By reducing Diwali to a mere ‘Riwaz’, Fabindia furthered Abrahamic religions’ denigrating agenda

Calling Diwali ‘Jashn-e-Riwaz’ is part of an old linguistic tactic that Abrahamics have been employing for ages to belittle us. To begin with, they added ‘ism’ to ‘Hindu’ but ‘ity’ to ‘Christian’, implying ours is dogma, theirs is faith. Islam stays Arabic, bearing no English language influence.

To say Diwali is a riwaz (custom) is to make the subtle point that the festival has no religious roots. Just as it is customary to greet people when we meet, we observe Diwali. No more serious than wishing ‘good morning’!

Have you noticed that chaste Urdu speakers never refer to the script for Hindi, Devanagari, as Devvanagari? They call it Nagari ― implying there is no godly aspect to it. This is another subtle show of disregard for our culture

When I was a teacher, I noticed Muslim students deliberately writing Hindu as “hindu”, with a lower-case h, in their exercise books. Note that the English language associates a certain degree of respect/recognition with proper nouns and certain adjectives. Even in French, Français (with capital F) and français (small f) have different values attached. My Muslim students who wrote “hindu” while never referring to the followers of their own religion as “muslim” were making a clear case of comparison, projecting M as greater than h

Referring to Krishna as “the blue god”, Hanuman as “the monkey god”, etc are linguistic ways of saying our religion is alien and amusing. If pop iconography determines these terms, why is Jesus Christ not “the crucified god”? Why is Allah not “the invisible god”?

While Allah cannot be depicted in paintings, films, sculpture, etc, the name flashes Arabic calligraphy before the eyes. So, shouldn’t Allah be “the Arab god”? He isn’t. Even the Buddha is not “the Nepali (born in Lumbini) god”. Adjectives for “god” are preserved only for us.

@FabindiaNews has merely furthered n old agenda of ME religions to degrade others w/ linguistic subtlety. Hindus should’ve objected to references like “the festival of colours” (Holi) & “festival of lights” (Diwali), but they hadn’t understood the game until now.

Surajit Dasgupta

Founder and editor-in-chief of @SirfNewsIndia, formerly with MyNation, Hindusthan Samachar, Swarajya, The Pioneer, The Statesman

Shri Krishna & Ustad Bismillah Khan:

A few years back, Ustad Bismillah Khan was traveling by train from Jamshedpur to Varanasi. It was a coal run passenger train and Ustad was traveling in the third class compartment.

From an intermediate rural railway station, a young cowherd boy boarded the bogey in which Ustad was sitting. He was a dark and lean boy; and he was holding a flute in his hands. Slowly the boy started playing his flute. 

The supreme quality of his music surprised the maestro Ustad who didn’t even know the ‘Raga’ the boy was playing. Ustad Bismillah Khan immediately recognized that the boy is none other than Sri Krishna, the Supreme God Himself. The nectarin Nada-Brahman (Brahman in the form of music) flowing out of Krishna’s flute filled Ustad’s heart with ecstasy; and tears of joy started pouring out of his eyes.

After the stunning performance, Ustad called the boy near and presented him with a coin requesting him to play the song again. Krishna obliged. This repeated again and again until Bismillah Khan’s wallet became empty. Young Krishna got down at the next railway station and disappeared.

In fact, Ustad was en route to participate in a music concert related to Kumbha Mela (a Hindu religious gathering of millions of devotees). In that concert, Ustad presented the new ‘Raga’ (which he learned that day from Krishna). 

This melodious ‘raga’ was greatly appreciated by the audience who begged Ustad to sing it many times. The music scholars around couldn’t make out the name of the ‘Raga’ and they asked about it to Bismillah Khan. Ustad replied that the name of the Raga is ‘Kanharira’.

Next day’s newspapers contained headlines about the melodious new ‘Raga’ invented by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Having read it, Hariprasad Chaurasia, the legendary Musician (Flutist), asked about ‘Kanharira’ Raga’s details to Bismillah Khan. 

Ustaad revealed the truth and sang Kanharira; and Hariprakash Chaurasia, the topmost Flutist in the world, burst into tears of joy.

‘Kanharira’ is a divine gem in Indian music, as it originated from the lotus lips of Sri Krishna, the God of Gods!!!.

The following incident was revealed by Ustad Bismillah Khan to the editor of Illustrated Weekly of India.

Bismillah Khan was born in a family of musicians. His ancestors were court musicians in the princely states of Bhojpur, now in Bihar state. His father was a shehnai player in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh of Dumraon Estate now in Bihar.

