·Akhlaq’s daughter and her cousin, in Bisara village Wednesday. Akhlaq was killed when a mob attacked his house following rumours that he and his family stored and ate beef. His son, severely injured in the attack, is in hospital. (Express Photo by: Prem Nath Pandey)
This week I would have written about the Foreign Minister’s excellent speech at the United Nations, but images from Dadri got in the way. Ever since the barbaric, senseless murder of Mohammed Akhlaq, I have been haunted by those images of a family with modern, middle-class aspirations destroyed by the savagery that lies so close to the surface of Indian modernity. Mohammed Akhlaq’s brutal murder gives the Prime Minister a chance to confront the reality that, if he fails to give India change, development and prosperity, it will be because of enemies inside his own house.
Akhlaq’s death was foretold from the moment Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministers started banning meat on the excuse of festivals during which it has never been banned before. They did this without concern for the jobs that would be lost and without noticing that Muslims would become an automatic target. Where better for this to be demonstrated than in a Hindu village with less Muslim families than you can count on the fingers of one hand? But Akhlaq’s cowardly murder raises other more serious questions.
When he was in Silicon Valley, the Prime Minister talked proudly about his plans to use digital technology to transform rural India. What use is this kind of talk when a murderous mob can gather in a village on the edge of Delhi without the police being able to do anything? The men who planned the murder of Akhlaq, and the attempted murder of his son Danish, used WhatsApp to spread lies about cow slaughter days in advance, but the police did not notice.
What use is digital technology if it cannot improve basic policing? What use are cellphones in villages if the temple priest who made the announcement that caused Akhlaq’s death could not use it to alert the nearest police station? Even if the Prime Minister succeeds in spreading the use of digital technology to improve policing and governance, what is he going to do about the primitive mindset of members of his own party?
What will he do with the ex-MLA who said that if the meat found in Akhlaq’s fridge was beef, then the violence was justified? What will he do withBJPspokesmen who justified the murder in other ways? Some said that farmers in the area were relying on their cattle to survive because of the drought and in the village of Bisara a calf had disappeared. Others, including the local MP, dismissed the murder as an ‘accident’ and the result of a ‘misunderstanding’.
It was a shameful display of primitive, provincial thinking, and Mr Modi would do well to notice that, along with the ‘ghar wapasi’ nonsense that went on through his entire first year in office, it serves to distract from the reasons why he became prime minister. The vote was for change and development and not Hindutva. Anyone who tells him otherwise is lying. And yet he has done nothing to stop the theft of his mandate by people who would not have been ministers or members of Parliament if his slogan of ‘parivartan’ and ‘vikas’ had not found such resonance.
Akhlaq’s murder reminds us of how superficial India’s modernity is. The men who killed him and tried to kill his son would have all had cellphones in their pockets and colour television sets in their homes. Some may even have had access to computers and the Internet, and still all it took was a rumour for them to turn into savages. It is only savages who can turn so quickly into a killer mob. And in recent months a very ugly atmosphere has been created across the country by BJP chief ministers and Modi’s own ministers, and he has done nothing to stop them. Nor has he made the smallest effort to call a halt to the misguided ‘ghar wapasi’ (homecoming) campaign launched by his former comrades in the RSS. If the RSS is truly interested in serving India, and if they are true believers in the Sanatan Dharma, then they must concentrate their activities on more useful things like cleaning the Ganga and helping the Swachh Bharat campaign. Ghar wapasi is the antithesis of the idea of the Sanatan Dharma.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister must realise that the investors he woos on his travels in foreign lands halt in their tracks every time they see signs that beneath its new highways and shining malls, India remains a primitive country. Akhlaq was stoned to death in a village less than 50 kilometres away from Delhi and his young son, if he lives, could live with serious head injuries. Do we require more proof that we are going to need more than digital technology to make India into a country that truly belongs in the 21st century, instead of in some hideous, primordial time warp?
As much as I appreciate Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyars's article: " A beef-eating Hindu demands his rights" published in Sunday Times of India, today, I feel his demand is based on a very narrow base of rights of Brahmins, rather than rights of Hindu or much wider legitimacy as rights of an Indian. Beef eating should be allowed as constitutional right to life and not on the basis that some Brahmins had been eating beef in the past and so the beef ban should be lifted. The beef ban should be lifted not on the basis was what the Brahmins in one group is countering the other group. This is not a fight between Brahmins and Brahmins. It is a fight between those in power imposing their narrow agenda on the rest of the people in this democratic nation.
