Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great Judgement's! Judge vs Politicians

A judge gets dismissed for his inabilty to prove his Bank Balance of just Rs 35,036 whereas the High Court deems fit to dismiss a PIL against Kalmadi for suspected embezzlement same story repeated against Raja, Pawar leave alone Ottavio Quattrocchi or the 1.4 Trillion Dollar stashed money in Swiss Banks! Even though the Cat imagines the whole world descends into darkness when it closes it's eyes, still "Every dog has his day."
Read on:

The Supreme Court of India has confirmed dismissal of a Civil Judge. He couldnot explain bank balance of Rs. 35036 !

Dinesh Chandra Pandey, was appointed to the post of Civil Judge in the M.P. Judicial Service (Class II) on 27th January, 1982. On completion of the training period, he joined as Civil Judge, Dhamtari on 12th September, 1982.
During his tenure as Civil Judge, certain irregularities were noticed by the competent authority and on 7th December, 1988, a charge-sheet was served upon him, primarily, on the ground that he was possessed of disproportionate money/assets to his known sources of income. He was served with a charge sheet containing two articles of charges. One out of them (Charge 2) had not been proved while other Charge (Charge 1) stood proved against the delinquent officer.
Charge 1 which had been established reads as under:
 "That the said Shri D.C. Pandey while his posting as Civil Judge, Class-II and J.M.F.C. Raipur had a Bank account in State Bank of India Account No. SB/8833, the balance whereof swelled from Rs.2170.01 to Rs.35036.92 paise within the period from January 1984 to 6th May, 1985, his explanation in this behalf having been found unconvincing considering the disproportionateness of the said increase in his bank balance to his salary income and pattern and frequency of deposits the said increase in balance is capable of no other reasonable explanation than that of illicit gains as the source of money which renders his integrity gravely doubtful."
The allegations were denied by him and on 30th January, 1989 he submitted that he owns 37 acres of land in Bilaspur (Madhya Pradesh) and has agricultural income to the extent of Rs. 50,000/- p.a. It is out of this agricultural income that he has been depositing amounts in the bank and has not committed any violation of service regulations or other offence which would attract disciplinary action against him. The competent authority decided to conduct a regular departmental enquiry appointed Shri G.R. Pandya, District & Sessions Judge, Raipur as enquiry officer. Besides appointing an enquiry officer, the High Court also appointed Shri Ram Krishna Behar, Addl. Judge as Presenting Officer. During the course of enquiry, Pandey made an application for permission to engage a legal practitioner to assist him in the departmental enquiry. This request was declined by the High Court vide order dated 4th December, 1989. Pandey participated in the enquiry and the enquiry officer submitted his report on 4th April, 1990 and returned the finding of guilt against Pandey. The concluding paragraphs of the report read as under:
       "Shri Pandey was saving Rs.600/- p.m. out of his salary and, therefore, this amount was quite insufficient for making such a large saving. More saying of Shri Pandey received the amounts frequently from his mother is not sufficient. Something more was required to explain the deposits. This type of explanation was already given by Shri Pandey during the preliminary inquiry and was already found unsatisfactory, hence further opportunity was given to Shri Pandey, by holding this inquiry to give reasonable and convincing explanation regarding the source of his income. I am sorry to say that Shri Pandey could not assess the seriousness of the matter and went on repeating that the money was sent by his mother. The mother of Shri Pandey as well as the customers who had purchased the produce of the messenger who used to bring the money frequently from Bilaspur to Raipur has not been examined. Under these circumstances, bald statement of Shri Pandey that money was received by him from his mother does not appear to be correct. Thus, I come to the conclusion that charge no. 1 regarding the frequent deposits made by Shri Pandey within a span of short period is proved against him.”
Disciplinary authority, after receiving the said report, issued show cause notice to Pandey on 16th March, 1991 informing him that finding of the enquiry officer on Article (1) had been accepted and as to why punishment should not be imposed upon him to which he submitted a detailed reply. The disciplinary authority vide its order dated 10th June, 1992, opined that the stand taken by Pandey was not satisfactory and consequently, imposed   the punishment of removal from service. Dinesh Pandey preferred an appeal against this order before the Governor which also came to be dismissed vide order dated 3rd February, 1993. The order of removal from service, as confirmed by the appellate authority, was challenged by Pandey by filing a Writ Petition being Misc. Petition No. 3847 of 1992 in the High Court which also came to be dismissed by the Ld. Single Judge vide its order dated 1st July, 2003. Still dissatisfied with the judgment of the Court, Letter Patent Appeal was filed which also met the same fate and was dismissed by the Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court vide order dated 17th December, 2004. The legality and correctness of this order has been challenged by Pandey by an appeal in the Supreme Court of India vide Civil Appeal # 2622/2005 under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
While rejecting the plea of Dinesh Pandey, the Supreme Court Bench comprising of Dr. Justice BS Chauhan & Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar noted that ..…
“we must notice that the conduct of Pandey can hardly be appreciated in regard to deposit of money in the Bank regularly during the entire period of 1984-85. The Department had showed that the deposits have been made and the bank balance of Pandey, on a particular date, was beyond the known sources of his income to which, Pandey has raised a defence that he owned the land and the income received was an agricultural income.      However, he produced no evidence during the departmental enquiry to show that some person was making payment to him and/or some person was depositing the money in the Bank so received from agricultural activity in every 2-3 days. Once a person is carrying on agricultural activities like Pandey, the obvious result thereof would be that there would be persons who would be carrying on agricultural activities on the land on his behalf, would be harvesting the crops and then selling the same on his behalf and that there would be persons who would be buying such crops and disposing the crops in the open market directly or indirectly. Thus, these persons would have been easily available to Pandey to produced in departmental enquiry to substantiate his defence. No such effort was ever made by Pandey. Non- examination of these witnesses and non-production of necessary documents must lead to draw an adverse inference against Pandey. In any case, Pandey cannot take advantage of that fact and contend that the inquiry officer has failed to appreciate evidence in its correct perspective. At this stage, we may also notice that during the course of hearing, we had called for the original personal file of the officer where he had filed property returns to the Department. In the property return for the year 1984-85 (copy of which is stated to have been produced before the Enquiry Officer), which is the relevant year, Pandey is shown to have 1/3rd share in the agricultural land located at two different places. There is a specific column relating to income from agriculture. In that form it was filled in by Pandey as `uncertain' (anishchit). This return had been filed on 27th March, 1985.
The bench further noted:
 In other words, on that date he did not know whether he had earned any amount from the agricultural income or not. The period in question was January, 1984 to May 1985, thus, for the substantial period,    he was fully aware of his income received from agricultural activity but he still chooses to keep it vague and not declare his true income in the return. Now, in the departmental proceedings and in the reply to the charge-sheet, he submitted that there was an income of more than Rs.50,000/- p.a. and that he owned 37.53 acres of land in village Bilaspur at two different places. It is again strange that he did not disclose in his reply that this was a land jointly owned with his brothers and family members and what was the extent of his holding individually.
While rejecting the plea of Dinesh Pandey, the Supreme Court concluded that:
 In the return, he himself claimed one-third share in the property. The total land indicated at two different places being 26 acres + 18 comes to 44 acres and one third of which, merely 14 acres approximately, would be the land owned by him and not 37 acres as claimed. This, itself shows that Pandey has not approached the Court with clean hands and has not disclosed true facts which were known to him alone. In the departmental proceedings, he took incorrect defence contrary to his return and failed to discharge the onus placed upon him. In the departmental enquiry, Pandey produced no income tax returns to show that in addition to his salary, he had other sources of income and what was the extent of income from these sources. In his written statement of defence he never took up the plea that any such returns were filed and he made no effort to bring on record the copies of such income-tax returns, if at all filed. The delinquent officer could have stated in his statement if he was not filing any return and reason thereof. We are certainly of the considered view that it was obligatory on the part of the delinquent officer to disclose all such relevant facts which were only within his personal knowledge. He belongs to a service which is looked upon by the public at large as a service cadre of high integrity and professional values. The Judges are expected to apply stringent social and moral values to their standard of living. It was expected of Pandey to disclose all true and correct information and documents in his power and possession before the Enquiry Officer. It was not required of him to withhold relevant material and take such a defence which could not be substantiated during the course of departmental enquiry.   Having failed to produce relevant documentary evidence as well as examine the witnesses, Pandey cannot argue that the Disciplinary Authority or the Courts have not appreciated the evidence in its correct perspective.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A sage of the Mediterranean


