Monday, December 28, 2015

Cow Dung Sales Boost E-Commerce in India

Cow patties -- cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, made mainly by Indian women in rural area -- are among the hottest selling items by online retailers including Amazon and eBay in India, according to media reports. Some retailers are offering discounts for large orders and offering free gift wrapping.


Cow dung has a special spiritual significance in Hindu religion. The cows in India do not eat non-vegetarian items and only eat grass or grains which makes cow dung holy and acceptable. In a lot of pujas (worship rituals), both dried and fresh cow dung is used.  From Govardhan Puja to havans, cow dung is used during pujas.

In many spiritual "yagnas", the fire is lit using dried cow dung and desi ghee (clarified butter). It is believed that burning cow dung with ghee is one of the best ways to purify the home, according to BoldSky.com.

In addition, cow dung is the most widely used fuel in India for heating and cooking in rural areas. However, the online orders are coming mostly from cities where it would be difficult to buy dung cakes. The cakes are sold in packages that contain two to eight pieces weighing 200 grams (7 ounces) each. Prices range from 100 to 400 rupees ($1.50 to $6) per package.

Hindus do not eat beef but cow urine  and cow dung are considered sacred.  Urine is believed to be beneficial by Hindus as both a beverage and used for purification of buildings. American newspaper USA Today published a story earlier this year about a urine bottling plant in Haridwar, India. A recent Times of India report said cow urine was used by a group of Hindu activists for cleaning some government buildings.

Online sales of cow dung offer a uniquely Indian blend of ancient Hindu culture and modern information technology being embraced in the country.  Rise of Hindu Nationalists to power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given renewed impetus to total Hinduization of India.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Coffe, Tea or Pee?

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

25 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

High joblessness in #Modi's #India forces 75,000 high-school & college grads to beg on the streets http://toi.in/ABTHqa via @timesofindia

"I may be poor but I am an honest man. I beg as it fetches me more money, Rs 200 a day. My last job of a ward boy in a hospital got me only Rs 100 a day," said Dinesh Khodhabhai (45), a class 12 pass who can speak half-way decent English.
Dinesh is part of a motley group of 30 beggars who seek alms around Bhadra Kali temple in Ahmedabad. Before their work begins, they sip hot tea offered gratis by a city philanthropist.
Sudhir Babulal (51) is a third-year BCom fail beggar who earns Rs 150 per day. Sudhir had come to Ahmedabad from Vijapur town with dreams of a good life but masonry jobs were erratic, fetching him Rs 3,000 for a 10-hour shift and nothing for weeks on end. "After my wife left me, where was the need to keep a house? I sleep on the riverfront and beg," said Sudhir.
Dashrath Parmar (52), who has an MCom degree from Gujarat University, is another pan-handler. This father of three, who aspired for government service but lost even the private job he had, today lives off free meals offered by charity organizations. His mother is hospitalized.
Ashok Jaisur, who cleared high school from Mumbai, begs in Lal Darwaza area. He left his job as a security guard after he lost sight due to cataract and now begs.

"I have only one wish: to make my son Raj an animator," says Ashok who feeds his nine girls and wife from income earned off the streets.
"It's difficult to rehabilitate beggars as they get lured back due to easy money," says Biren Joshi of Manav Sadhana, an NGO working with beggars.
"People with degrees turning to begging reflects the grim employment scenario. People turn to soliciting alms when they do not get decent jobs and have no social support to fall back on," says sociologist Gaurang Jani.

Riaz Haq said...

Children are rolled in COW DUNG in #Indian village. #India #Hindu http://dailym.ai/1XBcu1r via @MailOnline

It's never dung me any harm... Parents roll children and babies in COW MANURE in Indian village where locals believe it protects them from disease
Parents have been rolling their children in cow dung in an Indian village
They believe the manure brings children good luck and a healthy life
The practice takes place after India's biggest Hindu festival, Diwali
Cows are sacred in Hindu faith and they they believe the dung has medicinal properties

Its a tradition that Indians believe will bring their children good luck and protect them from disease.
And scores of parents have been lining up in the tiny village of Betul in Madhya Pradesh to roll their youngsters in cow pat.
People in the small village believe that smearing the dung on their young sons and daughters help to give them a healthy life free from ailments.