Bismillah detested studies, so he played marbles on the streets of Benaras. He spent most of his time in the corridor of the house where he could hear his uncles playing the shehnai. Sometimes he even played marbles to the shehnai’s tunes.

Bismilla Khan’s uncle Ali Bux used to go to the nearby Jadau Sri Balaji (Maha-Vishnu) temple every morning. There, he played the shehnai for the entire day to earn four rupees a month. Sometimes Bismillah followed him in the morning, listen to his music, get engrossed and bewildered. 

After the mornings’ sessions at the Jadau temple, uncle and nephew walked towards the Balaji temple. A room was reserved for Ali Bux. He practiced there for about five hours daily. When Ali Bux finished practicing he found Bismillah sitting beside him, listening to him and hungry as well. Never did Bismillah disturb his uncle. They returned home each day after these morning sessions for lunch.

Bismillah often wondered why his Uncle went to the room in the Balaji temple to practice while he could practice at home without being disturbed. Unable to suppress his curiosity he asked his uncle one day. Uncle Ali stroked his locks and answered, “You will learn it one day.” Bismillah was quick to ask, “But, Mamu when will I start playing shehnai?” “Why talk about when; you are going to start today,” he said.

That evening uncle Ali took Bismillah to the Jadau Maha-Vishnu temple, and after the evening shehnai recital to the room in the Balaji temple where he had practiced for over 18 years. Finally, uncle Ali granted Bismillah Khan permission to practice there. However, Uncle Ali came with a note of caution, “In this temple, if you happen to experience or see anything extraordinary, don’t say to anyone.”

Overjoyed, Bismillah practised in the room for 4 to 6 hours. Oblivious to the changes taking place outside the four walls he experimented and discovered new heights and depths of musical scales and melodies. Bismillah was overtaken by the thirst to perfect his music.

One day Bismillah khan was engrossed in his shahanai practice at 4:00a.m in the premises of Balaji temple, all alone. Suddenly he realised that someone was sitting next to him. It was none other than Bhagavan Balaji Himself !!!.

Shocked and astonished, Bismillah Khan remained still. Then Sri Balaji smiled and said, “Play…” But Khan was still too shocked to continue. Then Bhagavan Balaji smiled and disappeared.

Later that day Bismillah Khan went to Ali who is his Guru and Uncle, narrated to him what he has experienced in Balaji temple. Uncle slapped him on the cheek and said, “Did I not tell you not to say anything to anyone? ” … If anyone watched the Video about Ustad Bismillah Khan on Doordarshan some 10 years ago, you would have heard him refer to it again.

Mysterious are the ways of Bhagavan Narayana when it comes to blessing His devotees.
“VICHITHRA-ROOPASTHWAT-KHALU-ANUGRAHAH.” (Dasakam 87, Sloka 7– Narayaneeyam)

Bhagavan doesn’t go by caste, creed or religion. “BHAKTI” is the only criterion.

This story was narrated by author Praveen Kumar Jha in his book Wah Ustad

An OPen Letter to Sh. Narayan Murti

Most respected Mr. Murthy,

Trust you and your family are safe.

I am writing to you on behalf of crores of small retailers, sellers, small family-owned micro-enterprises and SMBs across India.

The first wave of Covid in 2020 hit their business badly. As they were slowly picking up the pieces of their livelihood and business, the second wave is now threatening to deliver another severe blow.

However, these two waves are not the only one that has brought them to their knees. Before Covid, there was another crisis that hit their livelihood and the future of their children and families. This is a crisis that continues to plague them and you, Mr. Murthy, could be a key factor in ending this scourge.

For years, Mr Murthy, you have been the idol of millions of Indians. With your constant emphasis on honesty, integrity, fairness, values and transparency, you have demonstrated that it is possible to build a world class business based on principles of ethics and accountability.

More than leading the Indian IT services revolution for India, what most people consider your greatest achievement is your adherence to the dharma of straight and the narrow. At one point, some people even wanted you to become the President of our country.

Unfortunately, Mr. Murthy, this perfect image of yours is slipping away in the minds of observers like us.

In 2014, your investment company Catamaran entered into a Joint Venture agreement with Amazon to form Prione. On paper, Prione is majority owned by Catamaran. However, in reality, Catamaran owns its shares as a “trustee of Hober Mallow Trust”.

Sir, a mantra that you have always held as core is transparency. In your own words “Transparency is a prime value attribute in the corporate world because good corporate governance depends on transparency.” You have said several times “When in doubt, disclose without any hesitation.” This is dharma that you have flagrantly violated when it comes to Catamaran’s real relationship with Amazon.