    Tyre, the name of which means 'rock', was the most famous city of Phoenicia. Isolated on a miniscule island until Alexander the Great constructed a mole connecting it with its suburbs on the Phoenician coast, Tyre was a maritime centre of craft and trade and also of religion. Its multi-storeyed houses – loftier than any found in Rome – were built around the great temple of Melquarth, 'the Lord of the City', Ba'al in his celestial and marine aspects. Hellenistic and Semitic cultures blended in a lively profusion of modes, manners and customs as Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans successively dominated the area. They were fascinated with the mysterious Tyrian purple, the dye which permanently tinted the hands of those who worked in it and marked its wearers as kings. These peoples brought their gods to Tyre – Apollo and Astarte, Jehovah and Adonis, Mithra and Cybele – where remnants of their worship continued into the twentieth century. Prized, well fortified by nature and fierce in self-defence, Tyre was a focus of geopolitical attention until the end of the Crusades.
    Porphyry was born in Tyre about 232 A. D. and given the name Malchus, which means 'king' in the Semitic languages of the area. Nothing is known of his early life or descent, though ancient writers generally supposed that he was Syrian. As he grew up, he could easily have been exposed to the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, disciples of which flourished throughout coastal Asia Minor. While still a young man he found his way to Athens, took the Greek name Basileus – a translation of his Phoenician original – and studied under Longinus, who persuaded him to settle on the name Porphyrius, the Greek designation for Tyrian purple. Though Longinus was more a man of letters than a philosopher, he cultivated the natural philosophic temperament of his disciple and imparted breadth of learning, respect for philosophical reasoning and lucidity in written expression. Porphyry's penetrating and synthesizing intellect flourished in the Athenian atmosphere vibrant with reminiscences of the early age of philosophical and literary giants. Yet he found the tradition of the later Academy stale and unoriginal, exegetical studies of the texts having obscured the Platonic injunction to live the philosophical life in daily practice. The teaching of Diotima, the significance of the Allegory of the Cave and the Myth of Er had been forgotten.
    Porphyry visited Rome when he was thirty years old and there encountered disciples of the school of Plotinus, notably the devoted Amelius of Tuscany. The genius of Plotinus and his impeccable philosophical character fired Porphyry from the first, but his probing honesty led him to question the Plotinian teachings on several points. Contrary to the prevalent interpretations of Platonic doctrine, Plotinus held that the One is above Being and not, as conventionally thought, identical with it. Further, this view suggested that Intellect or Divine Thought - the second Hypostasis of Plotinus – is in some sense identical with its objects. Porphyry boldly yet respectfully set forth his objections before Plotinus himself. Rather than dismiss Porphyry as an upstart, Plotinus recognized Porphyry's philosophical potential and invited Amelius, already on friendly terms with Porphyry, to explain the teachings carefully. After considerable internal struggle Porphyry came to the view that the One – Agathon – is above both Being and Becoming, a mystery not to be known in itself but presented to Divine Mind as the First Hypostasis. From that abstract standpoint, the world of manifest existence is a reflection of the mystery. Intellect or Divine Mind and its objects may be identified with each other as reflections of the same order. In an emanative universe of hierarchical reflections, the arena of discourse, and therefore of thought, determines its subject as paradigmatically real, with dependent levels defined as illusory reflections of the paradigm. But when confronted with That which cannot be known, all arenas of discourse are seen as relative to one another, and illusory in relation to It. Porphyry wrote a detailed recantation of his former views, read it out to Plotinus and was admitted to the school.
    Plotinus did not write a systematic account of his philosophy. When urgent and persistent questions arose in his meetings with small groups of followers, he would compose a response to the problem and allow it to be circulated privately amongst his closest disciples. By the time Plotinus reached fifty-nine, when Porphyry became his disciple, twenty-one of these treatises were extant. Porphyry and Amelius encouraged Plotinus to set his thoughts on paper, and Porphyry undertook the task of editing them. During the next six years Plotinus wrote another twenty-four treatises on a wide variety of subjects – the unity of the transcendent One, potentiality and actuality, the soul, the power of seeing, numbers, happiness, eternity and time, memory and the kinds of being. Porphyry devoted himself to understanding his master's thought and how his intellect approached every issue. Plotinus repeatedly achieved union with the One in ecstatic meditation, and Porphyry, striving to do the same, twice followed his master's path out of the world of manifestation into the unspeakable realm beyond the pairs of opposites.
    Like all those who follow the spiritual path, Porphyry found himself at the edge of the abyss of meaninglessness, where the world appears as an intolerable burden and the realm of spirit remains empty. One evening Porphyry was on the verge of suicide when suddenly, Plotinus, divining his wretched condition, came to him and instructed him to go to Sicily for a rest. Away from the intense orbit of Plotinus, Porphyry regained resolve and perspective, and Plotinus continued instructions by sending nine additional treatises to him. The physical separation was accompanied by a spiritual reunion with the mind and heart of the teacher, though Porphyry sorely regretted being absent when Plotinus died.
    Having been charged by Plotinus with editing the treatises for dissemination and use, Porphyry returned to Rome, assumed direction of the school and organized his master's thoughts into the magnificent Enneads. He became a teacher in his own right, giving focus to the neo-Platonic movement in his Sententiae, composing a brilliant history of philosophy which became the textbook of philosophical studies for two centuries, questioning the practices of divination in the Letter to Anebo, outlining the significance of philosophical allegory in De Antro Nympharum and enjoining the renunciation of meat-eating and animal sacrifices in De Abstinentia. His lengthy refutation of Christian claims to final truth and doctrinal perfection was sufficiently powerful to draw the full fury of the developing church. This work was publicly burnt by Constantine and later by Theodosius, though Constantine wrote that it was not a work against religion but rather against the teachings of the entrenched establishment. Except for the lives of Pythagoras and Plotinus, his history of philosophy suffered the same fate. His Isagoge, a commentary on Aristotle's Categories, divorced logic from metaphysics, thus permitting it to be investigated even during the darkest days of religious dogmatism, and raised the questions which launched the prolonged philosophical debate on 'the problem of universals'.
    Late in life a friend of his died, leaving the philosopher Marcella a widow with many young children. Porphyry wrote to her, encouraging her devotion to philosophy, and, renouncing his own preference for an unmarried life, subsequently wed her so that she would be protected and her children might be raised in the Pythagorean manner. In this he imitated the Essenes, whom he admired and wrote about, declaring "They despise wedlock, but receiving the children of other persons, and instructing them in disciplines while they are yet of a tender age, they consider them as their kindred and form them to their own manners." Porphyry's own childhood, life-experiences and philosophical reflections convinced him that many classes of visible and invisible beings filled the universe, but he cautioned against superstition, demonolatry and thaumaturgy. Not until Iamblichus showed him that the root of ancient Egyptian and Chaldean esotericism was true theurgy, or spiritual transformation, was he reconciled to the magical side of neo-Platonism. By the end of his life, about 306 A.D., Porphyry had so secured the basis of the Plotinian tradition that Eunapius could write, near the end of the fourth century, that Plotinus was more widely disseminated amongst educated citizens than Plato himself. Plotinus was revered for the teaching, while Porphyry received credit for making his teacher's thought clear, "as if some Hermaic chain had been let down to men During his life and after his death, Christian writers were his implacable enemies, and yet the quality of his thought and the tenor of his life called forth their praise. To Augustine of Hippo he was "the noble philosopher"; to Eusebius, "the wonderful theologian" and "the great prophet"; and to Simplicius, "the most learned of philosophers".