Groups of villagers gather around the heap and wait for their turn to place their children in the excrement.
The practice continues from dusk until dawn until each child in the village has had their turn.
The bizarre ritual has been followed for centuries and locals says their children have benefited because of the dipping.

The cow is considered one of the most sacred animals in Hinduism and they are worshipped as revered creatures.
Many Hindu preachers believe that cow urine and dung have medicinal properties.
Meanwhile cow slaughter and the consumption of beef is banned in certain parts of India.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3344099/It-s-never-dung-harm-Parents-roll-children-babies-COW-MANURE-Indian-village-locals-believe-protects-disease.html#ixzz3vpATd3Un
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Hindu sage conducted #nuke test ages ago: #BJP MP via @htTweets http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/indian-sage-conducted-nuke-test-ages-ago-bjp-mp/story-ohO3cP8vuzn8uVjep7gEBL.html …
"Today we are talking about nuclear tests. Lakhs of years ago, Sage Kanad had conducted a nuclear test. Our knowledge and science do not lack anything," the Indian Express quoted him as saying in Parliament on Wednesday.
Sage Kanad is believed to have lived around the 2nd century BC.
Nishank, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Haridwar, also seconded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's citing of plastic surgery and genetic science with reference to Lord Ganesha getting an elephant trunk and birth of Karna.
"People are raising questions on Modiji's comments on Ganesha's surgery. It was actually a surgery. The science available to us is not available elsewhere in the world… science or knowledge to transplant a severed head existed only in India."
Nishank also batted for astrology, saying it is the topmost science in the world. He said our ancient astrologers dwarfed all other sciences.
The Haridwar MP's comments triggered a protest from Left members even as he said there should be a "proper discussion on it and it should get the respect it deserves".
Nishank's comments are in line with a series of assertions doing the rounds of late; the most notable being from retired school headmaster Dinanath Batra who got American academic Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism pulped on the grounds that it insulted Hindus.
Batra has written books as well. Earlier this year, the Gujarat government mandated some of them as supplementary reading for its primary and secondary students.
From preaching about ancient India's gurukul style of learning, redrawing the Indian map to include other countries to interpreting history through stories about rishi-munis (sages and seers), dev-daanav (deities and demons) and "heroes" of pre-Independence India, these books try to conform to "Bharatiya sanskriti" (Indian culture).

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #India's Newest #Internet Sensation: #Cow Dung Patties http://po.st/PrEL7f via @SmithsonianMag

eeling nostalgic? There's no better way to take yourself back than with your nose: Research shows that aromas can bring back powerful memories. And for some in India, nothing brings back childhood quite like the distinct smell of cow poop. As the Associated Press reports, patties made of dried cow dung and hay has become an internet sensation for nostalgic shoppers, who use the fragrant cakes for fuel and in ritual fires.

The Associated Press writes that cow dung cakes are selling out on websites like Amazon. The cakes appear to be selling mainly to urban areas that do not have a ready supply of cow dung, with demand spiking around traditional festivals such as Diwali in November or the upcoming Lohri in January.

India has a massive bovine population—nearly 300 million as of 2012. All those cows produce a lot of poop, which is then used as both fertilizer and fuel. Chris Copp writes for Full Stop India that dung is "a commodity so intertwined with daily survival that it is nearly impossible to think of life without it." India is thought to use as much as 400 million tons of cow dung for cooking fuel alone each year, with approximately 30 percent of rural fuel production dependent on animal waste.

But rapid urbanization in India means that more and more people are moving from rural areas to cities that don't rely on cow dung for fuel. That's leading to new demand for cow dung in urban areas—and thanks to sites like Amazon and eBay, cow patties are just a click away. The cakes are selling out around Hindu festivals, when people burn the cakes for ritual fires and to stay warm. And yes, smell is a factor: A spokesperson for Amazon India tells the Associated Press that "people who grew up in rural areas find the peaty smell of dung fires pleasant" and nostalgic.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's #Yoga guru’s remedies take on big brands in #India: Soap from cow dung and urine. http://on.wsj.com/1ICZ9Pp via @WSJ

HARIDWAR, India— Baba Ramdev, one of India’s most-celebrated yoga gurus and an outspoken critic of Western capitalism, has built a consumer-goods empire using his fame to peddle an ever-expanding portfolio of products based on traditional Indian medicine.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., the company he founded in 2006 near his ashram on the Ganges in this Hindu holy city, has blossomed into one of India’s biggest brands by making creams, cleansers and supplements infused with centuries-old Ayurvedic remedies.