As a beef-eating Hindu, I am utterly outraged at the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri by a Hindu mob claiming the man had beef in his house. Even worse is the attempt of BJP politicians to sanitize the lynching.
Culture minister Mahesh Sharma claims it was just “an accident.” Former MLA Nawab Singh Nagar says those who dare hurt the feelings of the dominant Thakurs should realize the consequences. He claims the murderous mob consisted of “innocent children” below 15 years of age. Many BJP leaders blame the Muslims for eating beef. Vichitra Tomar wants cow-killers to be arrested, not Muslim killers. Srichand Sharma says violence is inevitable if Muslims disrespect Hindu sentiments. Sorry, but these are all lame excuses for murder.
Mob fury at Dadri began when a temple priest said a calf had been killed. Later, the priest admitted he had been pressured to make this false statement by two Hindu youths. So, this was a planned, murderous riot.
The police have sent the meat found in Akhlaq’s house to determine whether it was beef or mutton. Why? How does it matter? The mob will be just as guilty of murder if it is beef. Muslims have every legal right to eat beef, just as I do. Several states have bans on cow slaughter, while allowing the slaughter of bulls and buffaloes. But there is no ban on eating beef.
Hindus who hear a cow has been slaughtered can ask the police to investigate a possible violation of cow slaughter laws. But if instead they organize lynch mobs, they are murderous thugs, and should be treated as such. If Modi refuses to condemn such incidents, he will, rightly, be seen as blessing them.
Bloodlust: Ancient literature talks of beef consumption by Hindu sages. The modern intolerance of Hindu goons is a cruel rejection of great Hindu traditions.
The claim that all Hindus oppose cow slaughter is false. Yes, there is a strong upper-caste tradition today against beef, but Dalits and tribals have always eaten beef. “Beef is one of the most affordable sources of protein for the Dalit community,” says Mohan Dharavath, president, Dalit Adivasi Bahujan and Minority Students’ Association.
Ancient Hindu scriptures establish beyond doubt that even upper-caste Hindus and great rishis ate beef in days of yore. For a quick primer, read Nirad Chaudhuri’s ‘The Continent of Circe’. He says, “Love of cows in the Vedas goes with every possible economic use of cattle, including, of course, their slaughter for food”. There was a long debate, says Chaudhuri, between opponents and defenders of cow slaughter. The two ideas co-existed, very much like the debate today about vegetarianism. The Mahabharata mentions, “without thinking it necessary to add any excuse, that a very hospitable king used to have 20,100 cattle slaughtered every day for his guests.” On the other hand, another story tells of a king who has slaughtered a cow to entertain a sage, an act that is criticized as sinful by another sage.
Such differences and debates were the very essence of ancient Hinduism. It was not a rigid religion. By the time the Dharma Shastras were penned, beef consumption had “ceased or virtually ceased”. Nevertheless, Bhavabuti’s famous play, Uttara-Rama-Charitra, written in the 8th century AD, has the following dialogue between two hermit boys at Ayodhya, Saudahataki and Dandayana.
D: It is no less a person than the revered Vasishta himself. S: Is it Vasishta, eh? D: Who else? S: I thought it was a tiger or a wolf. For, as soon as he came, he crunched up our poor tawny heifer. D: It is written that meat should be given along with curds and honey. So every host offers a heifer, a big bull, or a goat to a learned Brahmin who comes as a guest. This is laid down in sacred law.
In India today, such a play would be banned, and its author threatened with death. But ancient Hindu traditions gave Bhavabuti an honoured place in literature, with no censorship or fear of mob lynching. The modern intolerance of Hindu goons is a cruel rejection of great Hindu traditions.
In ancient times, neither untouchables nor tribals were regarded as Hindus. Early 19th century censuses did not count dalits and tribals as Hindus. But modern Hinduism claims as its own these two groups whom it cruelly reviled and oppressed through the ages. I am all for the change. But that change must allow for the fact that Dalits and tribals have always eaten beef.
As a libertarian believer in free choice, I have always championed the freedom to eat anything one likes. But I also claim the right to eat beef as part of the ancient Hindu tradition highlighted by Bhavabuti. As a Brahmin, I am happily following in the footsteps of the sage Vasiishta.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.
Next door to Delhi, mob kills 50-year-old [Muslim], injures son over 'rumours' they eat beef
(Headline from print edition with the word [Muslim] added to explain the reality and gravity)
In Dadri, mob kills man, injures son over
‘rumours’ they ate beef (website headline)
Man beaten to death in Dadri: The attack on Akhlaq and his family took place around 10 pm after an announcement about the family consuming beef was allegedly made at a local temple, police said.