Who really owns the mysteriously named Hober Mallow Trust? How much of your equity is invested in these companies? Does Amazon give you a fixed fee or a fixed return for lending your name to this nefarious quagmire of multiple companies, trusts and LLCs named after Catamaran, Prione and Hober Mallow Trust?

You have consistently stonewalled all queries. A recent media report said that all queries with regards to the contributors and beneficiaries of Hober Mallow Trusts and trusteeship fees or the asset management fee earned by Catamaran, were not answered and have never been disclosed.

In your much quoted interview with the Harvard Business Review in 2011, you said “A good company must always go beyond following the law. Ethical behavior transcends legal compliance: It’s about satisfying your conscience, whereas legal compliance is about satisfying the authorities.” Yet, it is this very principle that you have brazenly flouted.

The Government of India, under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modiji rightfully believes that small Indian retailers need protection from foreign companies with deep pockets in doing retail business in India. By law, Amazon can only operate a marketplace and can’t do retailing.

Since 2014, you have been in cahoots with Amazon – through what appears to be a name-lending arrangement with Cloudtail acting as a front for Amazon’s retail business – and defied the objectives of the policies of the Government of India. To what end, Sir? Just for a fixed fee or returns, have you sacrificed the interests and livelihood of millions of small traders in India and left us at the mercy of a nefarious company like Amazon?

Since 2014, when you gave your name to Cloudtail India, it has been the largest seller on Amazon India. On paper, this arrangement does not flout India’s FDI regulations. However, in reality, is it the mysterious Hober Mallow Trust that actually owns and controls Cloudtail. Some signs are clear – the senior leadership of Cloudtail as well as majority of board members of Cloudtail are all former Amazon employees. In 2018, the government amended the laws to stop these practices of foreign retailers forming front companies to carry out retailing. You promptly increased your stake to 74%, but changed nothing else!

This deceitful stealth conquest of Indian retail by Amazon is hurting 100 million families in India whose lives and livelihood depends on their small shops and micro establishments. Due to Covid, buying has moved online and due to your arrangements with Amazon, these small and medium family-owned businesses are left with no option to earn their livelihoods. Sir, Amazon is legally bound to be a marketplace in India. Instead, Catamaran along with a handful of other enterprises dominate and capture more than 90% of retail business on Amazon, leaving little scope for these small and medium family-owned businesses to do any business and earn their livelihood.

Sir, perhaps you entered into a business with Amazon in 2014, in good faith. Now, you have been turned into a ‘night watchman’ for Amazon which is playing a test match to dominate India’s retail business by investing billions of dollars every year.

With every passing year, you are falling deeper and deeper into a quagmire that does not do your good standing and reputation any justice. A Reuters report showed documentary proof that the objective of Amazon is to “test the boundaries of Indian law.” With your multiple corporate structures, you have become a party to this objective.

Sir, you are a Senior and Respected Leader of India. You do not need to be a sleeping partner of an enterprise that is clearly built on an edifice of dishonesty and opaqueness.

You have been on record saying that “the softest pillow is clear conscience.” And that “honesty makes a person sleep well because they know they have done nothing wrong.”

Sir, Amazon is under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, Competition Commission of India and various Indian regulators. The US Senate is investigating its rampant abuse of monopolistic powers and workers’ rights. Regulators in Japan, Italy, France and Germany are investigating its naked abuse of power and tax avoidance. Is this the kind of company you want to earn money from?

Mr Murthy, do you sleep well, knowing that all the principles that you have stood for and espoused your entire life, have been violated and that is what people like us increasingly believe?

In 1994 at Infosys, you courageously and famously walked away from your biggest client based on the conviction of your principles,

In 2021, invoke the spirit of 1994. Walk away from the mess that Amazon has entangled you in.

You owe this to India and you owe this to the crores of Indians who admire you and once even wanted you to be the president of this country.

Do it for all Indians across the world, so that we know that one of our tallest corporate stalwarts, is not a Valmiki who turned into Ratnakar.

Do it also for your inner soul and your troubled conscience.

Warm regards.

Arvinder singh-

(President all india mobile dealers association)

Hindutva before Savarkar: Chandranath Basu’s contribution

  • Makarand Paranjpe

“Hindutva,” as both term and concept, is usually identified with VD Savarkar (1883-1966). His 1923 essay, originally titled, “Essentials of Hindutva” and retitled, “Hindutva: Who is a Hindu” in its 1928 reprint is the most frequently, often the only, cited text in this regard. Even the ever-popular Wikipedia has it wrong in saying that the word was “coined in the early 20th century.” A respected commentator from the right, offering a corrective to such views, wrote a recent article on how “the Hindu nationalist tradition is not alien to West Bengal.”