Among them: soap that contains dung and urine from cows, revered animals in Hinduism; acacia-infused shampoo; gooseberry juice, which the company says delays aging; and a herbal spread the company advertises as a cure for asthma and memory loss.

“Our products are taking Indians back to their roots,” said the saffron-robed Mr. Ramdev, standing beside a mountain of fresh herbs at Patanjali’s factory. “Foreign companies are fooling Indians by selling products tainted with chemicals and artificial flavors.”

Patanjali aims to surpass global giants like Unilever PLC, Procter & Gamble Co. and Nestlé SA as a new wave of Indians, flush with national pride, join the consuming class. It is the latest twist in the evolution of the Indian shopper and could be tougher for international firms to follow.

India’s traditional Ayurvedic system encourages therapies like yoga and holds that ailments—from back pain to the common cold—can be fixed by certain foods, herbs and oils.

Mr. Ramdev is one of the country’s best-known teachers of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. His disciples include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some of Bollywood’s biggest stars.

Hundreds of thousands of people turn out for his rallies across the country at which he often shows off his signature move, sucking in his stomach and making his abdominal muscles undulate.

He also uses the stage to push Patanjali’s products. The big-bearded guru preaches about the evils of Western consumerism. Colas cause stomach cancer, he says, and salty snacks like potato chips weaken bones. He says international brands take millions of dollars in profits out of India.

“The cosmetics and food people are buying are poison. It’s slow poison,” Mr. Ramdev told disciples in one televised yoga session, sitting in the lotus position next to a spread of Patanjali’s products.

He recounted the story of a woman who spent thousands of dollars on shampoo only to lose her hair. Then she switched to Patanjali. “Now her hair is long and strong,” he said.

Unilever, P&G and Nestlé wouldn’t directly comment about Mr. Ramdev or his cures but say their products are backed by months of scientific research and rigorous testing. Our “brands have been loved by consumers for their high standards of quality, safety, taste,” a spokesman for Nestlé’s Indian arm said. “We are very proud of this heritage.”

-----

The company has received a boost from Prime Minister Modi, who has Hindu nationalist roots, and has been ratcheting up awareness about all things Indian. Since taking office last year, he has increased government spending on yoga and Ayurveda and successfully lobbied the United Nations to declare an international day for yoga. On the first one this year, Messrs. Modi and Ramdev together helped lead 35,000 people through poses.

This is the kind of event that has convinced consumers like Hari Lal to spend their hard-earned rupees on products from Patanjali.

“There’s a wave of excitement in the air,” said Mr. Lal, who cleans cars for a living. “Everyone’s talking about how good yoga and Ayurveda are. So I thought, ‘Why not Patanjali. It has the backing of Ramdev after all.’”

Convinced Ayurveda had secrets to make her hair stronger and shinier, bank employee Himani Arora says she switched from a P&G product to a Patanjali shampoo made with milk.

Riaz Haq said...

Burning #cow dung cakes poses serious health hazards including cancer, other lung diseases in #India.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/232244/those-dung-cakes-could-harmful.html …


A study conducted by Jadavpur University shows that villagers in the Ganga, Meghana and Brahmaputra plains were exposed to smoke containing high levels of hazardous gases every day. This region’s groundwater is contaminated and this water is used by farmers to grow paddy. Cattle feed on polluted paddy and the dung is likely to contain arsenic.

When people burn dung cakes, over 25 per cent of the arsenic in fumes could be absorbed by the respiratory tract and this leads to lung cancer and other diseases. But there are solutions to this problem. One of them is the construction of gobar gas plants. The government offers a huge subsidy for gobar gas plant construction, but there is a lack of commitment in implementing the scheme.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu nationalists gather for massive rally in #India. #BJP #Modi #RSS http://str.sg/Zr6E

Tens of thousands of Hindu hardliners, dressed in khaki shorts, white shirts and black hats, gathered for an elaborate rally in western India on Sunday (Jan 3) in a massive show of strength.

It was set to be one of the largest ever gatherings of the controversial Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a group seen as the ideological parent of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

More than 150,000 activists, almost all men, had registered for the rally at which RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was due to deliver a speech from a stage designed to resemble a fort.