Written by Aditi Vatsa | Dadri | Updated: September 30, 2015 11:59 am
Photograph of 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq, who was beaten to death in UP’s Dadri, allegedly by residents of Bisara village, after rumours spread in the area about the family storing and consuming beef (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)
Family of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn in Dadri after a mob allegedly killed him over ‘rumours’ of eating beefon Tuesday (Express Photo by: Gajendra Yadav)
A 50-year-old man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son severely injured on Monday night in UP’s Dadri, allegedly by residents of Bisara village, after rumours spread in the area about the family storing and consuming beef, police said.
Six people were arrested in connection with the attack, around 45 km from Delhi, sparking protests that led to police firing, damage to vehicles and injuries to a 20-year-old welder who works for the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) facility in the area.
While Akhlaq, a farm worker, succumbed to injuries suffered during the attack, his son Danish was admitted to a government hospital where doctors described his condition as “critical”.
Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate N P Singh said police have been deployed in the area and “as of now, the situation is under control”.
“Some locals spread rumours that Akhlaq had cow meat at his home and engaged in cow-slaughtering. Following the rumours, tension ignited and some locals attacked his home in Bisara village,” Singh said.
While a shopkeeper near the temple and Bisara village sarpanch Sanjeev Kumar Rana claimed that those arrested included the temple priest and an aide, police said the priest — identifed only as “babaji” — was released after questioning.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Gautam Buddh Nagar, Kiran S, said “preliminary investigations revealed that an announcement was made from the temple” about the family consuming beef.
“The priest was picked for questioning as we need to investigate the involvement of others in the case,” said Kiran.
According to Sajida, Akhlaq’s 18-year-old daughter who was in the house when the attack took place, “a group of more than 100 people from the village” reached the house that night.
“They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother. My father was dragged outside the house and beaten with bricks. We came to know later that an announcement had been made from the temple about us eating beef,” said Sajida.
According to the SSP, a case of rioting and murder has been registered against 10 people. “Six of them have been arrested — Rupendra, Vivek, Sri Om, Sandeep, Saurav and Gaurav — all residents of Bisara village,” the police officer said.
“We have been told that a group of people entered the temple and used a microphone to make the announcement. However, investigations are still underway. We do not know if any of the accused are associated with the temple. We have collected meat samples from Akhlaq’s house and sent it to the forensics department for examination,” said Kiran.
However, as news of the arrests spread, residents from Bisara and neighbouring villages held demonstrations and clashed with police near the NTPC facility, damaging vehicles, including a police van, and burning a motorcycle.
When police resorting to firing, Rahul Yadav, who works as a welder at NTPC, received a bullet injury near his abdomen.
Yadav’s brother Narendra said they “got caught in the clash” and alleged that his brother was injured by a bullet fired by a policeman.
“Around 500 protesters from nearby villages had assembled there. A policeman fired a shot in the air but it hit Rahul on the side of his abdomen,” he said.
Senior officers, however, contested Narendra’s version that his brother was hit by a police bullet.
“Rahul Yadav received a bullet injury on his lower hip. We are yet to ascertain the type of the bullet and the weapon from which it was fired,” SSP Kiran said.
‘WE HAD REQUESTED HIM, WARNED HIM ... BUT HE DIDN’T STOP’
Mumbai Mirror | Sep 21, 2015, 08.53 AM IST
By Alka Dhupkar
In Ponda, 29 km southeast of Goa's capital Panaji, the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha says it is busy defending the `Hindu nation' from attack by `Samyavadi' (leftists) like Govind Pansare and anti-Hindus like Dr Narendra Dabholkar. Sameer Gaikwad, arrested in connection with Pansare's murder in Kolhapur, is a little-known, but innocent, `sadhak' here.
At the Sanstha's sprawling 20,000-sq ft headquarters, Mirror met managing trustee Virendra Marathe and was introduced to a secretive world of sadhana (prayer-meditation); a spiritual head who hasn't met outsiders for years; arms train ing camps for Hindus and how the battle to protect Hinduism is being waged.
Inside, on display are photographs that `come alive'; a twokilo mirror that `moves on its own'; and `divine artistry' on a bucket used by its spiritual head, Jayant Athavale.