    Porphyry's philosophical thought evinces the central ethical concern illustrated in his life. In the Sententiae, Porphyry held that the three Hypostases – the One, Intellect or Divine Mind, and Soul – are not subject to location or specific conditions. Wholly intelligible Being is neither here nor there. The addition of location or relation is in truth a deprivation of Being. When made a part of the consciousness of the individual, self-knowledge is lost, the person is alienated from his own being and delusion and confusion result. Being can be diminished, however, only in appearance, and the true philosophical life is the sustained effort to banish the illusion of separateness from the One, the essential Self. Union with the One, as harmony with Its reflected activity through ethical thought and action, then as self-awareness and full self-knowledge and ultimately as transcendent realization, is possible through self-discipline. The virtues are powers of the enslaved soul summoned to cut through the web of illusion which binds it. Virtues are thus of different kinds and serve different ends on the journey back to one's own true nature. Political or civic virtues nurture moderation and a freedom from excessive attachment to the body, the most concrete expression of the metaphysically false sense of separateness. Purificatory or cathartic virtues free the soul from all attachment, allowing it to turn naturally towards the Good which is also its own good. Contemplative or theoretic virtues are the awakening intellectual energies of the soul and paradigmatic or archetypal virtues are those of the Divine Mind or Intellect, which the individual intellect looks to as models. Those who are serious about the philosophical life and the spiritual promise it holds will be most concerned with the virtues of purification, for if cultivated in this life, all the rest will follow in some existence. Since illusion arises when properties of corporeal Becoming are ascribed to incorporeal Being, purification is the condition for self-knowledge.
    We must therefore divest ourselves of our manifold garments, both of this visible and fleshly vestment, and of those with which we are internally clothed, and which are proximate to our cutaneous habiliments; and we must enter the stadium naked and unclothed, striving for the Olympia of the soul.
Failure to cultivate the virtues can result in further diminution of one's being, allegorically compared to reincarnation in symbolically suitable animal forms. Porphyry, however, is careful to point out that while there is a profound similarity between the souls of human beings and those of animals – both are connected with the Third Hypostasis – human souls are intellectually awakened and cannot regress to an animal condition.
    The man, however, who is cautious, and is suspicious of the enchantments of nature, who has surveyed the essential properties of body, and knows that it was adapted as an instrument to the powers of the soul, will also know how readily passion is prepared to accord with the body, whether we are willing or not, when anything external strikes it, and the pulsation at length arrives at perception. For perception is, as it were, an answer to that which causes the perception. But the soul cannot answer unless she wholly converts herself to the sound, and transfers her animadversive eye to the pulsation. In short, the irrational part not being able to judge to what extent, how, whence, and what thing ought to be the object of attention, but of itself being inconsiderate, like horses without a charioteer; whither it verges downward, thither it is borne along, without any power of governing itself in things external. Nor does it know the fit time or the measure of the food which should be taken, unless the eye of the charioteer is attentive to it, which regulates and governs the motions of irrationality, this part of the soul being essentially blind. But he who takes away from reason its dominion over the irrational part and permits it to be borne along, conformably to its proper nature: such a one, yielding to desire and anger, will suffer them to proceed to whatever extent they please. On the contrary, the worthy man will so act that his deeds may be conformable to presiding reason, even in the energies of the irrational part.
    In De Antro Nympharum – the Cave of the Nymphs – Porphyry taught that all authentic myths, such as Homer's account of the Grotto of the Nymphs at Ithaca, are rich allegorical deposits of ancient wisdom identical with true philosophy. Proper interpretation unveils the meaning inherent in the myth and does not add to it, for myth intimates eternal verities within the framework of local space and time. Myth can avoid the difficulty of expressing in the language of concrete existence the truths of an incorporeal realm. Just as sleep must be spoken of in the language of waking life but can be known only through sleep, so the insight of ecstatic meditation can be expressed only in a language of ordinary sensible and intellectual experience, but it can be known only through meditation itself. Myth builds a bridge of understanding between these realms without misleading the learner through discursive language.
    When Firmus Castricius, a disciple of Plotinus and companion of Porphyry, abandoned his vegetarian diet, Porphyry composed the De Abstinentia to guide him back to abstinence from all animal slaughter. Recalling the moral reforms of Apollonius of Tyana and Plotinus, Porphyry argued that while a vegetarian diet might be unsuitable for some constitutions, it was critical to one on the spiritual path to self-knowledge because the vital nature and psychic energy of the animal consumed affects the whole nature of the eater. Abstinence out of respect for animal life inclines one towards a greater respect for human life, and one must recognize that the inferiority of the thinking and feeling powers of animals does not imply their total absence. As Carneades held, the natural end of each being must be of profit to that being and not some other. A vegetarian regime both exemplifies and supports the cultivation of the purificatory virtues and imitates the original "golden race" of spiritually awake men and women.
    For to whom is it not manifest that justice is increased through abstinence? For he who abstains from everything animated, though he may abstain from such animals as do not contribute to the benefit of society, will be much more careful not to injure those of his own species.
Animal sacrifice to the gods was used in Porphyry's day to justify meat-eating. Like Apollonius, Porphyry condemns the custom by noting that the most ancient sacrifices were of fruits, cakes and incense, and he indicates the nature of philosophical sacrifice: "To the gods, indeed, the most excellent offering is a pure intellect and tranquil soul."
    From the most practical matters to the most abstract reasoning, Porphyry's teachings resound with the tones of compassion and ethical awareness. For him separation from the One is an unnecessary and unnatural, if understandable, condition which can be healed only through noble conceptions and bold applications in strict self-discipline and compassionate self-awareness.
    He advocated a progressive transcendence of all attachments.
    For we resemble those who enter into, or depart from a foreign region, not only because we are banished from our intimate associates, but in consequence of dwelling in a foreign land, we are filled with barbaric passions, and manners, and legal institutes, and to all these have a great propensity. Hence, he who wishes to return to his proper kindred and associates should not only with alacrity begin the journey, but, in order that he may be properly received, should meditate how he may divest himself of everything of a foreign nature which he has assumed, and should recall to his memory such things as he has forgotten, and without which he cannot be admitted by his kindred and friends. After the same manner, also, it is necessary, if we intend to return to things which are truly our own, that we should divest ourselves of everything of a mortal nature which we have assumed, together with an adhering affection towards it, and which is the cause of our descent; and that we should excite our recollection of that blessed and eternal essence, and should hasten our return to the nature which is without colour and without quality, earnestly endeavouring to accomplish two things; one, that we may cast aside everything material and mortal; but the other, that we may properly return, and be again conversant with our true kindred, ascending to them in a way contrary to that in which we descended hither.

