Shri Arun Shourie Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

In Karan Thapar’s interview, Arun Shourie looked grim, upset, even angry.

That is unusual.  It is said that if you have facts on your side, you don’t need to be angry and if facts are not on your side, you have no right to be angry. So why should Shourie be angry? Shourie’s methodology is not the usual left-wing, high-on-rhetoric-low-on-fact  moral-shmoral gasbaggery.  His method is one of arriving at conclusions based on examination of  facts.  He may also deliver sermons, but they are not the story. They bring up the “lessons-of-the-story” section, drawing on the weight of facts discussed in earlier chapters, which are the real story.  This is a scientific method. If the facts are incontrovertible, the conclusion should be unassailable.  Shourie could therefore afford a stock response when people questioned him on motives: “but what about the facts?”. No need at all to get angry!

It is generally out of character for Shourie to insert himself into controversies in the middle of their raging fury. He’d publish analyses only after full facts emerge and the outrage in media runs its course. Indeed, I remember that one of his columns started off with (not exact words, but close): “now that the cacophony has subsided, we are in a position to examine facts dispassionately”.  So it was with his handling of the Graham Staines murder case.

When Staines, a Christian proselytizer from Australia operating in tribal areas of Orissa, was burned to death by Dara Singh’s gang, the exact same crusade launched against Modi today was waged then against Vajpayee.  Even the terminology was the same. “Rising levels of intolerance”  and “minorities living in fear”. A “communal” government whose ministers were “loose cannons” and who “silently” encouraged a “lunatic fringe”.  And the ever-green scarecrow, “Fascism.”  Look up newspaper archives of the period for a validation of Santayana.

Shourie did not girdle up loins and jump right into the hoopla at the zenith of the orchestrated rage-mongering.  He waited till  Justice Wadhwa Commission, which investigated the incident, published its report. Then he went hammer and tongs at the crusaders.

He found that Staines operated with impunity against Indian law, proselytizing tribals and creating rift among them.  He also went a step ahead and found that the whole “attacks on Christians” shebang was secularist hot air. He sifted facts from fiction and formulated lessons for everybody. The very first lesson was for the media. It said:  “The press should be  wary of going by allegations of communalism-mongers”.

Let me repeat that. Shourie’s lesson to the media in the wake of the “Rising Levels Of Intolerance Crusade, Release 1.0” in late 90’s was:

Be wary of the claims of communalism-mongers

Startled? That what he rattles off as “facts” in the TV interview are but just a regurgitation of the sensationalist claims in media headlines? Wait yet. If his first lesson was on the errant ways of the media, the last, and the most important, was on the errant ways of the state.  And what was the error the state was committing?  The error of disregarding the Hindu’s reverence for the cow!!! Yes! The cow! Cow slaughter! Beef!

I should repeat that as well, but let me quote Mr Shourie himself:

Cows are revered by Hindus. The man trying to save them becomes an outlaw in the eyes of the police, and a hero in the eyes of the people.

What is the context? Shourie reports what a witness told Wadhwa Commission: “Dara Singh is a very popular figure in the village as he forcibly frees cows from the people who take them for selling. After freeing the cows, Dara Singh distributes the cows among the villagers….”

And from that observation, Shourie draws the key lesson:

“If the State is going to persist with double-standards in regard to the sentiments of Hindus and non-Hindus on the one hand, and with a deliberate shutting of eyes on the other, it is paving the way for such crimes (as Graham Staines’ killing)”

You must be rubbing your eyes in disbelief.

A man suspected of cow slaughter was killed in Dadri.  It is the sort of crime that Shourie  prophesied would occur if the state exhibited double-standards in regard to Hindu sentiment.  And he goes on to exhibit the same double-standard! He makes no attempt  to justify why one particular murder in Dadri among the hundreds that occur daily in India should be a rallying point for a crusade; while another one in Moodbidri around the same time, equally symptomatic of intolerance, should be callously and unconscionably turned a blind eye to.

Have some new facts emerged since the times of Wadhwa Commission that warrant a reworking of Shourie’s Key Lesson? We get no clue. I think hard and can see only the following difference.

Fact #1. In 2000, Mr Shourie was with the government.

Fact #2. In 2015, he has no hope of being in the government.

