On the Election Results in India

It should a matter of great rejoicing for people whose hearts are with India – whether they are currently Indian citizens or once were – that elections with the largest population were held there in an orderly manner, leading to a decisive winner for its next premiership. Irrespective of whether one voted for Mr. Nerendra Modi or not, and irrespective of one’s fondness or aversion for him, everyone who has any love for India and respect for the democratic process, should congratulate the people of India and wish its new leader every success in the discharge of his duty as head of that great nation: to move the country forward economically, socially, and culturally as a single united nation in which people of all faiths and political persuasions will continue to live as loyal and proud citizens.
It is a matter of global significance that the transfer of political power occurred in a democratic manner in a country of India’s size and stature.

It is therefore somewhat disappointing that media in the great democracy of the U. S. did not give the news its due prominence. Instead, many reports showed an obvious bias in referring to Mr. Modi pejoratively as a nationalist. A leader who articulates his respect for the cultural heritage to his own country does not a nationalist become; any more than that  a leader who talks about the exceptionalism of his country can be described as such.
In any event, that Mr. Modi’s victorious party received more the required majority to govern the country should add to the joy of those who support Mr. Modi as also of those who wish to see progress and development under the new dynamic leadership without too many hurdles in parliament that thwart effective action.
Forces inimical to Mr. Modi did their best to slur his name at home and abroad, especially in the U.S., where they managed to exert enough pressure to deny him an entry visa, succeeded in rescinding an invitation to speak at a prestigious university, and concocted a Congressional Committee to probe intrusively into his integrity. In spite of such efforts, the people of India have voted for Mr. Modi with an overwhelming majority. This is the only allowed road to political stewardship in civilized countries today. So it would be appropriate for his former enemies to recognize him as the legitimate leader of a free country.
I have little doubt that Mr. Modi will be a fair, able, and dynamic prime minister, and I join the millions in wishing India a very bright future under his leadership.

May 18, 2014

A Practicing Hindu (A very personal view)

A Practicing Hindu is a person with at least one Hindu parent, or, being born in another religion, has accepted Hinduism. Furthermore it is a person who:
1. Is familiar with the names of: (a) Rama; (b) Krishna; (c) Brahma; (d) Shiva; (c) Vishnu; (d) Sarasvati; (e) Uma; (f) Lakshmi; (g) Ganesha.
2. Enjoys and/or participates in one or more of the following Hindu festivals:
(a) Divali; (b) Shiv Ratri; (c) Janmashtami; (d) Ganesh Chaturti; (e) …
3. Can recite at least one Sanskrit or Tamil Shloka.
4. Knows about the caste system and recognizes his/her ancestral caste with which he/she may or may not identify.
5. Can name at least one language spoken in India.
6. Has heard of (a) The Ramayana; (b) The Mahabharata; and (c) the Bhagavad Gita, and knows its context.
7. Understands that there are many religions in the world which should all, in principle, be respected.
8. Accepts the idea that one can attain spiritual experience (or whatever kind) by following any path that seems to be fulfilling. (Tenet of polyodosism or bahumarga).
9. Has visited at least one Hindu Temple in his life.
10. Knows the meaning of prasad, and has had it at least once.
A practicing Hindu can openly criticize any aspect of the traditional religion, or even renounce his affiliation to Hinduism any time without fear of being maimed, mutilated, or murdered by any religious authority of the tradition.

May 20, 2014