    Of the sage of self-centered heart, at rest and free from attachment to desires, the simile is recorded, "as a lamp which is sheltered from the wind flickereth not".


Jihad in the U.S.: The genie out of the bottle

From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad

Author: Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway Publication: Washington Post Date: March 23, 2002
Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts
In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American- produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.
As Afghan schools reopen today, the United States is back in the business of providing schoolbooks. But now it is wrestling with the unintended consequences of its successful strategy of stirring Islamic fervor to fight communism. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence.
Last month, a U.S. foreign aid official said, workers launched a "scrubbing" operation in neighboring Pakistan to purge from the books all references to rifles and killing. Many of the 4 million texts being trucked into Afghanistan, and millions more on the way, still feature Koranic verses and teach Muslim tenets.
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.
Organizations accepting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development must certify that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. The certification states that AID "will finance only programs that have a secular purpose. . . . AID-financed activities cannot result in religious indoctrination of the ultimate beneficiaries."
The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise. A number of government agencies are discussing what can be done to counter these trends.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach "respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry."
The first lady stood alongside Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai on Jan. 29 to announce that AID would give the University of Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training kits.
AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.
"It's not AID's policy to support religious instruction," Stratos said. "But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity."
Some legal experts disagreed. A 1991 federal appeals court ruling against AID's former director established that taxpayers' funds may not pay for religious instruction overseas, said Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law expert at American University, who litigated the case for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Ayesha Khan, legal director of the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the White House has "not a legal leg to stand on" in distributing the books.
"Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to supply materials that are religious," she said.
Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.
During that time of Soviet occupation, regional military leaders in Afghanistan helped the U.S. smuggle books into the country. They demanded that the primers contain anti-Soviet passages. Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited U.S. interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders.
"I think we were perfectly happy to see these books trashing the Soviet Union," said Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID's Central Asia Task Force.
AID dropped funding of Afghan programs in 1994. But the textbooks continued to circulate in various versions, even after the Taliban seized power in 1996.
Officials said private humanitarian groups paid for continued reprintings during the Taliban years. Today, the books remain widely available in schools and shops, to the chagrin of international aid workers.
"The pictures [in] the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse," said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.
An aid worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages.
The military content was included to "stimulate resistance against invasion," explained Yaquib Roshan of Nebraska's Afghanistan center. "Even in January, the books were absolutely the same . . . pictures of bullets and Kalashnikovs and you name it."
During the Taliban era, censors purged human images from the books. One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier's head is missing.
Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.
"We were quite shocked," said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. "The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it."
After the United States launched a military campaign last year, the United Nations' education agency, UNICEF, began preparing to reopen Afghanistan's schools, using new books developed with 70 Afghan educators and 24 private aid groups. In early January, UNICEF began printing new texts for many subjects but arranged to supply copies of the old, unrevised U.S. books for other subjects, including Islamic instruction.
Within days, the Afghan interim government announced that it would use the old AID-produced texts for its core school curriculum. UNICEF's new texts could be used only as supplements.
Earlier this year, the United States tapped into its $296 million aid package for rebuilding Afghanistan to reprint the old books, but decided to purge the violent references.
About 18 of the 200 titles the United States is republishing are primarily Islamic instructional books, which agency officials refer to as "civics" courses. Some books teach how to live according to the Koran, Brown said, and "how to be a good Muslim."
UNICEF is left with 500,000 copies of the old "militarized" books, a $200,000 investment that it has decided to destroy, according to U.N. officials.
On Feb. 4, Brown arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.
"We turned it from a wartime curriculum to a peacetime curriculum," he said.

Analysis of Muslim politics by Ram Swarup

Excerpted from the book:

Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab, 1947.  Compiled for the SGPC by S. GURBACHAN SINGH TALIB. Published byVoice of India, New Delhi

