gandhi Technical University, Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal, M.P.

4. Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Kharagpur, Kolkata

5. Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy, Secundrabad

6. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, Punjab

7. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Tamil Nadu

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
Budgetary Allocation 2008-09 – 1.50 crore
Budgetary Allocation 2009-10 – 3.00 crore

8. Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad, A.P

9. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Kottayam, Kerala

10. Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering Research & Technology, Chandrapur, Maharashtra

11. Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering, Airoli, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra

12. Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh

13. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Chola Nagar, Bangalore, Karnataka

14. Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal, M.P.

15. Rajiv Gandhi D.e.d. College, Latur, Maharashtra

16. Rajiv Gandhi College, Shahpura, Bhopal

17. Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi

18. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Raebareli, U.P.

19. Rajiv Gandhi Homeopathic Medical College, Bhopal, M.P.

20. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Post Graduate Studies, East Godavari District, A.P.

21. Rajiv Gandhi College of Education, Thumkur, Karnataka

22. Rajiv Gandhi College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu

23. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of IT and Biotechnology, Bhartiya Vidhyapeeth

24. Rajiv Gandhi High School, Mumbai, Maharashtra

25. Rajiv Gandhi Group of Institutions, Satna, M.P.

26. Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering, Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu

27. Rajiv Gandhi Biotechnology Centre, R.T.M., Nagpur University

28. Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

29. Rajiv Gandhi Mahavidyalaya, Madhya Pradesh

30. Rajiv Gandhi Post Graduate College, Allahabad, U.P.

31. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Bangalore, Karnataka

32. Rajiv Gandhi Govt. PG Ayurvedic College, Poprola, Himachal Pradesh

33. Rajiv Gandhi College, Satna, M.P.

34. Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

35. Rajiv Gandhi Madhyamic Vidyalaya, Maharashtra

36. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan

37. Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

38. Rajiv Gandhi Industrial Training Centre, Gandhinagar

39. Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, Andhra Pradesh

40. Rajiv Gandhi Institute Of Distance Education, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

41. Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture , Tamil Nadu

42. Rajiv Gandhi University (Arunachal University), A.P.

43. Rajiv Gandhi Sports Medicine Centre (RGSMC), Kerela

44. Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, Mauritus

45. Rajiv Gandhi Kala Mandir, Ponda, Goa

46. Rajiv Gandhi Vidyalaya, Mulund, Mumbai

47. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Polytechnic, Bangalore, Karnataka

48. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Circle Telecom Training Centre (India), Chennai

49. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Pharmacy, Kasagod, Kerala

50. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial College Of Aeronautics, Jaipur

51. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial First Grade College, Shimoga

52. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial College of Education, Jammu & Kashmir

53. Rajiv Gandhi South Campus, Barkacha, Varanasi

54. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Teacher's Training College, Jharkhand

55. Rajiv Gandhi Degree College, Rajahmundry, A.P.

56. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi

57. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development & Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra

58. Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun

59. Indira Gandhi RashtriyaUran Akademi, Fursatganj Airfield, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh

60. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai

61. Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Orissa

62. Indira Gandhi B.Ed. College, Mangalore

63. Smt. Indira Gandhi College of Education, Nanded, Maharashtra

64. Indira Gandhi Balika Niketan B.ED. College, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan

65. Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur, Madhya Pradesh

66. Smt. Indira Gandhi College of Engineering, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra

67. Smt. Indira Gandhi Colelge, Tiruchirappalli

68. Indira Gandhi Engineering College, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh

69. Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Kashmere Gate, Delhi

70. Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Sarang, Dist. Dhenkanal, Orissa

71. Indira Gandhi Institute of Aeronautics, Pune, Maharashtra

72. Indira Gandhi Integral Education Centre, New Delhi

73. Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, Delhi University, Delhi

74. Indira Gandhi High School, Himachal

75. Indira Kala Sangit Vishwavidyalaya, Chhattisgarh

76. Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla

77. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kukatpally, Andhra Pradesh

78. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarakashi

79. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Business Management, Vikram University

80. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

81. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore

82. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kukatpally, AP

83. Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

84. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for advanced Scientific Research, a deemed university, Jakkur, P.O. Bangalore

85. Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Social Studies, affiliated to Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapith (Pune, Maharashtra)

86. Jawaharlal Nehru College of Aeronautics & Applied Sciences, Coimbatore, (ESTD 1968)

87. Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Technology, Katraj, Dhankwdi, Pune, Maharashtra

88. Kamal Kishore Kadam’s Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

89. Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Education & Technological Research, Nanded, Maharashra

90. Jawaharlal Nehru College, Aligarh

91. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad

92. Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur

93. Jawaharlal Nehru B.Ed. College, Kota, Rajasthan

94. Jawaharlal Nehru P.G. College, Bhopal

95. Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College, Sundernagar, District Mandi, H.P.

96. Jawaharlal Nehru PublicSchool, Kolar Road, Bhopal

97. Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada, A.P.

98. Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Technology, Ibrahimpatti, Andhra Pradesh


1. Rajiv Gandhi Award for Outstanding Achievement

2. Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Award

3. Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Awards, Delhi Labour Welfare Board

4. Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award

5. Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award

6. Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award

7. Rajiv Gandhi National Award Scheme for Original Book Writing on Gyan Vigyan

8. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

9. Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award, Instituted by Bureau of Indian Standards in 1991

10. Rajiv Gandhi Environment Award for Clean Technology, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

11. RajivGandhi Travelling Scholarship

12. Rajiv Gandhi (UK) Foundation Scholarship

13. Rajiv Gandhi Film Awards (Mumbai)

14. Rajiv Gandhi Khelratna Puraskar

15. Rajiv Gandhi Parisara Prashasti, Karnataka

16. RajivGandhi Vocational Excellence Awards

17. Rajiv Gandhi Excellence award

18. Indira Gandhi Peace Prize

19. Indira Gandhi Prize for National Integration

20. Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award

21. Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Awards, Ministry of Environment and Forests

22. Indira Gandhi Memorial National Award forBest Environmental & Ecological

23. Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Purashkar

24. Indira Gandhi NSS Award

25. Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration

26. Indira Gandhi Official Language Award Scheme

27. Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film

28. Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Awards for The Town Official Language

29. Indira Gandhi Prize” for Peace, Disarmament and Development

30. Indira Gandhi Prize for Popularization of Science

31. Implementation

32. Indira Gandhi Shiromani Award

33. Indira Gandhi NSS Award/National Youth

34. Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Pushar award

35. Indira Gandhi N.S.S Awards

36. Indira Gandhi award for social service, MP Govt.

37. Post Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme

38. Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Award Scheme

39. Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Shield Scheme

40. Indira Gandhi Vision of Wildlife Conservation Zoo, a seminar organized by Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy.

41. Jawaharlal Nehru award for International peace worth Rs 15 lakh cash given to many international figures, every year, including Yasser Arafat of Palestine Liberation Front in 1988 and U Thant in 1965.

42. Soviet Land Nehru Award, a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 given to Shyam Benegal in Dec 89, in recognition of the above film.

43. Jawaharlal Nehru Balkalyan awards of Rs.10,000 each to 10 couples by Govt. of Maharashtra (ToI-28-4-89).

44. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, New Delhi, for Academic Achievement

45. Jawaharlal Nehru birth centenary research award for energy

46. Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding

47. Nehru Bal Samiti Bravery Awards

48. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medal

49. Jawaharlal Nehru Prize" from 1998-99, to be given to organizations (preferably NGOs) for Popularization of Science.

50. Jawaharlal Nehru National Science Competition

51. Jawarharlal Nehru Student Award for research project of evolution of DNA

Scholarship / Fellowship

1. Rajiv Gandhi Scholarship Scheme for Students with Disabilities

2. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme for SC/ST Candidates, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Budgetary Allocation for 2008-9 – 26.40 crores
Budgetary Allocation for 2009-10 – 23.70 crores

3. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme for ST Candidates

Budgetary Allocation for 2008-09 – 29.00 crores
Budgetary Allocation for 2009-10 – 42.00 crores

4. Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship, IGNOU

5. Rajiv Gandhi Science Talent Research Fellows

6. Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship, Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Budgetary Allocation for 2008-9 – 16.00 crores
Budgetary Allocation for 2009-10 – 22.50 crores

7. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes candidates given by University Grants Commission

8. Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning in association with Indira Gandhi National Open University

9. Rajiv Gandhi science talent research fellowship given by Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for advanced scientific research (to promote budding scientists) done in tandem with Department of Science and Technology and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

10. Rajiv Gandhi HUDCO Fellowships in the Habitat Sector (to promote research in the field of sustainable Habitat development) for MPhil, {PhD Students for 2 to 3 years, conferred by HUDCO

11. Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowships

12. Fullbright scholarship now renamed Fullbright- Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarship

13. Cambridge Nehru Scholarships, 10 in number, for research at Cambridge University, London, leading to Ph. D. for 3 years, which include fee, maintenance allowance, air travel to UK and back.

14. Scheme of Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships for Post-graduate Studies, Govt. of India.

15. Nehru Centenary (British) Fellowships/Awards

National Parks/ Sanctuaries/ Museums

1. Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarhole) Wildlife Sanctury, Karnataka

2. Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctury, Andhra Pradesh

3. Indira Gandhi National Park, Tamil Nadu

4. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park , New Delhi

5. Indira Gandhi National Park, Anamalai Hills on Western Ghats

6. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Vishakhapatnam

7. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS)

8. Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Pollachi

9. Rajiv Gandhi Health Museum

10. The Rajiv Gandhi Museum of Natural History

11. Indira Gandhi Memorial museum, New Delhi

12. Jawaharlal Nehru museum in Aurangabad, Maharashtra opened by state govt.

13. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Gallery, London

14. Jawaharlal Nehru planetarium, Worli, Mumbai.

15. Jawaharlal Nehru National Science Exhibition for Children

Hospitals / Medical Institutions

1. Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science, Bangalore, Karnataka

2. Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre, Delhi

3. Rajiv Gandhi Home for Handicapped, Pondicherry

4. Shri Rajiv Gandhi college of Dental Science & Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka

5. Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Bio Technology, Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala

6. Rajiv Gandhi College of Nursing, Bangalore, Karnataka

7. Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, Raichur

8. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, Bangalore, Karnataka

9. Rajiv Gandhi Paramedical College, Jodhpur

10. Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, Thane, Mumbai

11. Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Pharmacy, Karnataka

12. Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Goa

13. Rajiv Gandhi Mission on Community Health, Madhya Pradesh

14. Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, Delhi

15. Rajiv Gandhi Homoeaopathic Medical College, Chinar Park, Bhopal, M.P

16. North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences, Shilong, Meghalaya

17. Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla

18. Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, Bangalore

19. Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sheikhpura, Patna

20. The Indira Gandhi Paediatric Hospital, Afghanistan

21. Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health Hospital, Dharmaram College, Bangalore

22. Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Heath, Bangalore

23. Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla

24. Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Science, Kerala

25. Indira Gandhi Memorial Ayurvedic Medical College & Hospital, Bhubaneshwar

26. Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur

27. Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital And Research Centre, Kolkata

28. Indira Gandhi Hospital, Shimla

29. Indira Gandhi Women and Children Hospital , Bhopal

30. Indira Gandhi Gas Relief hospital, Bhopal

31. Kamla Nehru Hospital, Shimla

32. Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya

33. Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry

Budgetary Allocation 2008-09 – 127.84 crores
Budgetary Allocation 2009-10 – 117.51 crores

34. Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Bhopal

35. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Raipur.

36. Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, New Delhi

37. Nehru, Science Centre, Worli, Mumbai

38. Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Bhopal

39. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Homoeopathic Medical Sciences, Maharashtra

Institutions / Chairs / Festivals

1. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development. (RGNIYD), Ministry of Youth and Sports

2. Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training & Research Institute, Faridabad, Haryana

3. Rajiv Gandhi Food Security Mission in Tribal Areas

4. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development

5. Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Chhattisgarh

6. Rajiv Gandhi Chair Endowment established in 1998 to create a Chair of South Asian Economics

7. Rajiv Gandhi Project - A pilot to provide Education thru Massive Satellite Connectivity up grassroot Level

8. Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation Limited (Government of Karnataka Enterprise)

9. Rajiv Gandhi Information and Technology Commission

10. Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Peace and Disarmament

11. Rajiv Gandhi Music Festival

12. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture

13. Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas

14. Rajiv Gandhi Education Foundation, Kerala

15. Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Convention

16. The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Educational and Charitable Society, Kasagod, Kerala

17. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial trophy ekankika spardha, Prerana Foundation, Kari Road

18. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Janpath, New Delhi

19. Indira Gandhi Panchayati Raj & Gramin Vikas Sansthan, Jaipur, Rajasthan

20. Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam

21. Indira Gandhi Institute for Development and Research , Mumbai

22. Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology (IGIC), Patna

23. Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi

24. Indira Gandhi National Foundation, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

25. Indira Gandhi Mahila Sahakari Soot Girani Ltd, Maharashtra

26. Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring Centre , Ministry of Environment & Forest

27. Post-Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship for Single Girl Child

28. Jawahar Shetkari Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd.

29. Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan

30. Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary celebrations

31. Postal stamps of different denominations and one Rupee coins in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru.

32. Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust (U.K.) Scholarships

33. Jawaharlal Nehru Custom House Nhava Sheva, Maharashtra

34. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for. Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore

35. Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Moscow

36. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Udyog Kendra for Juveniles, Pune, Maharastra

37. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru college of agriculture and research institute, Pondicherry

Roads / Buildings / places

1. Rajiv Chowk, Delhi

2. Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Safdarjung, New Delhi

3. Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhawan, New Delhi

4. Rajiv Gandhi Park, Kalkaji, Delhi

5. Indira Chowk, New Delhi

6. Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi

7. Nehru Yuvak Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

8. Nehru Nagar, New Delhi

9. Nehru Place, New Delhi

10. Nehru Park, New Delhi Nehru House, BSZ Marg, New Delhi

11. Jawaharlal Nehru Government House New Delhi

12. Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Park, Gurgaon, Haryana

13. Rajiv Gandhi Chowk, Andheri, Mumbai

14. Indira Gandhi Road, Mumbai

15. Indira Gandhi Nagar, Wadala, Mumbai

16. Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Mulund, Mumbai

17. Nehru Nagar, Kurla, Mumbai

18. Jawaharlal Nehru gardens at Thane, Mumbai

19. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Hall, Chennai

20. Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Vadapalani, Chennai, Tamilnadu

21. Rajiv Gandhi Salai (Old Mahabalipuram road named after Rajiv Gandhi)

22. Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Haryana

23. Mount Rajiv, a peak in Himalaya

24. Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat, Goa

25. Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Chennai

26. Rajiv Gandhi Park, Vijayawada

27. Rajiv Gandhi Nagar in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

28. Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Trichy, Tamil Nadu

29. Rajiv Gandhi IT Park, Hinjewadi, Pune

30. Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Bhav , Palanpur Banaskantha

31. Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, Chandigarh

32. Rajiv Gandhi Smriti Van, Jharkhand

33. Rajiv Gandhi statue, Panaji, Goa

34. Rajiv Gandhi Road, Chittoor

35. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

36. Indira Gandhi Memorial Library, University of Hyderabad

37. Indira Gandhi Musical Fountains, Bangalore

38. Indira Gandhi Planetarium , Lucknow

39. Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture (IGCIC), High Commission of India, Mauritus

40. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park , Eastern Ghats of India