A marching band composed of 2,000 RSS volunteers was also scheduled to play. A giant saffron flag, the colour most associated with Hinduism, was to be hoisted on a post over 20 metres high at the 182-hectare rally site in Pune, Maharashtra state.

Analysts say the RSS's influence has never been greater following the election in May 2014 of Modi, a former RSS foot-soldier. Attendees, who arrived in their hordes throughout the morning, were in bullish mood.

"People in the RSS look up to Modi as an example of what we can become. He gives our organisation a great image," Vinayak Deshpande, 32, told AFP.

Another volunteer, who asked not to be named, said the RSS had witnessed a 20 per cent increase in activists since Modi became prime minister.

"With Modi as prime minister the RSS is on the right track," he said.

The RSS, formed in 1925, is India's biggest grassroots religious organisation and is believed to have around five million activists, known as "Swayamsevaks".

It styles itself as a cultural organisation devoted to protecting India's Hindu culture but critics accuse it of being an anti-Muslim pseudo-fascist organisation with a history of fuelling religious tensions.

The RSS is notoriously secretive - volunteers do not formally register as members and communications are often done verbally. Sunday's event was rare for its size and for its open invitation to the media.

Pravin Dabadghav, a senior RSS official in Maharashtra who helped organise the gathering, said it was set to be the largest ever meeting of RSS volunteers in western and southern India.

The previous high was in 2010 when 90,000 attended a gathering in Kerala.

The RSS has been banned three times in post-independence India, including after a former member assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 and following the 1992 demolition of a mosque in Ayodhya which led to deadly nationwide riots.

It favours a uniform civil code for India rather than personal laws for different religions, the protection of cows - which are sacred to Hindus - and the construction of a temple on the disputed Ayodhya site.

Modi helped the group out as a boy and became a full-time volunteer as a young adult, taking the requisite vow of celibacy, for more than 15 years before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Watch out! Human waste is falling from #India's skies!! http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35255102 …

The Times of India reports that Rajrani Gaud from Madhya Pradesh suffered a severe shoulder injury when she was hit by a football-sized chunk of frozen human feces last month.

Her injuries could have been much worse, according to eyewitnesses. They say she only avoided being killed because the icy ball crashed into the roof of a house before hitting her.
And the strong suspicion now is that it this chilly projectile was composed of more than just frozen water.
The newspaper claims that aviation scientists believe she may well have had the misfortune to become one of an incredibly rare group: people who have been hit by what the airline industry coyly calls "blue ice".
That's its euphemism for the frozen human waste that very occasionally forms around the overflow outlets for aeroplane toilets, and then falls to earth. "Blue" because of the chemicals added to the toilets in planes to reduce odour and break down the waste.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindutva #Science? Pranks And Scientific ‘Cranks’ in #Modi's #India | Nidheesh J Villatt | Tehelka Investigations,

http://www.tehelka.com/2016/01/hindutva-pranks-and-scientific-cranks/#.VpnXJWjviDc.twitter …

Similar to Zia’s Pakistan, apart from creating an atmosphere where those who uphold a scientific temper are physically attacked and even killed (for instance the murder of anti-superstition activist Govind Pansare in Maharashtra in February last year), the government has also appointed Hindutva supporters with questionable academic credentials as heads of scientific institutions. There have also been instances of public funds used for researching ‘Hindutva science’. This raises the important question that many are asking: Is the Hindutva brigade aiming for the creation of a ‘Hindu Pakistan’?

“By contaminating science with absurd claims based on an ultra-nationalist political project, these self-proclaimed scientists are out to make the society regressive,” says Gauhar Raza, a scientist and poet based in Delhi. “Religious epics are narrated to younger generations as historical truths. This is exactly what happened in Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

More #Indians died taking selfies in #Modi's #India last year than people anywhere else in the world http://wpo.st/88E41

India may have a selfie-loving prime minister, Narendra Modi, but Indians in general seem to be bad at selfie safety.

Of at least 27 “selfie related” deaths around the world last year, about half occurred in India, reports show.

In 2015, Indians taking selfies died while posing in front of an oncoming train, in a boat that tipped over at a picnic, on a cliff that gave way and crumbled into a 60-foot ravine and on the slippery edge of a scenic river canal. Also, in September, a Japanese tourist trying to take a selfie fell down steps at the Taj Mahal, suffering fatal head injuries.