...Muslim politics in turn is grounded in Muslim theology.  Islam believes in one God (their God) but two humanities: the believers and the infidels.  Islam teaches, at least according to its most pious and learned men, Jihad or holy war against the infidels.  It is not that the infidels have done any harm to Islam or Muslims but it is simply because holy war against the infidels “is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said in the Koran, ‘Slay the Infidel’,” according to Hidayah, an old and important work widely esteemed in the Muslim world.
Similarly, it is not a question of self-defence against any aggression or any unprovoked war but it is simply because the infidels by being infidels incur “the destruction of the sword,” although “they be not the first aggressors,” to put it again in the language of the Hidayah, which derives it “from various passages in the sacred writings which are generally received to this effect.” It reveals not only what the Islamic sacred writings say but, what is still more important, what the Muslim pious men and scholars believe these writings do.  There has been a wide consensus among them about the message of these writings.
To this theology of holy war belong two related concepts: dar al-harb and dar al-islam.  According to this theology, dar al-harb is a country of the infidels, a country not ruled by Muslims; Muslims have to wage a war against it and convert it into dar al-islam, a country governed by Muslims.  Again, it is not a question of majorities and minorities but of believers and unbelievers.  A country of a majority of infidels but ruled by a small minority of Muslims, as India once was, is dar al-islam and is perfectly legitimate and conforms more truly to the divine injunction and is superior in Allah’s eyes to a country ruled by its own people but who are infidels.  Similarly, it is not a question of “equal rights” for all citizens irrespective of their religions.  Such concepts are un-Islamic.  Under Islam, non-Muslims, if they are allowed to exist at all, are non-citizens or zimmis; only Muslims are full citizens.
It also means that, theoretically, the believers are at war with the infidels all the time, though, in practice, a war may not be possible at a particular time.  The actual shape of the war will depend on many external factors, not the least of them being the stage of preparedness of the believers for the venture.  But they must continue exerting and planning and looking for opportunities.  This is the essence of Jihad.  It has been widely discussed in Islamic books on religious laws.
But it does raise some problems on the practical level.  For example, when Europe ruled and the whole Muslim world was on its knees and Muslims were not in a position to wage an effective war, what would they do?  Then the concept of Jihad had to be diluted and in India another concept was added, the concept of dar al-aman.  According to this concept, it was sufficient if Muslims had the liberty to give their azan-call (which was banned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh), to offer their namaz and keep their fast, and it was enough for them to be most loyal to a Christian power.  There are also other complicating problems in a world where nationalism has become a new recognised value and a citizen is governed by his country’s laws and owes his first allegiance to his country.  But Islam is essentially pan-Islamic and pan-Islamism must override the demands both of territorial nationalism and of universal humanism.  In this sense extra-territorialism (and also religious exclusivism) is fundamental to Islam.  If the contending parties are Muslim, nationalism could still have a meaning; but when of the two contending parties, one is Muslim and the other infidel there is no dilemma for the Muslims of both countries and their duty is clear.  The Muslims living in dar al-harb must support a Jihad against their Government.
This is the ideational framework from which the events of 1940s derived.  For those who know this framework, the chapter of Muslim history which this book discusses is not new; to them, it is an old chapter and also the one which has not yet closed, not even its carnage and exodus.  Hindus have been subjected to these forces for centuries, and these forces continue to operate unabated even now.  Take for example, the exodus from West Pakistan, the subject of the present book.  Hindus have known many such exodus in the past.  Repeated Muslim invasions created repeated Hindu exodus.  Speaking of the “wonderful exploits” of Mahmud Ghaznavi (A.D. 997-1030), Alberuni tells us how “Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions.” All along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and also along old trade-routes passing through North-West and Central Asia, there were prosperous Hindu settlements.  All these inhabitants became refugees.  Exodus continues (besides extensive infiltration) from Bangla Desh and the Kashmir Valley even today.  The only thing unique about the 1947-exodus was that thanks to its Sikh component it was not a one-way traffic.
In this larger perspective, Pakistan itself is not a new phenomenon, nor does the story end with its creation.  On the other hand, old politics continues under more unfavourable conditions for India.  Pakistan is emerging as an important focal point of Islamic fundamentalism and it is seeking new alignments in the Middle East in conformity to its new role.  Muslim fundamentalism is a danger in the long run both to the West as well as the East, but it is not yet fully realized.  Meanwhile, Pakistan is using its new position of leadership against India.  While holding out the threat of nuclear blackmail, it is more than a willing ally of any country or group which has any quarrel with or grouse against India.  In India itself, Pakistan enjoys a large support, not only amongst Muslims who have always had a soft corner for it and who, in fact, had an important role in its creation, but also amongst Hindu intelligensia, the country’s left and secular elite who control its media and politics.  The motives are complicated into which we cannot go here.  But meanwhile India is being subjected to a war of subversion and aggression, a war hot and cold, active and passive.  Pakistan has become an instigator and supplier, a trainer, an arsenal and a safe rear of many guerilla and militant forces.
But Hindu India remains confused and even unconcerned.  It has been a poor student of history; it has therefore also neglected its lessons; it has failed to read properly the forces, particularly ideological forces, that have been and are still at work to keep it down.  In fact, it does not even acknowledge them.  It still stubbornly clings to its old assumption that the League politics came out of the scheming head of one Jinnah who was aided and abetted by the British, and that Muslims and Islam had nothing to do with it; that, in fact, they were reluctant victims of this politics and were pushed into it by an intransigent Hindudom.
All this we believe partly because it involves doing nothing, anticipating nothing, planning nothing, and we can continue to live from day to day.  A more realistic and faithful appraisal will impose on us duties of a different kind and scope, duties which we therefore shirk.  We have learnt to live without thinking and we have got used to the idea of a shrunken and shrinking India.  We can now think of India without Afghanistan, without the North-West Frontier Province, without Punjab and Sind, without East Bengal, and we can do the same without Kashmir and other parts in the future.  Why assume avoidable responsibilities?
Or perhaps the sickness is deeper.  Long back, Sri Aurobindo saw the “root cause of India’s weakness,” not in foreign yoke or poverty or dearth of spiritual experience, but in the “decline of thinking power.” Everywhere he saw “inability or unwillingness to think, which is a sign of tragic decadence.”
Ram Swarup  (1991).

The Fundamental Failure

The Fundamental Failure
Sita Ram Goel (From "The Calcutta Koran Petition" available online at
These perverse efforts to re-write medieval Muslim history in India are bound to fail in solving the “communal problem” because the psyche which created that history continues to pulsate in the Quran.  The Quran cannot be re-written by re-writing that historyOn the other hand, an honest presentation of that history can help immensely an understanding of the Muslim behaviour pattern which is shaped by the Quran.  Let there be no mistake that Hindus will never be able to tackle the “Muslim minority” unless they understand the source of its behaviour pattern.
But Hindus have so far failed to study the Quran with any seriousness whatsoever.  That is why they have readily conceded the Muslim claim that the Quran is a “religious scripture full of lofty messages, moral and spiritual”.  They have confused the language of the Quran with the language of Hindu spirituality so that Allah passes for the ParmAtman and the Prophet for the Purushottama.  They feel puzzled when Muslims “fail” to live upto their expectations.  But they never care to examine the assumptions on which those expectations are based.  On the contrary, they appeal to the Muslims in the name of the Quran.  Muslims cannot be blamed if they feel amused at this presumptuousness on the part of “accursed infidels”.
It is high time for Hindu scholarship to come forward and make a serious study of the Quran with the help of Islamic theology and history.  It is high time for Hindus to have a close look at the character of Allah which is the seed from which everything else in Islam has sprouted.  The results will be very rewarding.
“Hindus have fought Muslim invaders,” writes Ram Swarup, “land locally established Muslim dynasties but neglected to study the religious and ideological motives of the invaders.  Hindu learning, or whatever remained of its earlier glory, followed the old grooves and its texts and speculations remained unmindful of the new phenomenon in their midst.  For example, even as late as the thirteenth century, when Malik Kafur was attacking areas in the far South, in the vicinity of the seat of Sri Ramanujacharya, the scholarly dissertations of the disciples of the great teacher show no awareness of this fact.”
He continues: “Hindus were masters of many spiritual disciplines; they had many Yogas and they had a developed science of inner exploration.  There had been a continuing discussion whether the ultimate reality was dvaita or advaita.  It would have been very interesting and instructive to find out if any of these savants of Yoga ever met, on their inner journey, a Quranic being, Allah (or its original, Jehovah of the Bible), who is jealous of other Gods, who claims sole sovereignty and yet whom no one knows except through a pet go-between, who appoints a favourite emissary and uses the latter’s mouth to publish his decrees, who proclaims crusades and jihad, who teaches to kill the unbelievers and to destroy their shrines and temples and to levy permanent tribute on them and to convert them into zimmis, into hewers of wood and drawers of water.  Even today, the question retains its importance.  Is the Allah of the Quran a spiritual being?  Or, is he some sort of a mental and vital formation, a hegemonistic idea?  Does he represent man’s own deepest truth and reside in his innermost being?  Or, is he a projection of a less edifying source in man’s psyche?  Is he discovered when a man’s heart is tranquil, desireless and pure?  Or, does he originate in a fevered state of the mind?  Is his source the Samadhi of the Yogic bhumi or some sort of a trance of a non-Yogic bhumi?  In the Yoga-darshana, this distinction is fundamental but it is not much remembered these days.”