41. Indira Gandhi Canal, Ramnagar, Jaisalmer

42. Indira Gandhi Industrial Complex, Ranipet, Vellore District

43. Indira Gandhi Park, Itanagar

44. Indira Gandhi Squiare , Pondicherry

45. Indira Gandhi Road, Willingdon Island, Cochin

46. Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, Kashmir

47. Indira Gandhi Sagar Dam, Nagpur

48. Indira Gandhi bridge, Rameshvar, Tamil Nadu

49. Indira Gandhi Hospital, Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation

50. Indira Gandhi memorial cultural Complex, UP Govt.

51. Indira Gandhi Sports Stadium , Rohru District, Shimla

52. Indira Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sansthan , Bhopal

53. Indira Gandhi Nagar, Rajasthan

54. Indira Nagar, Lucknow

55. Roads are named after Jawaharlal Nehru in many cities e.g. in Jaipur, Nagpur, Vile Parle, Ghatkopar, Mulund etc.

56. Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad

57. Jawaharlal Nehru Gardens, Ambarnath

58. Jawarharlal Nehru Gardens, Panhala

59. Jawaharlal Nehru market, Jammu.

60. Jawaharlal Nehru Tunnel on the Jammu Srinagar Highway

61. Nehru Chowk, Ulhas Nagar, Maharashtra.

62. Nehru Bridge on the river Mandvi, Panaji, Goa

63. Nehru Nagar Ghaziabad

64. Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Dharmatala, Kolkata

65. Nehru Road, Guwahati

66. Jawahar Nagar, Jaipur

67. Nehru Vihar Colony, Kalyanpur, Lucknow

68. Nehru Nagar, Patna

69. Jawaharlal Nehru Street, Pondicherry

70. Nehru Bazaar, Madanapalli, Tirupathi

71. Nehru Chowk, Bilaspur. M.P

72. Nehru Street, Ponmalaipatti, Tiruchirapalli

73. Nehru Nagar, S.M. Road, Ahmedabad

74. Nehru Nagar,. Nashik Pune Road

Source: Nehru Gandhi Family - A. Surya Prakash

10 September, 2009

Pakistani Hindus flee Taliban by train

The Times of India, 10th September, 2009

In the past four years, some 5,000 Hindus may have crossed over from Pakistan, never to return. It has not been easy abandoning their homes, sometimes even their families, but they say they had no choice: they had to flee the Taliban.

It started as a trickle in 2006, the year the Thar Express was flagged off. The weekly train starts from Karachi, enters India at Munabao, a border town in Barmer, and runs up to Jodhpur. In the first year, 392 Hindus crossed over.

This grew to 880 in 2007. The next year, the number was 1,240, and this year, till August, over 1,000 have crossed over. They just keep extending their visas and hope to become Indian citizens.

Incidentally, these are official figures. Sources say there are many more who cross over and melt in the local milieu. And officials have a soft corner for these people, most of whom have harrowing stories to tell.

Ranaram, who used to live in the Rahimyar district of Pakistan's Punjab, says he fell prey to the Taliban. His wife was kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. His two daughters were also forcibly converted. Ranaram, too, had to accept Islam for fear of his life. He thought it best to flee with his two daughters; his wife was untraceable.

Dungaram, another migrant, says atrocities against Hindus in Pakistan have increased in the past two years after the ouster of Musharraf. "We won't get permanent jobs unless we convert to Islam."

Hindu Singh Sodha, president of Seemant Lok Sangathan, a group working for the refugees in Barmer and Jaisalmer, says there's unfortunately no proper refugee policy in India even though people from Pakistan reach here in large numbers.

He said in 2004-05, over 135 families were given Indian citizenship but the rest are still living illegally in the country and are often tortured by police because they don't have proper citizenship certificates. "In December 2008, over 200 Hindus were converted to Islam in Mirpur Khas town of Pakistan. But there are several others who want to stick to their religion but there's no safety for them in Pakistan."

Immigration officer at Munabao railway station, Hetudan Charan, says the arrival of Hindu migrants had suddenly increased as over 15 to 16 families were reaching India every week. "None of them admit they are to settle here but seeing their baggage, we easily understand," he said.

Ravi Kumar, who was Barmer collector till his transfer two days back, said the government in 2007 had given permanent citizenship to a few Pakistani immigrants.

