Wednesday, July 30, 2008

** Dalit Christians will reconvert?
Dalit Christians allege discrimination, say will reconvert
Puducherry - Jul 30 2008 IST

Alleging discrimination against them by upper caste Christians, Dalit Christians here today threatened to "reembrace Hinduism", if it was not ended.

Addressing a press conference, National President of the Federation of National Dalit Christians M S Raj said their ancestors were Hindus who had converted to Christianity when Europeans came to India.

But after they left the country, the Dalit Christians could not get the compassion and protection they had been enjoying and the Indian Christians came under the caste feelers.

Gradually, they began ruling over Dalit Christians. Stating that the Eraiyur incident was one example to show how Dalit Christians were being discriminated against, he alleged. He charged that peace had not been restored in Eraiyur and that it was under police control.

He claimed that Dalit Christians had been deprived of several of their rights because of the conversion and said they could not become a doctor, engineer, IAS or IPS officers, avail the benefit of Reservation and were being suppressed by higher caste Christians in all aspects.

Hence, the leader of the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council Rev Fernando would hold a meetiing with all the 18 Bishops in Tamil Nadu to find a solution to their problems, he said.

The Dalit Christians would wait till August 15 and if no action was taken to end this discrimination, they would reembrace Hinduism. -- (UNI)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

** The Rupee-Rouble Scam - II

Manmohan knew it all along
The rupee-rouble scam--Part-II
By Namit Verma

Despite opposition from the other ministries concerned, Commerce, Defence and External Affairs; the Indian Finance Ministry under Dr Manmohan Singh and with the redoubtable team of flamboyant officers like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, N.K. Singh, N.P. Singh and A.K. Singh allowed Boris Yeltsin to unilaterally abrogate the 1978 protocol without any legal and/or compensatory financial recourse.

Ever heard of SISTEMA, or of NORILSK? They will outbid all competition to buy your stock, your company and your mineral reserves. Whether it be coveted telecom licenses or scarce mineral resources, nobody can withstand their purchasing power. But then, they have an advantage, they buy the rupee at a discount. Technically, at a 90 to 95 per cent discount; reportedly, after paying off their political, bureaucratic and central banking friends, at a 40 to 45 per cent discount.

These companies are the progeny of Dr Manmohan Singh’s long career in the world of Indian finance. Few entrepreneurs could have sired such brilliant corporate children whose growth rate defied gravity. Fewer still could have nurtured such dreams in the tenuous world of governance and politics in a democracy. Yet, the vision and genius of Dr Manmohan Singh made these profit centre marvels possible, as he nurtured them in many capacities.

As Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India, he masterminded the Intergovernmental Protocol of 25 November 1978 with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Through the 1978 protocol, he arranged for the administered fixed parity of the rupee and the rouble to be replaced by a floating parity linked to western currencies. This led to the withdrawal of the Soviet Bloc’s back-channel access to western economic systems through the shock absorber Indian economy.

Removal of the Indian buffer made the USSR vulnerable to the contradictions between its domestic and international trading sectors; thereby facilitating the West getting it’s foot in the door and bankrupting the Soviet treasury. Of course, the Soviet state with its enormous asset base couldn’t be bankrupted; yet, following this liquidity/monetary crisis, America friendly faces started emerging in key positions in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, setting up the dominoes for Mikhail Gorbachev to unleash, and Boris Yeltsin to collect upon. As Co-Chairman of the Indo-Soviet Joint Planning Group Meeting (1980-82), he authorised the Deferred Payments Protocol of 30 April 1981.

This smokescreen has proved to be more an instrument of administered value inflation/revision of an ostensibly floating rouble, than a deferred payment agreement: contradictions abound. As leader of the Indian delegation to the Indo-Soviet Monitoring Group Meeting (1982), like an adept rural moneylender, he ensured self-inflating clauses in the revised protocol to ensure that the loan repayment would remain incomplete despite being paid back several times.

As Minister of Finance, he authorised the Letters of Exchange dated 29 January 1993, to open unhindered access to India’s national treasury for Russian companies. By now, the political wheel had turned upside down in the erstwhile Soviet Union, and the US friendly Boris Yeltsin had taken over.