Basic Islam for Hindu Dhimmis

Basic Islam for Hindu Dhimmis
By Subramanian Swamy
Temples have been demolished in the Valley on a daily basis. The world could not care less. An American had once told me: ?Why should we care? Indian democracy is led by the majority who are Hindus and you want us to talk about the human rights of the community of rulers??

We do not have much time, in fact about 45 years, as the X-graph of statistical regressions estimated by J.S. Bajaj and colleagues shows. ?X? represents the two trends?Hindu percentage declining and Muslim percentage rising, and intersecting in the year 2061.

We Hindus must understand the true nature of Islam before we can formulate a strategy to defeat those who threaten us.
Thanks to Shri Vedantamji of the VHP, I had visited Thondi and Rasathipuram Municipalities of Ramanathapuram and Vellore districts respectively, and was truly shocked by what I saw. Both these municipalities are in Muslim-majority areas, and the local bodies election had empowered the Muslims with their capture of the municipalities.

The Muslim-ruled municipalities have thereafter converted these areas into mini Dar-ul-Islams, in a Hindustan of 83 per cent Hindus! The minority Hindu areas of the municipality were thus denied civic amenities, funds for schools, garbage clearing etc., and sent notices in Urdu. Hindus were bluntly told convert to Islam if they wanted civic facilities.

I could not believe that in South India this was possible where Hindus are actually above national average at 90 per cent of the population. I know that in Kashmir Valley, Muslims who are in majority have actively or passively connived in driving out half a million Hindus out of their homes and made them refugees in their own country. Temples have been demolished in the Valley on a daily basis. The world could not care less. An American had once told me: ?Why should we care? Indian democracy is led by the majority who are Hindus and you want us to talk about the human rights of the community of rulers??

Such atrocities are happening not only in Kashmir, but in other parts of India as well in pockets wherever Muslims are in majority, e.g., Mau and Meerut. In pocket boroughs of India, thus, Dar-ul-Islam has today returned to India after two centuries. Considering that a demographic re-structuring is slowly but surely taking place, with Hindu majority shrinking everywhere, Dar-ul-Islam in pockets might indeed, like amoeba, proliferate, coalesce, and jell into a frightening national reality?unless we Hindus wake up and take corrective action now, actions for which we shall of course not get a Nobel Peace Prize.

Dar-ul-Islam is a Muslim religious concept of a land where Muslims rule, and the non-believers in Islam are termed as Dhimmis. The term Dhimmi was coined after the Jews were crushed in Medina [Khaybar to be exact], and the defeated Jews accepted that if they did not convert to Islam, then they would accept second-class status politically, culturally, and religiously. This included zero civil rights including the right to modesty of women, and the special tax jaziya.

There is thus no scope for Muslims and non-Muslims uniting as equals in the political, cultural, or social system in a Dar-ul-Islam where Muslims rule. Secular order in India thus is possible only when Muslims are not in power. Thondi, Rasathipuram and other places prove that the Muslim mind suffers from a dangerous duality?of seeking secularism when out of power and imposing a brutal demeaning theocracy for non-Muslims when in power.

It is this duality that patriotic Hindus must re-shape by modern education and other means, as also retain its demographic overwhelming majority in India. We do not have much time, in fact about 45 years, as the X-graph of statistical regressions estimated by J.S. Bajaj and colleagues shows. ?X? represents the two trends?Hindu percentage declining and Muslim percentage rising, and intersecting in the year 2061.

The dhimmitude of Jews in Medina and later in Mecca represents the beginning of religious apartheid inherent and basic to Islamic mores, and practised long before what we saw in South Africa on the basis of colour and race, and that which became prevalent during the Islamic imperialist rule in parts of India. Hindus had been dhimmis for six hundred years in those parts of India despite being a bigger majority in the country than even today. Hence, a majority is not enough. Hindus need also a Hindu mindset to be free.

In his presidential address to the Muslim League in Lahore in 1940, Mohammed Ali Jinnah had articulated this concept of apartheid in his own inimitable way:

?To visualise Hindus and Muslims in India uniting to create a common nation is a mythical concept. It is only a fancy dream of some unawakened Hindu leaders?. The truth is that Hindus and Muslims are two different civilisations?. since their thought process grow on different beliefs.?

Large sections of Muslims in India then had rejected Jinnah and his concept of non-compatibility of Muslims with Hindus. But after Independence and Partition, instead of building on this rejection by many Muslims, the Nehru era saw increasing pandering precisely to the religious element that believed in this apartheid. Indira Gandhi vigorously continued this appeasement thereby nurturing the apartheid mentality of Muslim orthodoxy.

But the final undermining of the enlightened Muslim came when the government capitulated in the Shah Bano case. Thousands of Muslims had demonstrated on the streets demanding that the government not bring legislation that would nullify the Supreme Court?s judgment in the Shah Bano case but in vain. Rajiv Gandhi, I learnt later, on counsel from his Italian Catholic family, had surrendered to the hard line clerics who protested that the Supreme Court had no right to interfere and to de facto amend the Shariat, the Islamic law code. These relatives on a directive from the Vatican thought that if secular law would be applied to Muslims, it can be to the Christians too.

This was a nonsense argument of the Muslim clerics, since the Shariat had already been amended, without protest, in the criminal law of India. The Indian Penal Code represents the uniform criminal code that equally applies to all religious communities. I therefore ask the clerics: if a Muslim is caught stealing, can any court in India direct that his hand at the wrist be cut off as the Shariat prescribes? If Muslims can accept a uniform criminal code what is the logic in rejecting the uniform civil code?

In India, Dhimmi status for Hindus during Islamic imperialist rule has had other social implications. Defiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who had refused to convert and chose to remain Hindus, were forced to carry night-soil and suffer great indignities for their women folk. Or it meant gross mental torture. Guru Tegh Bahadur, for example, had to see his sons sawed in half, before the pious Guru?s own head was severed and displayed in public.

The debasement of Hindu society then was such that those targeted valiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who had refused to convert and thus made to carry night-soil, were disowned by other Hindus and declared to be asprashya or ?untouchable?. The ranks of the Scheduled Caste community, which was not more than 1 per cent of the population before the advent of Islam in India, swelled to 14 per cent by the time Mughal rule collapsed.

Thus, today?s SC community, especially those who are still Hindus, consists mostly of those valiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas who had refused to become Muslims but preferred ostracization and ignominy in order to remain Hindus. Hindu society today should offer koti koti pranams to them for keeping the Bhagwa Dhwaj of Hindu religion flying even at great personal cost and misery.

I have already written enough in these columns about Hindus being under siege from Islamic fanatics and Christian proselytizers. I have suggested that we can lift this siege only if we develop a Hindu mindset, which is a four dimensional concept. But that mind must be informed, and understand why others do what they do to Hindus before we can defeat their nefarious designs. Here I suggest therefore that we Hindus must understand the true nature of Islam before we can formulate a strategy to defeat those who threaten us. In a later column I will write about the true nature of Christianity and how to combat the menace of religious conversions of Hindus.

At this juncture let me add even though I oppose conversion as violence, as Swami Dayanand Sarasvati boldly wrote to the Vatican Pope, nevertheless if an Indian Muslim or Christian changes his religion to Hinduism today, I will not regard it as conversion because it is a return to the Hindu fold of those whose ancestors had been forcibly converted.