Arundhati Roy & Human Rights Watch spiced up Gujarat riot incidents

Nicole Elfi

One major event which received a great deal of attention from the media was the conflagration at the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, home of a former Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jaffri. This man, rather refined and usually respected, did not feel threatened. But on February 28th morning, a crowd surrounded his house, in which a number of Muslims had taken refuge. Jaffri made a number of panic-stricken phone calls for help to authorities and to his colleagues, journalists and friends. The crowd was growing … (from 200 to 20,000, figures vary in the reports). The Indian Express (March 1st, 2002), as well as police records, reported that “eventually, in panic, he fired at the 5,000-strong mob … 2 were killed and 13 injured ... That incensed the mob …” which at 1:30 P.M. set the bungalow ablaze by exploding a gas cylinder. Final toll: 42 (March 11th edition).

Human Rights Watch, an NGO based in New York, published a dossier (on April 30th, 2002) about the Gujarat events which caused a sensation and fed a large number of articles in the international press.

In this report, Smita Narula had an unnamed “witness” at hand, to relate the attack on Jaffri’s house. First “a 200 to 500-strong mob threw stones; refugees in the house (also 200-250 people — sic!) also threw stones in self-defence.” Then the crowd set the place on fire at about 1:30 P.M. Our witness then jumped from the third floor where he was hiding — and from where he had been observing in minute detail all that was going on in the ground floor, even the theft of jewels (it would seem the floors between the third and the ground floor were transparent). At that point we jump into the sensational. Narula’s witness sees that “four or five girls were raped, cut, and burned …; two married women were also raped and cut. Some on the hand, some on the neck” …; “Sixty-five to seventy people were killed.” Those rapes and hackings are said to have started at 3:30 P.M. ... when the house was already on fire. Was the mob waiting for everything to be reduced to cinders to commit its crimes?

Among the most morbid canards, the novelist Arundhati Roy’s vitriolic article (Outlook magazine, May 6th, 2002). She describes the event which precedes Ehsan Jaffri’s death (extract):

...A mob surrounded the house of former Congress MP Iqbal Ehsan Jaffri. His phone calls to the Director-General of Police, the Police Commissioner, the Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) were ignored. The mobile police vans around his house did not intervene. The mob broke into the house. They stripped his daughters and burned them alive. Then they beheaded Ehsan Jaffri and dismembered him...

Wait a minute. Jaffri was burned alive in the house, true — is it not awful enough? Along with some other 41 people. Not enough? But his daughters were neither “stripped” nor “burnt alive.” T. A. Jafri, his son, in a front-page interview titled “Nobody knew my father’s house was the target” (Asian Age, May 2nd, Delhi ed.), felt obliged to rectify:

Among my brothers and sisters, I am the only one living in India. And I am the eldest in the family. My sister and brother live in the US. I am 40 years old and I have been born and brought up in Ahmedabad.

There we are, reassured as regards Ehsan Jaffri’s children. He had only one daughter, who was living abroad. No one was raped in the course of this tragedy, and no evidence was given to the police to that effect.

The Gujarat Government sued Outlook magazine. In its May 27th issue, Outlook published an apology to save its face. But in the course of its apology, the magazine’s editors quoted a “clarification” from Roy, who withdrew her lie by planting an even bigger one: the MP’s daughters “were not among the 10 women who were raped and killed in Chamanpura that day”! From Smita Narula to Arundhati Roy, “four or five girls” had swollen to “ten women,” equally anonymous and elusive.

Roy begins theatrically:

Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn’t very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved ‘OM’ on her forehead.

Balbir Punj, Rajya Sabha MP and journalist, shocked by this “despicable incident” which allegedly occurred in Baroda, decided to investigate it. He got in touch with the Gujarat government.

The police investigations revealed that no such case, involving someone called Sayeeda, had been reported either in urban or rural Baroda. Subsequently, the police sought Roy’s help to identify the victim and seek access to witnesses who could lead them to those guilty of this crime. But the police got no cooperation. Instead, Roy, through her lawyer, replied that the police had no power to issue summons.

This redefines the term “fiction writer.”

Read Nicole Elfi's complete report by clicking Godhra, The True Story

Also View: Evidence Against Teesta Setalvad