Could it be therefore that Mr Shourie is angry with himself? For having to enact a ridiculous drama of a worse-than-scripted interview with Karan Thapar against his own better judgment? One that viewers can see through? For having to enact it knowing fully well that for once, “but what about the facts?” counter is going to sound defensive and dubious?

Alas, all we know is that Mr Shourie is angry, but we don’t know why exactly is he.

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Indian Express and its beef with Hindus

 Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.47.33 am
140 characters don’t do justice to the layers of chicanery embedded in this
Indian Express story. Hence this long note.

First, a “backgrounder” is in order. The Christian church loves to play the
persecuted. There are two reasons for this: one tactical, the other theological.
The tactical reason is evident: we live in an era where aggressors play victim
to silence the protests of the party they are unleashing their aggression on.
But an even more important consideration for the church is dogma: it believes
that persecution helps it expand; hence imagines that it is being persecuted.
Just google “persecution and church” to learn how important for the
Christian mission it is to be “persecuted”!

Today’s Indian Express is not the same as Ramnath Goenka’s nationalist
newspaper. Today’s IE is on a mission mode.  The mission is to project “Hindu
India” under a “Hindu govt” as a persecutor of religious minorities, including,
of course, Christians. The outfit doesn’t play up the “Christian persecution”
angle too much; for that would be obvious (apart from the needed material
being scarce). Firing from the shoulders of Islamists is preferred. Day after
day, without let-up, the front page of Indian Express is all about how Hindus
of India are oppressing its Muslims. Especially under “Hindu govt” of Modi.

There’s this favourite quote of Left-wingers: You can fool some of the people
all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool
all of the people all of the time. Plain truth is that Indian Express is about as
un-bigoted as Catholic Secular Forum is secular. So what does it do when
the Catholic Secular Forum, a Church front,  assaults freedom of speech?
Here is what it does, in five bullet points:

1. Reluctantly, brings the news to the front page.

The bottom of the page, not the screaming banner headline reserved for
venting venom on Hindus. Not to highlight the matter would be too obvious,
wouldn’t it, after screaming lungs off every second day on how freedom of
expression is under threat in India from Hindu extremists? Normally the
paper is shameless enough to censor the news that doesn’t fit its mission;
but let’s give the devil its due: for once it struck a major compromise.

2. It gives the arsonist a bigger piece of the platform than to the victim of
the arson, so to speak.

The Catholic church and its “secular” forum get HUNDRED AND SEVENTY
words explaining why they (are compelled to, no doubt) ask for a ban on
the play; while the play-maker gets EIGHTY!

3. Uses non-judgmental language to report the Catholic stand.

No tone of outrage or condescension that pervades similar stories involving
Hindus, no “claimed” or “alleged” tags for the arsonist’s statements, no
“buts” and “howevers” that right away purport to debunk the claims, no
description of the aggressors as “Christian extremists” or “Christian fundamentalists”;
no instantaneous rent-a-quote reactions from seculars and liberals, but
simple phrases like “the forum said”, “the bishop stated”, “the CSF objected”.
Yes, no questions asked.

4. Uses a Catholic journalist to report the story.

What’s the norm in the same outfit when reporting stories in which Hindus
are the bad guys?  The bulk of the dirty work there seems to be done by sepoy
Hindu journalists of course; but note that Christian/Muslim journalists feel
no inhibitions in filing Hindu-bashing stories. It’s just part of a day’s secular
work. But when the story is of a nature that needs “delicate” handling, a
Christian or Muslim journo is deployed.

5. Pretends to merely state the Church stand; but actually advances it to
insinuate in the reader’s mind why the ban is not all as unjustified as she
may think.

The Church’s claim that ban is needed because the play-maker is also
involved with “Vagina Monologues” is respectfully reported. Circular
reasoning apart, note the cleverness: the Christian fundamentalist’s idea in
linking the artistes with the word  ‘vagina’ is to suggest that they are dirty-minded,
and that their intent is to give deliberate offence. Indian Express reports the
claim in a manner that plants the idea, instead of contesting it, in reader’s mind.

* * *

Incidentally, Sanal Edamaruku has never been a banner-headline story in
this Hindu-baiting outfit. A rationalist, he discovered that behind the water
emerging from a Jesus statue in Bombay was no miracle, but a sewer. He
has been living in exile ever since, fearing a threat to his life from Christian
extremists.

Christian extremists, did I say? Sorry, there are no Christian extremists in
India or Indian Express. But everyday on the front-page of the latter, you
can find Hindu extremists who are persecuting minorities.