Despite opposition from the other ministries concerned, Commerce, Defence and External Affairs; the Indian Finance Ministry under Dr Manmohan Singh and with the redoubtable team of flamboyant officers like Montek Singh Ahluwalia, N.K. Singh, N.P. Singh and A.K. Singh allowed Boris Yeltsin to unilaterally abrogate the 1978 protocol without any legal and/or compensatory financial recourse. We shall discuss these actions of the Government of India in greater detail in forthcoming paragraphs.

As Prime Minister, Dr Singh is running his final lap in India, he is in a rush to sanction full liquidity and valuation rights accorded to these special rupees, despite the fact that while signing the 1993 protocol, Yeltsin had specifically promised that this would not be allowed. Yet, every agreement has been set aside and this has been effected.

Thus a company like Sistema is bidding for majority control of Shyam Telelink which in turn was allotted a Universal Telecommunication License for the whole country earlier this year. Now Sistema bought Shyam Telelink shares at Rs 55 each, or around 1.1 Soviet Rouble (Sixth Rouble: 1961-1997) under the 1993 protocol read with Public Notice No 12 (RE 2007)/2004-2009 of 27 June 2007, whereby the RBI fixed the Indian Rupee value of the Special Currency Basket linked to the Rouble at 56.8292 effective from 19 April 2007.

Again, conversion rate from Sixth Soviet Rouble to the Seventh Russian Rouble was fixed at 1000 Sixth Rouble to 1 Seventh Rouble at the time of new issue on 1 January 1998. Thus, the price of 1.1 Sixth Rouble per Shyam Telelink share = 0.0011 Seventh Rouble per Shyam Telelink share = 0.0011 x 0.044012 dollars per Shyam Telelink share = 0.0000484132 dollars per Shyam Telelink share = 0.0000484132 x 42.735 rupees = 0.002068938102 Rupees or 2.068938102 paisa per Shyam Telelink share! Calculating further, that Sistema bought these Rupee credits at a 90 per cent discount, or at 10 per cent of face value, the effective cost per Shyam Telelink share for Sistema works out at 0.0207 paise! Given that the effective discount was only 50 per cent, assuming 20 per cent kickback each to the Indian and Russian establishments, even so, the price per Shyam Telelink share to Sistema works out at 1.034469 paise or Re 0.01.

So, by channeling their money through the arbitrage funnel of the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Agreement of 1993, the foreign company is grabbing shares for effectively 1 paisa each. All this, while indigenous bidders would have to pay 55 honest rupees for the same shares at the same time, i.e. five thousand five hundred times the price paid by the Russian company!

Such is the magnanimity of Dr Manmohan Singh in handing over Indian assets to foreign entities. In the wake of these facts, can there be any doubt about the love, adulation, prestige and loyalty he commands in the international arena.

The rupee-rouble scam--Part-I @

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

** Europe's Civilising mission

Does Europe have a Civilising mission in India?

Recently, the European Parliament hosted a meeting on “caste discrimination in South Asia”. At the meeting, participants stated that “India is being ruled by castes not by laws” and that they demanded justice, because there “is one incredible India and one untouchable India.”
The EU was urged to come out with a policy statement on the subject. One MEP, referring to the caste system, said that “this barbarism has to end.”

This is not the first time. However, before the EU decides to publish policy statements on caste discrimination in India, we would do well to reflect on some simple facts.

First, the dominant conception of the caste system has emerged from the accounts by Christian missionaries, travelers and colonial administrators. Rather than being neutral, these accounts were shaped by a Christian framework. That is, the religion of European visitors to India had informed them beforehand that they would find false religion and devil worship there, and that false religion always manifested itself in social evils.

Especially the Protestants rebuked the “evil priests” of Hinduism for imposing the laws of caste in the name of religion. They told the Indians that conversion to Protestantism was a conversion to equality. Thus, Indian souls were to be saved from damnation and caste discrimination.

Second, this Christian account of “the Hindu religion” and its “caste system” informed colonial policies in British India. Building on the theological framework, scholars now wrote “scientific” treatises on Hindu superstition and caste discrimination.

The Christian mission found its secular counterpart in the idea of the civilising mission, which told the West that it had to rescue the natives from the clutches of superstition and caste. One no longer promoted religious conversion, but the colonial educational system harped on “the horrors of Hindu society.”

