India: Violence and Progress - The land of paradoxes

Category: Asia, Life & Society Topics: Violence Views: 7750

In June this year, a Brahmin priest trying to return to India from Chicago, was taken into custody for committing visa fraud. It is alleged that he charged $30,000 to assist at least 33Indians enter the US on an illegal basis, as religious workers. It was news that did not make any headlines anywhere, even though stories circulating in Indian circles claim that visa fraudin temples is quite common. Fraud, bribery, corruption, money laundering and gambling seem to be a common occurrence in the country that may very well become one of the leading economies in the year 2011. With GDP growing at a rate of almost 9 per cent a year, a work force 467 million strong and a stable democracy, India is hailed as a beacon of hope for emerging economies all over the world.

Yet, the the country that exports 12.3 per cent of its products to the USA, hides behind its robust economy, a dark reality that not many like to talk about, not even those who stand for human rights and dignity. With 37 percent of India's population living below the poverty line earning less than one dollar a day, and the other 38 per cent earning slightly over $2 a day, the country is also the murder capital of the world. In 2008 Indians killed 32,719 fellow citizens, more than any other place on the planet. On an average 1.75 million crimes are committed in India every year with some 80 percent remaining unsolved.

Despite the fact that India is considered an IT capital , more than a million girls are killed before or after birth as they are considered a divine curse on the family. Some 47 percent of Indian girls are married before their legal age, and the world is baffled at this mass pedophiling in the name of tradition. The National Human Rights commission reported that, two out of three married women suffer regular domestic violence with no recourse to justice. Dowry deaths are common with as many as five married women burned or killed each day, some 60 cases of rape take place daily and some 45 per cent women are slapped, kicked and sexually molested in public places or in families annually. Even Brahmin (upper caste of India) dominated religious institutions are not free from degrading women. The Devdasi system(female religious servants) is legally banned in India. Yet Andhra Pradesh and Karnatak, two of India's southern states practice it forcing some 45 percent of girls to work as prostitutes with reportedly free services to religious leadership. Honor killings are on the rise even in large metropolitan cities such as Delhi, where a young adult girl was proudly beaten to death by her relatives because she had a romantic relationship with a boy outside her caste.

In the country that hails constitutional equality as its hallmark, some 160 million people are considered untouchables, no matter what title is given to them. In scriptures they were called untouchables. In the 19th century when many of them started changing their castes by accepting Buddhism, Christianity or Islam, they were called children of god and now Dalit. For almost 5,000 years, they have lived a life of institutional inequality being treated worse than animals. A cow draws much more respect in the streets of India than a Dalit, who is forced to live at the periphery of civilization. Regardless of the labels, they remain at the lowest rung of Indian society with an average of two Dalits assaulted daily, three of their women raped every day, 14 of them murdered weekly and 60 of their houses torched monthly.

Exploitation of the trebles (?) that constitute seven percent of the Indian population is even worse. No amount of constitutional guaranteed has restored their dignity to them. Some 52 per cent of Indians are considered as belonging to backward castes with little resources to live a decent life.

Despite the fact that India is changing dramatically, corruption is rampant in all walks of life. It is said that corruption is a billion dollar strong industry in India with everyone from the top to the bottom trying to make money for legitimate work. The worst environmental disaster in India that took place in Bhopal in which thousands of people were killed and millions still suffer the consequences , the owner

was absolved of his murderous act because the politicians and bureaucracy reportedly greased their palms with millions of dollars. Had this incident taken place in any European country, the world would have come upside down. Yet, not many world leaders talked about it.

Religious violence that once witnessed the destruction of a masjid in the early 1990s is a scar that India can never erase. It is now being revealed that one of the prime ministers of India and several cabinet level ministers were involved in the mass frenzy against the masjid. Despite the fact that Gandhi, India's best known world leader sacrificed his life for non-violence, violence is rampant in every walk of life. Some 80,000 Kashmiris have been killed in the Indian side of Kashmir since 1981. Despite the talk of tolerance, the intolerance towards Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Animists, and people of so called lower caste is evident. There is not a religious minority that does not have a story of discrimination and injustice to tell. Several Christian workers were burned alive by Brahmin led groups who forced several state governments to pass legislation against religious freedom. The rate of return for world's leading bankers are so high that it makes no difference to them if the cost is human life or human misery. Capitalism in its brutal force is shaping the future India.

India, the land of growth is also the land of regression. Illiteracy, injustice, inequality, crimes, murder, caste and religious violence and corruption are so rampant that no one can escape it.

Why is there so much paradox? Why is it that in Bombay, the financial capital of India, the world's largest slum exists in front of a religious leadership that sings praises of gods 24 hours. The corruption of religious leadership is so widespread that rituals, even those involving death, the Brahmin religious hierarchy charges hundreds of thousands of rupees. Many places of worship are oozing money and gold, while outside the temples thousands sit hungry. They are not even allowed to come inside as they belong to a lower caste.