Unlike Hinduism, which says not a word against non-believers, in fact says that other religions also lead to God, Islam is harsh on them, and justifies violence against them as sacred. The choice to non-believers in Islam is: convert or accept dhimmitude. Hence, the explanation for Thondi, Rasathipuram, Mau etc., and the duality in ethics practised by Muslims everywhere. A true Muslim is Dr. Jekyll when in minority, and Mr. Hyde when in majority.

So what should we Hindus do? First, recognise that being a pious Hindu is not enough. Hindus must unite and work to install a Hindu-minded government. If 35 per cent of the 83 per cent Hindus unite to vote for a party, absolute majority is attainable. If Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, RSS, and VHP decide to mobilise the voter to support a party that espouses an approved Hindu agenda, then the union government is within reach through the ballot box. Second, search for those Muslims who are ready to openly and with pride declare that their ancestors were Hindus. My guess is that about 75 per cent of Muslims will be ready to do so. These are the Muslims who can be co-opted by Hindus to fight Islamic fundamentalism. If we do not do so, then the Muslim clerics will have a free run of their fanaticism.

For this a required reading is Sri Sri Ravishankar?s Hinduism & Islam: Dedicated to the People of Pakistan Who have Forgotten Their Own Roots []. In this Sri Sri Ravishankar has shown how ?Muslims have completely forgotten that their forefathers were Hindus, so they have every right to Vedic culture?. He in fact traces the pre-Islam origins of the K?aaba. Third, invest heavily in primary education to make it world class, ban the madrasas for any student below 21 years, and make Sanskrit a compulsory language for all students.

(The writer is a former Union Law Minister.)

Courtesy: The Organiser

Some Amusement

Here is another instance of missionary deceit inflicted on hapless pagans (and a rare riposte from a pagan). 
"Several Indian scholars have recently established beyond a shadow of a doubt the existence of early Indian Christianity from the days of the first apostles. South India had excellent trade relations with the Roman empire evidenced by the Roman coins found in excess in various parts of South India. When there are trade relationships, cultural and religious exchanges take place. When we study the development of religion and worship in India, before and after Christ, we can see that Christ and Christianity totally transformed religion and worship in India from the first century AD. Saivism first developed as a monotheistic doctrine and Siva was first called Isa which is the name for Jesus in the North. The avatar concept (God coming into the world in the form of a man) in Vaishnavism is the influence of Christianity.
"Hindus in India consider Christianity as a foreign religion. However they do not realize how much early Indian Christianity has developed and molded their own religion, and, the revealed truths in their own faith point to Jesus Christ. I pray that we the Christians in India would take time to understand where the heart of every Hindu is, and, help guide them to The Truth in Christ Jesus by gently removing the barriers and obstacles without syncretism.

To this, Shri Sita Ram Goel of Voice of India publications replied in his inimitable manner:
"A street dog with running sores crawling with worms all over its body was watching a procession of high breed horses being taken to the King's court. After the procession had passed, this heap of stinking filth announced, 'Don't you know that I have fathered this prized progeny.' People had a big laugh. But no one kicked the dog lest it left some of the filth on their shoes. Harris reminds of that scene when he traces the Gita to that garbage - the Bible."

TRUTH IS GOD By Dr. N. S. Rajaram

The Illusory Vs. The Real Mother Teresa

The Illusory Vs. The Real Mother Teresa

By Michael Hakeem, Ph.D.