Third, the colonial educational project had a deep impact on the Indian intelligentsia. Hindu reform and anti-caste movements came into being, which reproduced the Protestant accounts of Hinduism and caste as true descriptions of India.

Their advocates did not adopt these descriptions as passive recipients, but actively deployed them to pursue socioeconomic and political interests. Political parties and caste associations were created to safeguard the interests of the “lower castes.”

The elites of these groups united in associations and received financial and moral support from the missionaries and other progressive colonials.

Fourth, the “Dalit” movement of today is the product of these colonial movements. The notion of “Dalits” makes sense only within the colonial account of India, which had postulated the existence of one single group of “outcastes” or “untouchables” that was supposedly exploited by the upper castes. In reality, it concerns a variety of caste groups, with no criteria to unite them besides the claim that they are all “downtrodden.”

Indeed, many of these groups are poor and discriminated against by other caste groups. However, their socio-economic interests have been hijacked by some of their western-educated elite members.

In the name of the downtrodden, these elites establish NGOs and then travel from conference to conference and country to country in order to reveal the plight of the “Dalits” to eager western audiences and secure funding from donor agencies.

Fifth, when present-day Europeans rebuke Indian society for the “barbarism” of caste discrimination, they are reproducing the old stanzas of the civilising mission. Such a stance of superiority perhaps worked in the context of colonialism. But today, at a time when Indians buy some of the European industrial giants and Europe is in need of more collaboration with India, it is ill-advised to continue this type of civilisational propaganda.

In fact, such propaganda derives its plausibility from a series of assumptions that no one would be willing to defend explicitly. It attributes all socioeconomic wrongs of the Indian society to its structure and civilisation.

The implication is that there is only one way to get rid of socio-economic wrongs here: one has to eradicate both the social structure and the Hindu civilisation. It is as though one would blame the racism, bingedrinking, pedophilia, poverty, homelessness and domestic violence in the contemporary West on its age-old civilisation.

The times have changed. As Europeans, we need to reflect on our deep-rooted sense of superiority and how this informs our moralising discourse on human rights in other parts of the world.

To appreciate the impression we give to Indians with our statements on caste discrimination, just imagine a possible world in which the Indian government regularly castigates the US for its racism against African-Americans and the disproportionate death penalties, and the EU for the treatment of South Asians in England, Turks in Germany, women in Romania, the Basque movement in Spain, gypsies in Italy … just imagine Indian members of parliament consistently blaming the very structure of western societies as the cause of all these wrongs.

Europe needs to wake up fast. The time of colonialism is over. If we do not change our attitudes, the irritation towards the EU will grow in countries like India and China.

So will the unwillingness to collaborate. In the fast-changing world of the early 21st Century, Europe cannot afford this.

Jakob De Roover is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation (FWO) at the Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap, Ghent University, Belgium

1) The British ‘caste system’

2) MOTIVATION of Indologists

3) Protect Religions @

Monday, July 7, 2008

** Towards Religious Harmony

Towards Religious Harmony
by H. DeSilva

Christian evangelists are on a roll in Sri Lanka. During the past few decades many reactionary Christian organisations originating in the west have swept into Sri Lanka with the single aim of converting all non-Christians to Christianity.

Having arrived in a "third world" country, their reasoning is that all niceties and norms of decency can be dispensed with; evangelism is carried out through whatever means necessary without any thought for the consequence, even if this means creating a religious conflict.

Sri Lanka must be on high guard if she is to preserve her religious harmony, for looking around the world it can be seen that religious conflict has not been far behind wherever Christian evangelists have set up shop. Moderate Christians in the country have opposed the acts of the minority Christian fundamentalists, but this opposition has been much too soft and has been relegated to a few personalities.

If the articles in various national papers are anything to go by, more often than not we come across members of the mainstream churches supporting and encouraging the evangelists and their insidious activities.

By throwing their weight behind the Christian fundamentalists, moderate Christians are only doing what the fundamentalists want them to do: join in the offensive against other religions. Such an outcome does not bode well for the future of this country, and a deep reflection on the issue ought to be undertaken by moderate Christians siding with (or leaning towards) the evangelists. It is true that we have heard some sections of the Church condemn the insensitive and indecent activities of the evangelists, but nothing has been done to reign in those who continue with these provocative activities.