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Liberals should relax: Bahubali is not a “rightwing” film

Bahubali left me a little underwhelmed, partly because of not meeting the very high expectations set by the rave reviews. Now, if only the reviews had alerted me to the fact that this flick,  even while being technically slick, suffers from some of the usual flaws that afflict most all commercial Indian cinema, I’d have left the theatre quite satisfied.

Yes, Bahubali is a big-budget commercial film, not Lefty-Lefty ‘parallel’ cinema, for which are rave reviews usually reserved. Therefore, it is unfair to judge it by the art-film bench-mark. You expect an “art” film to engage you in some sort of way: either by being an aesthetic experience or perhaps by giving an insightful or novel interpretation of the world around us. This is not a pursuit that appeals to many audiences. The goal of a main-stream film, on the other hand, is not to stimulate but to entertain the maximum possible number of people, by holding their interest throughout, and, at the end, leaving them feeling paisa-vasool happy. Bahubali not only accomplishes this, but it actually leaves the viewer feeling quite thrilled. That is what is key to the success of this film.

The one aspect of the flick that I would give director Rajamouli the maximum credit for is its climax, which is actually a sort of anti-climax. Some reviewers felt that the film’s ending is “abrupt”. I do not think so; the ending is in fact clever. Introducing a dramatic twist in the tale at intermission time is the usual trick. In contrast, this film ends with a twist!  There are precedents of movies being made with a sequel already planned. Tarantino’s Kill Bill comes readily to mind. Such films present the director with a challenge: the screenplay of the first part must give the audience the satisfaction of watching a complete film. Does Bahubali’s to-be-continued ending fail this test? It does not, because the plot really does not matter! (More on this later). The technical glitz is the film, not the weak storyline, and that weakness is somewhat redeemed by the somewhat-suspenseful ending.

I will come to much-talked about visuals shortly, but in my view, it is not really the visuals that thrill you, but the background score. Though at times melodramatic and at any rate overly dramatic throughout, the heavy soundtrack is designed to dull the senses, and to lead viewers like sheep to wherever the director wants to take them. Full credit to Keeravani.

And yes, the computer graphics. Are they great? Yes. But meeting “global” standards? Not. You can figure out that the waterfall is not real. The avalanche is okay-okay. But the huge armies milling about the vast grounds in the needlessly long-drawn battle scene are, well, wonky. I suspect that the scenery (and even the romance section of the plot) of this film is influenced by Hollywood’s Avtar, but unfortunately does not compare well with the slickness of that film.

There are other small touches that I liked. The film begins with paying tribute to some of Telugu/Tamil film industry’s greats, who, in my view, did not receive the global (and even pan-Indian) acclaim they deserved, only because they made “regional” language films. The Shivling scene is certainly a novel portrayal of religiosity. The hero declines to subject a bull to customary beheading at the beginning of a battle, preferring instead to spare the “mute animal’s life”. The women characters of the film are not Barbie dolls; they are leaders and vengeful warriors. And there’s a hint of pre-marital sex with no guilt-trapping, quite unusual for a South Indian film. Liberals should be thrilled by this, but they seem pissed.

The major flaw of the film of course is that the plot puts your credulity to test. It sounds as though the plot was being invented even as the film was being shot on location. The other flaws follow naturally. Screenplay is wobbly. There are way too many scenes and the progression between acts is not smooth. The romance scenes and the songs rob the film of its aspects of sophistication. There’s an item number with three female dancers: perhaps to creatively fill the usual Telugu film quota of five dance routines per film.

I would now like to conclude this short review with a reference to the title: Liberals should chill. This is no “Hindutva” film at all. Perhaps Hinduism has been completely banished from Bollywood, but down in the South, it is still not shameful to portray characters as religiously Hindu. No film-maker here consciously promotes Hinduism, and no film-goer would see this flick as promoting anything Hindu. (In fact, Bahubali has a secular touch: the sword-seller is a good Muslim noble). The Shivling scene occurs quite early in the film; and later on, there is not much religion at all. I suspect that the scene is director’s own prayer to his ishtdevata at Srisailam — a hallowed Siva temple where some parts of the movie were reportedly shot — that He may bless the project with success.