He is absolutely right. Like most modern ideas in India, “Hindutva,” too, was born in Bengal in the 19th century. But even he fails to mention its probable progenitor. A Bangla tract by that name was published in 1892 by a bhadralok man of letters we have forgotten today. His name is Chandranath Basu (1844-1910). Like many other leading figures of that time, he too studied at the Presidency College, getting a BA in 1865. Hoping to make a lucrative career in law, he also picked up a BL degree a couple of years later. However, he never practised law. He worked for a while in the education department, before being appointed as Deputy Magistrate, like Bankim Chandra Chattopadyaya, the leading literary figure of the times. But that didn’t suit Chandranath either. He returned to education, becoming the Principal of Jaipur College, Calcutta. After a while, he worked for the Bengal (later National) Library, finally being appointed as a translator in the Bengal Government in 1887. Though this may not seem like such an illustrious career move today, in those days it was a Class I officer’s post and quite important to the colonial regime. Chandranath occupied it till his retirement from service in 1904.

Chandranath’s forte, however, was literature. He started, as many young aspirants of his time, in English. He even founded a monthly called Calcutta University Magazine. It was Bankim who urged him to switch to Bangla as he himself had done after his own false start, Rajmohan’s Wife (1864), an incomplete, some say, first Indian novel in English. Chandranath began to publish in Bangadarshan, Bankim’s journal, the preeminent literary periodical of the day. He soon made a name for himself, publishing in other leading magazines including Girish Chandra Ghosh’s Bengalee, Akshaychandra’s Nabajiban, and so on. Rabindranath Tagore knew him well and mentions him in his reminiscences. An index of his importance is his election as the Vice chairman of the Bangia Sahitya Parishad in 1896 and Chairman in 1897. Earlier incumbents included its founding Chairman, Romesh Chandra Dutta (1848-1909), ICS, economic historian, and translator of the Ramayana and Mahabharata into English verse. Tagore himself had served as the co-Vice-Chairman of the Parishad with Nabinchandra Sen.

Chandranath wrote several books including Shakuntala Tattva (1881). Note his use of “tattva” (reality or essence), long before he used it to coin “Hindutva.” The rediscovery and translation of Kalidas’ Shakuntala in 1789 led to a lively discussion of its greatness among the Bangla intelligentsia. Kalidas’s play became central to the conceptualisation of a modern Indian aesthetic tradition. Not only Chandranath, but Tagore also wrote on this key text. Later, Acharya Hazariprasad Dwivedi would also discuss Chandranath’s Shakuntala Tattva. Chandranath went on to write a historical novel, Pashupati Sambad (1884), a critical survey of the newly emergent Bangla literature, a product of the Renaissance in which he himself was an important actor, Bartaman Babgala Sahityer Prokriti (1899), and several other books, some of which also tried to define Hindu traditions and practices. Of these, the most important, of course, was Hindutva (1892). He was to resort to the same principle of going to the fundamentals (tattva) in his last major book, Savitri Tattva (1901) too.

Unfortunately, no one I know has read Chandranath’s Hindutva. Though it is referred to in several scholarly studies of 19th century Hindu reform movements, not a single scholar offers a detailed study or analysis. It is neither available in English translation nor, it would seem, easy to get in Bangla. The longest reference to it in English that I could find was in this “Critical Notice” in the Calcutta Review of July 1894:

“Babu Chandra Nath’s is the first work which treats of the Hindu articles of faith. It aims at being an exposition of the deepest and abstrusest doctrines of Hinduism, not in a spirit of apology, not in a spirit of bombast, but in a calm and dispassionate spirit. The work is a difficult one. The Hindus are notorious for the diversity of their transcendental doctrines, every individual school having a complete set of doctrines of its own. Babu Chandra Nath has selected the noblest doctrines of Hinduism, but he has not followed any one of the ancient schools. Yet he does not aim at establishing a school of doctrine himself. His sole object is to compare, so far as lies in his power, the leading doctrines of Hindu faith with those of other of other religions.”

I have quoted at length to show how such a comment certainly whets, but satisfies neither our intellectual curiosity nor scholarly appetite.

I have often argued, as in my book Making India (2015), that the 19th century offers the key to our understanding of what transpired afterwards, how we ended up becoming what we are today. With the renewed interest in the pre-history of Hindutva, I hope some institution or scholar will assume the much-needed commission of republishing Chandranath’s pioneering treatise. It will be one more step in the direction of creating an alternative narrative of recent Indian history.

The author is a poet and Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Source : DNA India