Why is it that a Dalit boy's eyes were plucked because he drew water from a well reserved for higher caste Brahmins? Why is that the secular democratic India has failed to take care of its poor, neglected, marginalized people?

Thousands of explanations are offered to either cover up or justify the situation, yet the political and social elite of India fail to acknowledge the reality by projecting an image of the country that is far from factual. The world's leading human rights organizations are silent on the institutional degradation of dalits. The State Department turns its eyes the other way. There are two Indias. One that is for the elite, upper caste, English educated individuals. This India is insensitive to the plight of people. It bathes in corruption and cruelty and is totally indifferent to the other India. This India draws its supporters from all religions and linguistic groups. It uses the religious ritualism to purify itself from the crimes against humanity. It prefers to give part of its resources to its religious leaders than to the people who are suffering. But there is the other India that is for the poor, uneducated, lower castes, minorities and marginalized. This India has the dispersed majority and it has been exploited for centuries by the upper caste rulers.

Brahmanism, not Hindusim, is the dominant ideology that has kept the great divide and injustices alive in the name of gods and goddesses. People born with their pre-determined status; low and high, promote the Brahmin elite of India. Despite the fact that they are only three percent of India's population they have ingrained this idea of this institutional inequality in the mind of the people to such an extent that even Christianity and Islam could not escape the scourge of casteism. God is responsible for inequality and we are only the true servants of god, argue the scriptures. Based on this ideology, millions are consigned to the life of ignominy. They are forced to do menial jobs reserved for their generations.

In big cities like Delhi, the site of dalit women, children, men and older people carrying human waste in a basket placed on their head is common. Brahminical teachings codified in Manu Samrti clearly define rules for lower caste and untouchables demanding subjugation to higher castes. The rules are as specific as suggesting that certain parts of the body must be chopped off if a lower caste individual uses a space reserved for upper caste. Even in 2010 the untenability is prevalent to the extent that if the shadow of an untouchable is cast on the food of an upper caste, it is destroyed. Even though the urbanization has caused some changes in the attitude of the people, the situation in the rural areas and private homes in urban areas is practiced widely.

The Brahmin elite in alliance with India's merchant class have provided the resources to perpetuate inequalities under the name of gods. "It is the mind of a Brahmin politician and the money of a Baniya (the merchant caste) that is responsible of much of India's inequalities and violence," once expressed one of the prominent Indian dalit leaders.

Violence in religious scriptures against dalits, and people outside the caste people is abundantly reinforced by priests and so called holy men on a daily basis in the length and breadth of India. This explains the violence and injustices prevalent in all sectors of Indian society. How can one expect to respect the other when one is reminded daily that the other does not have an existence and the purpose of other's life is only to serve Brahmins as the world is created for him and him alone? Gujarat 2003 is a great example where more than 2,000 Muslims were killed under the very eyes of a political leader who reportedly remain indifferent to the life and property of its citizens.

The Brahmin ideology is preserved in politics and society through outfits that are created to defend the religion of Brahmins. The Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) whose leaders once advocated a Nazi like solution for India's minorities, who advocated caste hierarchy and whose volunteers were reportedly responsible for the assassination of Gandhi has penetrated all sectors of Indian civil society. With militancy as part of its philosophy and with support from its outfits in the USA, Europe and the Gulf, the organization has amassed enormous power in India. It is reported that the RSS supporters in the USA donated huge sums of money to the destruction of the Babri Masjid. The RSS sympathizers are present in almost all major political parties including the Communist parties. RSS has great designs to rule over India through its political outfit known as Bhartiya Janta Party, many of whose leaders presided the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Nevertheless, the majority of Indian voters, have rejected this racist organization. Its ideology is based on racial and religious superiority and this is perhaps the most dangerous organization that exists in our world today. It is anti-Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Sikh. Its supporters have rewritten a version of history that promotes the notion of Brahmin superiority. The organization speaks for India, yet is controlled by a specific Brahmin caste that is considered highest among the Brahmins. It openly trains its members in militancy and its members have been reportedly involved in the killing of minorities and dalits. A careful review of its literature would reveal that everyone that does not fit into its ideological fold deserves to be eliminated but in a way that is not visible and known.

For the majority of the years since independence in 1947, India has been ruled by the Nehru dynasty and the future perhaps also belongs to the emerging young great-grandson of Nehru, India's first prime minister. Nehru's Congress party has often played the divide and rule game betraying the secular principles and often supporting the RSS ideology in secrecy.

Many Indians who understand the RSS militancy and the danger posed by its philosophy believe that the emergence of the Rahul Gandhi, son of India's former assassinated prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, brings out the fresh air of hope. India's poor and marginalized people hope that Rahul will not promote the caste politics and will refrain from the divide and rule game that his party has successfully played. There are millions of Indians, educated and fair minded, who are tired of the RSS and chauvinistic politics that the Brahmin leaders of India have often promoted. They want an India that respects human dignity, that respects its neighbor's right to live in peace, that does not interfere in the politics of other countries, that allows its minorities to live in peace and above all that allows its poor and marginalized to have the opportunities to come out of the circle of poverty and injustice they have been living for centuries. They are looking for a leadership that does not discriminate people in the name of caste and religion and that promotes harmony among different sections of society and that fights crimes and violence against women and minorities.