No concrete steps have been taken to stop abusing the poverty and destitution of a war-scarred population in order convert them, and no concrete steps have been taken to stop once and for all the iconoclastic practice of smashing Buddhist and Hindu statues to signify total conversion to Christianity. We are left to believe that the public condemnation is merely a ploy to appear moderate and tolerant, and that the Church continues to support such activities in secret.

But surely this cannot be true? For if it were, we have the makings of a religious imbroglio that could overshadow the current national conflict itself. It is unfortunate but true that the history of the Church in this island has not been one that it can be proud of.

If truth be told, the mainstream churches, hand in hand with the colonials, engaged in vicious forms of evangelism, trying to convert all the non-Christian natives to Christianity and bring them to the "civilization" that the Europeans supposedly first brought to this country inhabited by brown-skinned "pagans."

The Church played a leading role in trying to wean away the natives from their culture and national religion - Buddhism or Hinduism, and used whatever means at their disposal to carry out this task.

They shamelessly paid new converts to go around villages degrading Buddhism and they had no qualms about providing education through their schools if only the Buddhist and Hindu children would convert to Christianity.

Churches were built on the desecrated remains of Buddhist and Hindu temples, and for a long time the inveterate enemies of the Church remained the two religions of Buddhism and Hinduism which were adhered to by the vast majority of Sri Lankans.

So it is with much concern today that the people of this country regard the lack of action taken by the Church to arrest the activities of the evangelists. Is the Church falling back into its past history of openly attacking and trying to annihilate other religions? Is this the case in this "age of enlightenment", and if so, how can such an openly hostile attitude towards other religions be conducive towards religious harmony?

The established churches in Sri Lanka must be wary of providing support to the evangelists who are conducting an ideological war against against non-Christian religions.

By providing overt or covert support to the activities of the evangelists, the mainstream churches are only inviting the displeasure of the vast majority of Sri Lankans who do not look kindly upon the provocative methods of proselytism employed by the Christian fundamentalists.

Many in this country are quite plainly fed up with the crusade of conversion that is being spearheaded by the evangelists, and want the hate campaign against non-Christian religions to end.

If the Church were responsible and tolerant of other faiths, it ought to take into account the thoughts and feelings of the Sri Lankan people, instead of continuously ignoring them in order to satisfy the rather fanciful and intolerant dream of Christianizing not only Sri Lanka, but the entire world.

Christian fundamentalists have sown the seeds of religious discord in this country, and the fruit of their actions can only be disastrous. It is in the interests of the Sri Lankan nation to take immediate steps to neutralize the war waged by the Christian evangelists against non-Christian religions, and to reinstall and reinforce a climate of religious tolerance and understanding.

Moderate Christians must understand that the religious harmony that was prevalent in Sri Lanka has been breached solely by the irresponsible activities of the evangelists, who care naught for the welfare of Sri Lanka, and who would do anything in their power to "harvest souls" for their God.

By ignoring the principles of tolerance, love, compassion and understanding that are enunciated in the Bible, the evangelists are going against the teachings of Jesus Christ, and are trampling on accepted norms of decency. No good can come of it, and Sri Lanka should not have to undergo the trauma the Christian fundamentalists are thrusting upon her.

United together, Sri Lanka can shake off the unpleasant activities and attitudes of the Christian fundamentalists and move towards greater understanding and co-existence.

By doing so, the country can stave off a possible religious war, and maintain its proud tradition of religious harmony. But as long as the Christian evangelists continue with their ideological war against non-Christian religions, and as long as some mainstream Christians support and aid the intolerant activities of the evangelists, an end to religious rivalry and hostility will not be seen.

The vast majority of Sri Lankans comprising Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, moderate Christians, free thinkers and atheists will not be happy over such a situation. They want the religious fanaticism of the Christian evangelists to end as soon as possible - before it creates debilitating religious rifts among society.

Opposing religious fundamentalism will be of benefit to Sri Lanka both now and for the future. To ignore evangelism today will likely lead to more hostile religious conflicts later on.

This is something that Sri Lanka can ill afford after more than 20 years of national conflict. United together as Sri Lankans who appreciate religious harmony and co-existence, the intolerant worldview of the evangelists and their machinations can and should be defeated. The voice of the tolerant majority must be heard.


Persecution Industry @

Slokas on Mount @