Mumbai police said this week that they had identified more than a dozen “no-selfie zones” around India’s largest city after three young girls were swept out into the Arabian Sea while taking selfies in a rocky part of the Bandra area Saturday. One of the young women is presumed to have drowned, as did a man who jumped in to save them.

A Mumbai police spokesman, Dhananjay Kulkarni, told the BBC that police would be asking city officials to take steps to reduce the risk of selfies at popular tourist spots such as the city’s famous Marine Drive, including deploying life guards and posting warning signs. Police would also be giving warnings, authorities said.

Last year, no-selfie zones were also established in certain areas of the massive Hindu religious gathering called the Kumbh Mela because organizers feared bottlenecks caused by selfie-takers could spark stampedes.

Riaz Haq said...

Tavleen Singh: "#Davos2016 reminds me of how backward #India remains intellectually and academically" https://shar.es/1hYmO9 via @sharethis

To tell you the truth, I am not sure exactly what it is except perhaps that every year I attend at least one session that reminds me of how backward India remains intellectually and academically. And of course economically but there is inevitably a connection. As the economist Nouriel Roubini pointed out in the NDTV Davos debate, India needs to invest in human capital. It is not good enough, he said, to have a handful of brilliant engineers and computer programmers if hundreds of millions of Indians continue to lack basic education.
Images of rural government schools came into my head as I listened. It is true that decades of criminal negligence will take time to correct but if correction does not happen India will remain in its time warp.


On the first day of the conference I attended a session called ‘A Brief History of Industrial Revolutions’ moderated by Niall Ferguson that reminded me painfully of how much of an academic laggard India is. This panel included professors of history and politics from Britain and the United States and the exalted level at which they discussed the theme of this year’s conference, ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, reminded me painfully that it could never happen in India. I am not going to bore you with details; you can go to the WEF website and watch the whole discussion. You can go to it as well to see what is happening on the frontiers of medicine, science, environment and technology. On account of the reputation that this Davos meeting has gained in its 46 years of existence, it attracts the best minds in the world. Not just “the 1%” as leftist critics of Davos like to believe. And by the way, these same leftist critics come running to Davos when invited to receive awards for social work or achievements in music and the arts.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu Right-Wing Attack on #India’s Universities, Academic Freedom. #BJP #Modi http://nyti.ms/1OP6QS8

I met Sandeep Pandey days after he was sacked from his position as a visiting professor at a prestigious technical institute at Banaras Hindu University. We sat in a dreary guesthouse on the university campus. Mr. Pandey had just finished a long train ride. With his wrinkled kurta pajama and rubber slippers, he was every bit the picture of an old-fashioned Indian leftist.

That was why he’d been fired. “Ideologically, I am at the opposite extreme to the people who are at present in power,” he said. “These people not only cannot tolerate any dissent; they don’t even tolerate disagreement. They want everybody who disagrees with them out of this campus.” Mr. Pandey was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and — more to the point — the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the B.J.P.’s cultural fountainhead.

The R.S.S., a Hindu nationalist organization, was founded in 1925 as a muscular alternative to Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom movement. Its founder admired Adolf Hitler, and in 1948 the organization was blamed for indirectly inspiring Gandhi’s assassination. The B.J.P. has not always had an easy relationship with the R.S.S. With its fanciful ideas of Hindu purity and its sweeping range of prejudices, the organization is dangerously out of step with the realities of India’s political landscape. When the B.J.P. wants to win an election, it usually distances itself from the R.S.S.’s cultural agenda.

Mr. Modi’s 2014 election had very little to do with the R.S.S. and everything to do with his personality and promises of development. But the R.S.S. doesn’t see it that way. Like a fairy-tale dwarf, the group has sought to extract its due from the man it helped into power. As payment for the debt, the R.S.S. wants control of education. Specifically, it wants to install its men at the helm of universities where they will wreak vengeance on the traditionally left-wing intellectual establishment that has always held them in contempt.

At a prestigious film institute, students are protesting the appointment of a president whose only qualification, they feel, is a willingness to advance the R.S.S.’s agenda. The group’s members have met with the education minister in the hope of shaping education policy; in states that the B.J.P. controls, the R.S.S. has been putting forward the names of underqualified ideologues for advisory positions on the content of textbooks and curriculums. It has also sought to put those who share its ideology at the head of important cultural institutions, such as the Indian Council of Historical Research.