Pansare, says Marathe, was bitterly anti-Brahmin and opposed vehemently by the Sanstha. Kalburgi, he adds, was an unknown but obvious antiHindu while Dabholkar was an atheist.
While the BJP coming to power is welcome, Marathe says its attempts at political adjustments in tandem with the RSS like leaving `Om' out of yoga are unwarranted and smack of Mahatma Gandhi's attempts to `politically pamper Muslims'.
‘POLITICIANS SHOULD START SADHANA’
By Alka Dhupkar
As the spotlight turns to the SanatanSanstha after the arrest of its `sadhak', Sameer Gaikwad, in connec tion with the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, the Goa-based Hindu outfit's managing trustee, Virendra Marathe, says his organisation believes itself to be the custodian of `real' Hinduism.
What is expected of a sadhak?
Sanatan Sanstha is public charitable trust. We are adhyatmik (spiritual) and we only do spiritual work by `sadhana' (prayer medita tion). A sadhak practices different types of sadhana and dharmacharan (how a Hindu should behave and which practices should be followed). Our aim in life is to be happy, and happiness is god.
Do you believe Sameer Gaikwad was happy?
Instead of asking us about Sameer, look at it this way: in school, all students are taught the same lessons. Some go on to become scientists, some goons. So, will you hold the teacher or the school responsible for the lat ter? It answers your question.
Do you disown Sameer Gaikwad?
Sanatan Sanstha is not behind Dabholkar and Pansare's murders. Sameer is innocent, and we know it. Certain forces want to implicate us in wrongdoings, and we're fighting them. No investigation agency has ever proved that the Sanstha has indulged in criminal activity, and Sameer has no criminal record either. Let the law take it course. We will wait for the judiciary to hold him guilty, and then verify the police evi dence against him.
Why is the Sanstha insisting he is innocent?
The police have only call records, and are checking if Sameer was directly involved. It is at a very primary level. The media is por traying that Sameer killed Pansare at the Sanstha's behest.
How didSameer's family members become sadhaks? Have you met him?
I have never met Sameer Gaikwad or his family. I have no idea about his friends cir cle. Our legal team, the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, is looking into it.
Why is the Sanstha being suspected in these murders of rationalists?
Our duty is to protect the rashtra (country) and religion, for which we are doing Sadhna.
This can be done only if society is intact and safe. We meditate for hours. If the rashtra is been attacked by terrorists then we can't sit doing sadhana for hours. That's why we have to do dharm rakshan (protecting our religion). We are strongly against our reli gion being disrespected in cinema, drama and art.
A part of our work is to keep a watch on what people like Dabholkar and Pansare say about the Hindu religion and how they are misleading common people. We would counter their claims and tell people that Dabholkar was an atheist, as he doesn't fol low the real Hindu religion. He was not a true follower, so what gave him the right to criticise Hinduism? We will now oppose Dabholkar's follow ers. We have got their play, Socrates to Dabholkar via Tukaram, banned in Kolhapur.
The play says Sant Tukaram was killed, while we believe he flew to heaven in the aircraft sent to him by god. About Pansare, yes, we had strong differences with him as well. He used to spread hatred against Brahmins through his speeches. We had requested him, warned him, protested against him but he didn't stop.
We, as Hindus, wanted to eliminate the caste system but Pansare wanted to propagate it. Pansare has a strong connection with the Sambhaji Brigade, which speaks ill of Brahmins. Why we should tolerate it? We will continue protesting with our sadhana.
We didn't know Kalburgi till he was killed, but a statement attributed to him is "Urinate on Shiva's ling". What should we say about their intellectual level? Shouldn't we condemn it?
How can the Sanatan Sanstha decide what constitutes `real' Hinduism? Anyone criticising Hinduism becomes your target.
We know Hinduism because we have done scientific sadhana. Only a doctor can prac tice medicine, right? Will it be acceptable if an engineer practices medicine? In the same way, these people who have not done sad hana and don't follow Hinduism correctly have no right to criticise our religion in the name of Karmkanda rituals or superstitions.It would be better for them to stop doing so.
Do you have such differences with anyone else?
We don't target anyone personally, but some followers of Dr Dabholkar leading the Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti are insult ing our gods. All Samyawadi (Leftists) should also be banned in India. They have no idea about Indian culture and religion. There are these so-called `purogami' (progressive) intellectuals who are getting unnecessary importance. They actually speak rubbish. I don't need to take their names. We oppose them. These so-called progressive people oppose Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's Hindutva ideology. They selectively talk about Savarkar's thought when it comes to the beef ban. They should first accept Savarkar's Hindutva ideology.