Review of The Missionary Position
by Christopher Hitchens
The origin of Mother Teresa's worldwide fame has been traced to an interview of her by Malcolm Muggeridge, televised on BBC, followed by a BBC filming in Calcutta of her and her work, "Something Beautiful for God," which Muggeridge initiated, and his enormously successful book by the same title (more than 300,000 copies sold, reprinted 20 times and translated into 13 languages). Before being catapulted overnight into world renown, she was an obscure nun whose name was not known to the general public and whom Muggeridge had never even heard of. This is the same Malcolm Muggeridge who often talks like a mystic and has for long nourished an intense love affair with Jesus. His book shows he was enraptured by its subject.
One incident, related by Hitchens, that occurred during the filming is sufficient to dismiss Muggeridge as a competent and credible observer of Mother Teresa. During the filming, a topnotch photographer sought to take pictures of the interior of a building Mother Teresa calls "The House of the Dying." It was very dark and the photographer expressed doubts about the outcome. He then remembered that he had brought along a new Kodak film that he had never used before and decided to try it out. On returning to England, he and Muggeridge attended a previewing of the film. The photographer was amazed at the clarity of the pictures. He was on the verge of giving three cheers for Kodak when Muggeridge interrupted: "It's divine light! It's Mother Teresa. You'll find that it's divine light, old boy." Muggeridge goes on to explain that the photographic success was a reflection of the presence of "supernatural luminosity." His biographer reports that Muggeridge was "absolutely convinced that this was a miracle and that the light was supernatural. . . . The incident had a great effect on him and for a time he spoke about it endlessly." Soon, the newspapers were calling the photographer to ask about the miracle they were told he witnessed in India. Nothing more was needed to solidify Mother Teresa's awesome status than to have her connected to a supernatural event.
Why should freethinkers read Hitchens' book? Surely Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity are not unique. The global map is studded with charitable missions, some of them, like Mother Teresa's, serving the most wretched on the the face of the earth. But no other head of one has been accorded such significance and become the object of such fabulous adoration as she has.
Hitchens writes: "Ever since Something Beautiful for God the critic of Mother Teresa in small things, as well as great ones, has had to operate against an enormous weight of received opinion, a weight made no easier to shift by the fact that it is made up quite literally of illusion." That is the nub of the issue. Freethinkers should be specialists in demolishing received opinion that has created reputations built on illusion and ignorance of the facts -- and not only that of Jesus. Hitchens, who has to be counted a freethinker, is such a specialist, and his book can serve as a model of how to go about the job of demolition. It is a powerfully written and tightly reasoned attack on the illusions that have made of Mother Teresa an impregnable icon.
The esteem with which Mother Teresa is held can hardly be exaggerated. She has been feted by numerous heads of state including Presidents Reagan and Clinton. She is reported to have received honorary degrees from universities. She was invited to address the United Nations, an occasion attended by an audience unprecedented in size. It has become de rigueur for celebrities who find themselves in that region to pay a visit to Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
She is often turned to for advice on the solution to poverty and other social problems. She has traveled round the earth many times and is everywhere received with great enthusiasm and reverence. She has received a very large number of prizes, awards, and honors, among them the Nobel Peace Prize. She is regarded as a towering presence and as a thinker of singular profundity. A large number of books have been published about her, all, before Hitchens', extremely laudatory. There are quite a number of books that collect Mother Teresa's utterances (she herself has written very little). These are presented as precious and inimitable gems of wisdom.
It takes a certain mentality to uncritically swallow wholly unexamined the image of Mother Teresa projected in the received opinion. That mentality is known to Hitchens and he refers to it a number of times:
"Once the decision is taken to do without awe and reverence, if only for a moment, the Mother Teresa phenomenon assumes the proportions of the ordinary and even the political." He refers to "Mother Teresa, one of the few untouchables in the mental universe of the mediocre and the credulous."
"What follows here is an argument not with a deceiver but with the deceived. If Mother Teresa is the adored object of many credulous and uncritical observers, then the blame is not hers, or hers alone. In the gradual manufacture of an illusion, the conjuror is only the instrument of the audience."
Who but a freethinker could burst the enormous bubble of goodwill and ennoblement that surrounds this wizened octogenarian nun whose supposed single, solitary concern is to self-sacrificingly set about doing good works -- not, incidentally, for the sake of her conscience or for the sake of those she ministers to -- but for the sake of God and in obedience to his command? Hitchens' book destroys the illusion and gives abundant evidence that the real Mother Teresa bears little resemblance to it. He summarizes the real Mother Teresa as "a religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer and an accomplice of worldly secular powers."
Practically all her utterances (Hitchens' book gives abundant examples) are religious inanities, vacuous assertions, and ignorant observations. One can only be appalled by the lack of intellectual sophistication of her admirers who hold her in such high esteem and who seize upon her every asinine comment as a sign of her astuteness and philosophical depth. And this includes heads of state and the Nobel Prize committee members.
Hitchens points out, "When Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, few people had the poor taste to ask what she had ever done, or even claimed to do, for the cause of peace." In fact, he could have pointed out that, to the extent that those scholars who claim that overpopulation is one of the factors that can lead to war are correct, her opposition to any effective limitation on the growth of population implicates her in war rather than peace. In her lengthy address at the Nobel ceremonies, which took on the cast of a religious sermon, about the only time she mentioned war and peace was in the following: "I think that today peace is threatened by abortion, too, which is a true war, a direct killing of a child by its own mother . . . . Today, abortion is the worst evil, and the greatest enemy of peace . . . . Because if a mother can kill her own child, what will prevent us from killing ourselves, or one another? Nothing." Even after this, the Nobel Committee, apparently no more informed about the issue of war and peace than she, did not rescind her award.
Strewn throughout Hitchens' book are many examples of the worthlessness of her advice and deliberations on the issues of the day: AIDS is a just retribution for improper sexual misconduct. The problems facing Calcutta are due to the fact that it is too distant from Jesus. "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people." After the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal exploded and toxic chemicals killed 2500 people and permanently impaired the health of many thousands, Mother Teresa went there post haste. Investigation later revealed a pattern of negligence by the corporation and showed that previous warnings about lack of safety at the plant had been ignored by it. Throngs of angry relatives of victims greeted her at the airport and asked her advice and counsel. She gave it. She intoned her usual homily for solving complex problems: "Forgive, forgive, forgive." A group of residents in one of the worst slums in the nation's capital confronted her on her visit there and told her that they needed housing, jobs, and services -- not charity. They asked her what she was going to do about it. She advised, "First we must learn to love one another."
Some will say it is churlish and petty to criticize Mother Teresa when she does such great and heroic medical and charitable work for the destitute and sick -- for the "poorest of the poor," as she puts it. But how much is known about what she is doing or whether she is doing good or harm, or more of one than the other? Where are the scientific researches done by outside, objective scholars to show whether her Missionaries of Charity does even what it could or should be doing given the great resources that pour into it. Who would dare even suggest an investigation and evaluation?
The little that is known about what goes on at the Missionaries of Charity is not encouraging. Hitchens dug up an article that appeared in the noted British medical journal, The Lancet (September, 1994). The article is by a physician who visited and inspected the Calcutta facility. He was quite disturbed by what he saw. He observed misdiagnoses and administration of inappropriate medications. He was particularly appalled that no strong analgesics were used to control intractable pain.
How bad things are in Mother Teresa's care of the sick, and how primitive her thinking is in other respects as well, can be seen in the observations Hitchens received from a host of former employees and volunteers in the Missionaries of Charity. After a critical film of his on the order was televised, he received communications from them. He used only those who were willing to have their names used and who answered certain inquiries that assured authenticity. The picture presented by this evidence reveals the sharp contrast between the received opinion about her work and the reality, and it relates some of the harm she does. It is not necessary to cite here all the reported negligence and malpractices, which range from repeatedly using the same injection needles without sterilizing them to a refusal to send to the hospital those in clear need of surgery.
Why does not Mother Teresa do better? She cannot because she is a passionately religious individual. The figure that dominates her thoughts and her talk is God. He is central to every breath she takes and every word that passes her lips. As was pointed out above, she repeatedly says that what she does is in the name of God. It is for God's sake that she helps the poor, sick, and dying. She claims that she never asks for donations. Money comes to her, she explains, through the providence of God. God sends money her way because she is doing what he wants her to do. If God did not want her to care for people, she says, he would not send the money. In short, contrary to the prevailing perception, she is not necessarily a warm and loving person motivated by an overwhelming compassion. She is just dutifully submitting to God's bidding. By her own admission, if he did not have money sent to her, she would do nothing to try to get donations so she could help. God would not want it, and she is bound by God's will.
The physician who wrote the critical article in The Lancet is an astute observer. After condemning the fact that there was no rational search for diagnosis and treatment in the Calcutta facility, he explains: "Such systematic approaches are alien to the ethos of the home. Mother Teresa prefers providence to planning: her rules are designed to prevent any drift toward materialism." Hitchens expounds on the same theme: "The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection."
Mother Teresa is thoroughly saturated with a primitive fundamentalist religious worldview that sees pain, hardship, and suffering as ennobling experiences and a beautiful expression of affiliation with Jesus Christ and his ordeal on the cross. Hitchens reports that in a filmed interview Mother Teresa herself tells of a patient suffering unbearable pain from terminal cancer: "With a smile, Mother Teresa told the camera what she told the patient: 'You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.'" Apparently unaware that the response of the sufferer was a put-down, she freely related it: "Then please tell him to stop kissing me."
It should go without saying that a book review is always a mere skeleton, nothing more than a foretaste, of the book itself. There is much more in Hitchens' work, including some rather shocking details about her activities, not touched upon here. He shows her political wiliness, all but missed by her admirers who picture her as innocent of such matters; her stealthy baptism of dying nonChristians; her acceptance of money from unsavory characters and crooks; her activities as emissary of the pope; her partiality to -- or at least her lack of repulsion of -- dictators, even so horrible a character as Hoxha of Albania; her willingness to sacrifice the needs of the poor for the requirements of dogma; her enforcing of austerity in the midst of abundance; her dictatorial rule; her work being at bottom a fundamentalist religious campaign; and much more. And finally one can't resist mentioning her opposition to canning tomatoes for preserving for future use because there is absolutely no need to do so since God will provide.
Free thinkers owe Hitchens a debt of gratitude for providing a brilliant example of the repudiation of received opinion and its replacement with an exercise in critical inquiry that results in the smashing of illusion and unmasking its beneficiary, in this instance Mother Teresa, and exposing her to the piercing light of reality, especially when the beneficiary has been protected from exposure by ensconcement behind the massive stronghold of religion.
Just btw, I remember studying an English textbook at school that had a lengthy lesson on Teresa written by that lecherous "secularist" Kushwant Singh.  Someone once said (I forgot who) that "despite his constant harping on sex, Kushwant Singh goes to bed with nothing more exciting than a hot-water bottle."  Singh has some talent, spinning yarns about prostitutes and nuns alike!