What explains then Liberals’ anxiety over an innocuous film made primarily to make the makers a handsome profit, and some glory on the side? I suspect it is that Libeals have convinced themselves that their survival is dependent on de-Hinduizing India. Any display of Hindu religiosity in art and cinema seems to drive their latent paranoia to stratosphere. What an irony. The chaps are always fighting “Islamophobia”, but hey, what do you call an irrational fear and hatred of Hinduism?

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The Anatomy of Puran Bhagat

Stirred to intense curiosity by Chetan Bhagat’s novel thesis titled “Anatomy of Bhakts”, I decided to conduct an investigation into its validity. But then a dilemma arose. Am I a Bhakt too? If the answer is yes, then am I qualified to apply myself to the task?

There is the Duck Test you know. Four traits determine whether a creature is a duck or not. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it has got to be a duck (or a liberal, who is qualified to be in charge of the pond, since he is qualified for every tax-payer-funded job).  Likewise, there is a Bhagat Test to check if a human being is a Bhakt. Four traits again.

First. Is he a male?

Well, “he” can’t be a female, and I certainly wasn’t a female the last time I checked.

Second. Do I have weak communication skills?

I pondered over this question, and recollected the most recent conversation I had with a stranger. It went like this:

Stranger: “Did you read one night at the call centre?”
Self: “But I don’t work in a call centre”
Stranger: “No, what I mean is … ok, how about half girlfriend?”
Self (taken aback): “Are you suggesting time-sharing?”

So you can see that my communication skills are not great.

Two down. This Bhakt Test is not looking good on me.

Three. Am I sexually frustrated?

This, in my humble opinion, is an unfair question. I challenge any male anywhere in the world to look himself squarely in the mirror and answer honestly “no!” to this one. No sir, no. I’m not that desperate to sign up with the ISIS for my 72, but I can’t claim I am not impressed by that number, either. Sexual messaging is hitting us from every direction these days: ranging from books of Chetan Bhagat to the obituary columns of Times of India, so how can we ever be truly satiated?

Having tested positively to three Bhagat-Test traits already, I panicked and almost gave up. Then, as I glanced without hope at the fourth trait, it leaped out of the page and danced before my eyes! I don’t speak Hindi! Hooray! I don’t speak Hindi!! Hooray, hooray, I am not a Bhakt!

The next steps were quite simple. I needed to look up the Twitter timeline of any Bollywood starlet who was a The-Victim. Of abuse. Surely, abuse comes from Bhakts, so anyone on the starlet’s timeline must be a Bhakt. I picked a Bhakt randomly, and DM’ed him if he would be kind enough to answer a few questions for me. He agreed.

The point is this: if Bhagat Test is valid,  the Bhakt I picked would be male, has poor communication skills, is sexually repressed and speaks Lucknowi Hindi.

Below is the result. Reluctant admission: one must doff hat at Mr Bhagat’s genius.

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Net Banality

I expect left-wingers to endorse that which is popularly claimed to be “Net Neutrality”. And they are endorsing it, of course.  What I am a little surprised by is the eagerness of those who allegedly profess free markets to jump on to this fashionable bandwagon. These people are either getting swayed by the “internet khatre mein hai!” hyperbole, or are unable to grasp the hypocritical contradiction between preaching and practice that they have gotten into. This short blog post is addressed to them, not to the commies.

In a socialist economy, the big-brother state decides the goods and services that the producers and consumers of those goods and services may trade in. It even decides their  prices. In contrast, in a market economy, markets determine what gets traded and at what price.

The so-called net-neutrality argument is a socialist argument because it is dictating to telecom service providers what services they may offer to their customers. Telecom companies are being told they have no right to privilege Flipkart over Amazon (why not?) or that they may not block access to any internet site. (Ridiculously, “freedom of speech” is being touted as argument against blocking. The state guarantees only freedom of speech, not a distribution channel for it).

At this point, some alleged economic “rightwingers” argue that while they are for economic freedom, they are not against a little regulation of industry  in the cause of “larger public good” (the old socialist chestnut). “Net neutrality” apparently warrants such intervention because internet has become “essential” utility.

Well, I have some news. The internet is a not a natural resource, like the air one breathes or the water one drinks. The internet is a product of human endeavour and genius. It costs tons of money to invent, produce and operate the equipment that runs the net.

If internet is really a very essential utility, perhaps it must become part of the civic amenities that state delivers. Do not pass the burden (of running it according to your business model) on to private enterprise.