Why did the Sanstha target Mahesh Bhatt, Asgar Ali Engineer, Markandey Katju and others during an All India Hindu Adhiveshan (convention?
We have been organising this convention for four years to brainstorm with like-mind ed organisations on how we can protect our Hindu rashtra. This year, the adhiveshan was held in June and attended by 200 organ isations including Abhinav Bharat, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Rashtra Samiti and the Hindu Kutch Samiti. Our sister organisation is the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. We discuss threats to Hinduism, and the names you mentioned are insulting the religion. We won't tolerate it. It is a kind of intellectual terrorism by these `progressive' people.
When you say the Sanstha will not tolerate it, do you intend violence?
Not at all. Hinduism is based on non-vio lence. We use all democratic forms of pro test. We request the police to ban such speeches or programmes. Unfortunately, after our applications, people like Dabholkar and Pansare were given police protection.
Such programmes are conducted under police protection when they should be banned. We also go to court and create awareness through public meetings, doorto-door campaigns, our media content and study material.
Your study material has pictures of Shivaji, Savarkar, Tilak but not Mahatma Gandhi's.
We have declared Gandhi as a saint. But he has done many wrong things and we have our differences with him. He supported Muslims during Partition, advised Hindus to not attack Muslims. This is why many Hindus were killed during Partition. The Partition wouldn't have happened without Gandhi's approval. He pampered Muslims politically, more than the Hindus.
But Gandhi advocated non-violence, and so does the Sanstha.
No. Non-violence and self-protection are different. When Muslims attack Hindus, they should protect themselves by attacking their attackers. We believe in military and arms training. It is not violence. We believe every Hindu should get military training for self-protection.
Are sadhaks trained in use of arms?
Yes. We hold military training sessions for our sadhaks in Valpai forest. Around 15 sad haks have been trained in using firearms, walking a rope, surviving an enemy attack, hide in the forest.
Who were these sadhaks who received military training at Sanstha camps?
We don't have their names. We ran those camps for only two years. We hired arms and ammunition from locals who held arms licenses. The Sanatan Sanstha does not have any arms license, arms or ammunition. We don't require one.
Do you expect support from the BJP government at the Centre and the state?
Yes. Both BJP and RSS are based on Hindutva ideology. We have hopes from them. A clean Ganga is top priority, as is resolution of the Kashmir issue. We expect a lot in education as well. Muslims get religious education in madarsas, Christians in churches. In Hinduism, verbal education is not sufficient due to the sheer numbers. The Sanstha teaches scientific religious education. The government should make it available to all. Our guru Athavale and new saints have made formats to measure spirituality, using which one can do sadhana and follow Hindu practices.
We have written to the Centre demanding that Hindu religious education be part of the school syllabus - how to offer floral tributes to god, what food items should be offered and when, for example.
Do you think BJP will do it?
The government has supported Yoga but have removed `Om' from Yoga. Why is the government afraid of Muslims? Why is the government overly concerned and sensitive to Muslims? Let them follow the rules. Why be so careful as to insult Hindus? Without `Om', Yoga has no meaning. We don't like BJP and RSS's political adjustments, be it in Kashmir or the beef ban.
We have published reports and books on how two cows can earn their owner Rs 11,000 per month. Also, there is a huge demand for Gomutra (cow's urine). The government should extend tax subsidies and other facilities to promote industry based on Gomutra collection. It has huge potential to become economically viable.
Platforms made from cow dung are in huge demand, even abroad.
What should the government do for followers of other religions?
Calling Islam and Christianity `religions' is totally wrong. They are just panths (branches). Only Hinduism has existed since the beginning of this world. Islam and Christianity
The meditation room at the Sanstha headquarters were founded by humans. We want that In dia be known as a `Hindu' nation in our Con stitution, and this change should be brought by religion-based politics.
Will the Sanstha enter politics?
Yes, but saints in the Vairagya (internal state of mind) phase are not interested in politics but those at a spiritual level of 60 per cent can enter politics. They can be from any party, even the Congress. My point is, all politicians should start Hindu Sadhana.
What if the Sanstha is banned?
There is no possibility that the Sanstha will be banned. If it is, we can continue our work without name or letterhead. What is the difference? We already have our network of over one lakh sadhaks in Maharashtra, and are connecting online to sadhaks in Serbia, Australia and other nations. We have strong door-to-door pracharaks. We will continue to do our work of protecting the Hindu rashtra.