The seeds of that leadership exist in India, but who will cultivate and water those seeds is something that only time will tell.


Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor in chief of the weekly Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.

  Category: Asia, Life & Society
  Topics: Violence
Views: 7750

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Older Comments:
To Romesh chander,
Muslims will love to move out of the country without a second thought if they afford to do so. Thanks to the british colonization and the india's corrupt politicians.

To Kuldeep Sharma,
Hinduism may be 3 or 4 or 5 thousand year old but Islam was born with the mankind. The first prophet of Islam is the first man that god created. The three major religions of the world believe in Adam as father of mankind. The followers of hinduism is only a fraction of the whole population. We must believe in what the majority believes in. The first place of worship was Kaba. A part of the population always try to corrupt relegions. all these customs and traditons, culture are all man made. The basic teachings of all relegions is Islam. Do you know why Islam is not called as Mohammadism. because islam was not born after Mohammed. He finalized the religion for the mankind. In Quran, god addresses the people 'O mankind' He does not say 'O muslims'. So some very nasty people have corrupted the relegion in India very badly, with naked statues in the temples, devadasis to serve the men and etc. All these are manmade. Muslims tried to teach the hindus the right way of life and to remove all the impurities of the temple.

Dear Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Fisrt u have not well and good knowledge about hindu dharma. Dear
Sir this is a nice and humble request when next time u write
anything about hindu dharma, please first u read our holy book SHRI
SHRIMAD BHAGWAT GEETA. Than u are free to write about hindu dharma.
In one site u write something about dalit. U better know me that we
tell him balmiki samudaya, this is my moral duty to infom u that we
brahmin people are always read MAHARISHI BALMIKI written book SHRI
RAMAYANA on our every new events of life. I am not against ur
thoughts about India, Some are true but not all.One thing about
India that is in his history Indians never attacked on any country
and never tried to destroy the coustoms of any dharma. U raised the
topic of Babri Masjid. But are u know the history of Babri
Masjid.Why r u not read about Mathura Masjid and Masjid of Varanasi
in Kasiviswanath Temple. U know that Kashi in the most oldest city
in this world about 3000 years. I thinks that time in this world
there was not a single masjid present. So how it is possible in
India at there is the population was 100% hindu. Can u explain these
things. If u explain than u can again raise any Mahdir and Masjid
issue. Muslim were the initiators of this type of things not hindu.
with warm regards and with happy new year


Were Roman, British, French and Soviet empires free of violence and paradoxes? No their record is not any better than that of today's India. Yet they dominated the world, enjoyed power and changed the course of history. Even today they have strong influence over humanity and their view is the world view. What counts is military, economic, technological and educational achievements. This is what brings power and influence. Indian intellectual who are maping course for India draw very heavily on European thought and are not ignorant. They know power does not come from man's humanity to fellow man.

To solve a problem, one must recognize the problem first; and India has even collected vast statistics for that. Ah, but no muslim country dare recognize any such problem and collect statistics lest they become aware of their own UnIslamic character of their society. Will India solve its problems, I am not too hopeful; after all, Indian politicians are human beings, not saints.

India is on Planet Earth, not in God's Kingdom; and India is not even trying to go to mythical Ram Raj of 5000 years ago; though muslims are trying to go back to 7th century perfect world of Islam; but they are not succeeding in their endeaqvours.

In recognizing problems, At least Indians are honest, a character lot to be desired in muslim societies. If muslims do decide to study their societies, they may be shocked to learn that they are no different than India (and other worldly societies); now that will bring them back to Earth. Unfortunately, muslims cannot take any more shocks, after losing their Mughal / Ottoman empires and then being colonized by British / French / Dutch / Italians, etc. And finally the ultimate shock by Zionists.

Nothing unusual in the article; I have seen plenty of these statistics even in Christian publications; and probably exactly from where Dr Abdullah copied them.

If India is so bad, then why are 180 million Indian muslims not leaving for ISLAMIC Republics of Pakistan and Bangladesh, where they were supposed to move to in 1947 in the first place? Even now, India will be very happy to provide FREE train ride to Pakistani and Bangladeshi border point to any muslim wishing to leave India forever. Anybody ready to accept the offer? Gives you chance to leave the a*hole of the world (India).

Thank you for such an interesting article. As a Muslim living in India, I can very well appreciate of what you wrote down. As long as these crimes support global capitalists, India's such dark and inhuman part will be shielded by wstern media and organizations. Only adjectives describing India will be Great democracy, Beacon of hope, religious tolerance etc. However, truth can not be wiped out. It is there for people who try to see that.