If “internet” is an “essential” utility that man cannot live without, then how about housing, (surely, every man needs a roof over his head), and therefore, naturally, “Apartment Neutrality” guaranteeing access to it?  So how about we stipulate that builders may not privilege rich buyers over poorer buyers, or plush neighborhoods over slums?

Or, as a Twitter friend mentioned, how about “News Neutrality”? Aren’t newspapers and TV stations an “essential utility”? (Don’t tell me they are not! You certainly cannot live without NDTV, can you?)  News Neutrality dictates unrestricted and equal access to all opinion, so how about we pass a law that for every oped published pouring venom on Modi, media outfits must also run one praising him to the skies?

Ditto with “Car Neutrality”. Transport is undisputedly an essential utility. Condo Neutrality may earn a man a home, but to earn a living, he must get out of that home with the help of Car Neutrality. So how about car-makers devise the mechanics of some very easy financing (extremely long tenures, perhaps), so that everybody and Kejriwal may have access to cars, not only the rich guys in SUVs?

I expect socialist Dogmatixes  to gleefully answer “yes! yes! yes!” to the above questions but I certainly do not expect alleged rightwingers to do the same.

Kindly stop peddling the nonsense that internet is such an essential service that the providers of that service must be subjected to business-stifling regulation that other enterprises, including providers of other “essential” services and goods, are not subjected to.  (It would help also to stop projecting telcos as particularly evil).  “Net neutrality” is immoral from an economic-freedom perspective.

(Disclosure: I work in the telecom industry).

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Total BS

This BS story caught my eye: “Govt against consent of tribals for displacement” .  It has received effusive praise from Adarsh Liberals such as Ram Guha:

The story makes sweeping assertions with zilch evidence. Sampler:

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) (government) … is working to do away with the need for consent from tribals, while handing over their traditional forests to industry.

The writer of the story, one Nitin Seth, shows promise. He should win the Goebbels Prize for Journalism some day.

The facts of the case seem to be as follows.

Creeping environmentalism is knocking at the doors of World Bank too. Yes, the same institution that commies were railing against as an imperial force. The bank is circulating a draft set of rules that borrower countries must follow where the funded project is deemed to have an environmental impact. This draft is called “Environmental and Social Framework”.  India has studied the draft proposal and communicated its feedback to the bank. The BS story is a spin on this feedback.

The bank proposes, in Standard 7 (“ESS 7”) of the framework (subtitled “Indigenous Peoples”) that the borrowing government must obtain “free, prior and informed consent” of “indigenous peoples” affected by the funded project by way of land acquisition, and/or relocation and/or impact to “cultural heritage”.  This is the clause that Indian government has objected to. India’s concerns are as follows:

1. Domestic laws of borrower country must take precedence over World Bank’s conditions. (Principle of sovereignty). Also, non-application of domestic laws would result in litigation.

2. The bank cannot presume that it knows better than the borrowing country’s elected government as to how to safeguard the well-being of the country’s peoples (sovereignty again).

3. There is asymmetry in these conditions, because they are not binding on  donor countries

4. World Bank must not lose sight of  its principal goal, which is elimination of poverty, not environmental activism. The bank must also remain apolitical.

Actually, that’s a simplified summary of India’s well-argued response, which is available in full here.

Now, what domestic laws of India are at variance with World Bank’s ESS 7? The proposed amendment to Land Acquisition Act, for sure. But the amendment doesn’t specifically “target” tribals. It excludes several other laws, including Forest Rights Act (another one of Sonia NAC’s assaults on India’s development), from the purview of Land Acquisition Act when land is being acquired for any of five purposes: a) national security, defence, defence production b) rural infrastructure c) housing for the poor d) industrial corridors and e) infrastructure. This exclusion does not mean that land (of anyone: yours, mine or tribals’) will be acquired through coercion, but only that consent will be obtained through negotiation and consultation, and that some stringent requirements (such as that 80% of the affected population must consent to acquisition)  will be relaxed.

In other words, if the BS spinmeister wanted to spread the canard that Modi government is anti-tribals, he need not wave a World Bank document; he might just as well use the proposed Land Acquisition Amendment Bill. So why did he plug the document of an imperialist force?

The clue is in the story. There’s a quote from Amnesty International condemning the Indian government’s stand, and we are told that “Amnesty has been tracking the debate on the World Bank safeguards and environmental policy”.

Do you smell a plant? I smell a rat. This is how, it seems, India’s arms are being twisted in the “environment” debate. Use “indigenous journalists” who toe the line of big powers, while piously claiming to speak for our tribals.

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Kill-Joy Activism

One of the characters of English language fiction that impressed me most is Ayn Rand’s Ellsworth Toohey in her cult novel, “The Fountainhead”. Toohey aims for power over other men, and he discovers the ultimate secret to obtaining it: deny people joy in living, and make them look to you for a remedy for their misery. Toohey at first experiments with religion for his joy-denial mission, and then discrovers that socialism is an even better  tool. How apt: some scholars say socialist belief is but another branch of the Abrahamic line of faiths.

A lot of Abrahamic theology, of course, is obsessed with the “crimes against God” that humans commit. The Original Sin of them all is procreation.  Come to think of it:  the basic mechnism that nature invented for the reproduction and survival of the species is sinful! Man is born of sin and cannot live without sinning. Isn’t that devastating? It seems like we are screwed. But wait a minute, there is Toohey. More precisely, there is Good News. The redeemer will lift  you out of the misery of sin.  All you need to do is to seek salvation in him (alone) and shun false gods, and abracadabra, you can go on sinning without the fear of divine retribution.

The religious festivals of this line of theology, reflecting its “seriousness”, are generally sombre affairs. Of course, in recent years the pendulum has so swung in the other extreme that Christimas has become an occasion for drunken partying and debauchery for some people in the West, but it was not originally meant to be celebrated that way. Some people say the fun elements of Abrahamic relgions, such as those are, were actually borrowed from the “pagan” “cults” they replaced. Indeed, many fun celebrations in  Western cultures are non-religious, and are even condemned as anti-religious: Halloween in the US, for example.

Ironically, Christian Mission-inspired “scholars” projected Hinduism as a fatalistic, life-denying faith; a mis-characterization that still sticks. But Hindu festivals hardly reflect this alleged preference for life-denial. Deepavali is fun. Holi is fun. Krishnashtami is fun. Durga Puja is such fun that there have been angry secular demands in recent times for denying free pass to Muslim guys (but nobody mentioned Muslim girls) to dandiya nights. In fact, life is celebrated in its various stages in Hinduism, most always accompanied by a religious ritual.  Naming of the new-born, first solid-food feeding of the baby, when the baby takes first steps, when the child is initiated into education, coming of age, completion of sixty years …  All of these seem to me to be very life-affirming rituals.

At the same time though,  I would not go so far as to suggest that Hindusim is so “liberal” it permits one to indulge the senses in a no-holds-barred fashion, either on festive occasions or at other times. However, the refusal to accept drinking oneself to death as a mark of “celebration” is hardly life- or joy-denial.

The “waterless Holi” and “crackerless Diwali” crowd wants to bring the joy-denial element to Hindu festivals and rob it of its fun spirit. It has been repeatedly, and correctly, pointed out by the “rightwing” on Social Media that this crowd has nothing against ritual slaughter of millions of animals on Bakr-Id. But of course, why would it have any? Its goal is to make Hindu festivals lifeless; not to strip others’ festivals of  the “fun” of taking the life of  countless helpless creatures that share the planet with us.

I am not into preaching against non-vegetarian diet; but I believe that ritual slaughter of millions of animals as a form of celebration, with children in witness, speaks poorly of human capacity for compassion. Ritual animal slughter is not alien to Hinduism either; but is simply not done on the gargantuan scale of Bakr-Id. Moreover, as  the faith evolved, the practice largely went out of vogue, with symbolic forms of “sacrifice” taking over: the breaking of the pumpkin in the South, for example.

Hinduism must any cost not lose its joyous nature and its penchant for celebrating life. It must of course couple this feature with reasonable restrictions concerning  the well-being of oneself and others, and compassion for lesser life forms. A plug for eco-friendliness is welcome:  but it is in fact is old hat in Hinduism (Siva and Ganesha love to be decorated with grass and leaves). Less noisy, less polluting Deepavali crackers are welcome too.  It is debatable however that the crackerless-Diwali nuts have  anybody’s well-being in mind. They are the Tooheys of our times: they want power over us. And since most scheming, calculating power-mongers are deep down cowards, they remain silent over large-scale animal slaughter. As they remained silent over this incident .

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