This is the background to Mr. Pandey’s dismissal. His new boss, Girish Chandra Tripathi, the vice chancellor, is an R.S.S. man. The Ministry of Education helped push through his appointment after Mr. Modi’s election. One B.H.U. professor, who wished not to be named, described Mr. Tripathi as “an academic thug with no qualifications.” (He was previously a professor of economics.)

The new vice chancellor soon turned on Mr. Pandey. “It was all engineered,” Mr. Pandey said to me. First, the professor said, he was denounced by a student. Then a local news website printed a bogus story accusing him of being part of an armed guerrilla movement. (Mr. Pandey, a Gandhian, opposes all violence.) Soon after, the university’s board of governors decided, on Mr. Tripathi’s recommendation, that he be fired. He is an alumnus of the university and a mechanical engineer with a degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He has won awards for his social work. None of this made a difference. He was given a month to clear out.

----

The problem with the vice chancellor is not just that he is right-wing. It is that he is unqualified for his position. This was never more apparent than in his total inability to grasp the value of dissent at an institution of learning.

Riaz Haq said...

Top #Indian Scientists Say #India's #Modi Government Is Becoming Increasingly Anti-science. #BJP

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/india-s-government-is-becoming-increasingly-antiscience/?wt.mc=SA_Twitter-Share … #science


Three murders, a suicide and a rash of political appointments at universities have thrown Indian academia into an uproar against the conservative (right-wing) government. Prominent artists, writers, historians and scientists are speaking out against an intensifying climate of religious intolerance and political interference in academic affairs.
“What’s going on in this country is really dangerous,” says Rajat Tandon, a number theorist at Hyderabad Central University. Tandon is one of more than 100 prominent scientists, including many heads of institutions, who signed a statement protesting “the ways in which science and reason are being eroded in the country.” The statement cites the murder of three noted rationalists — men who had dedicated their lives to countering superstition and championed scientific thought — and what they see as the government’s silent complicity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the 2014 general elections in India in a landslide victory. The BJP and Modi, in particular, are aligned with the extremist right-wing group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS. (This unholy alliance is comparable to the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party, but the RSS is a paramilitary group with more violent overtones than the Tea Party has shown so far.) Together, the BJP and RSS promote the agenda of Hindutva, the notion that India is the homeland of Hindus and all others — the hundreds of millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others in this sprawling, secular democracy — are interlopers.
“The present government is deviating from the path of democracy, taking the country on the path to what I’d call a Hindu religious autocracy,” says Pushpa Mittra Bhargava , who founded the prestigious Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology in Hyderabad.
Despite his blatantly anti-secular stance, Modi’s stated goals for economic development are wildly popular, particularly among the country’s majority Hindus. But academics and intellectuals have been protesting the erosions on academic freedom almost from the start.
In January 2015, at the 102nd session of the Indian Science Congress, several members of the BJP government led a session on ancient Indian science and claimed that thousands of years ago, Indians had built planes that could fly not just on earth but between planets. There were other outlandish claims — that the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha is proof that Indian ancients knew the secrets of cosmetic surgery, for example. Scientists were dismayed, and some did call for the session to be canceled, but their primary response then was still ridicule, rather than outrage.
In February 2015, economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen stepped down as chancellor of Nalanda University in Bihar, protesting the “considerable government intervention” in academic decisions. That same month, gunmen attacked a left-wing politician called Govind Pansare and his wife; Pansare later died of his injuries. Then, in August, gunmen killed Malleshappa Kalburgi, a leading scholar and rationalist, at his home. “They were a threat, so they were eliminated,” says Tandon.
The attacks shocked the academic community and ignited protests from writers, filmmakers and historians; many returned their national awards as a symbol of their dissent.
Scientists were late to the table, which is not surprising, given that most of Indian science relies on government funds. Still, in October, three separate groups of scientists made statements — the total signatories now number nearly one thousand — protesting the government’s inaction against the acts of violence. (Bhargava returned his Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India, to the president.)

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian prime minister #Modi claims genetic science existed in ancient #India. #BJP http://gu.com/p/42zjb/stw

Hindu nationalists have long propagated their belief that many discoveries of modern science and technology were known to the people of ancient India. But now for the first time an Indian prime minister has endorsed these claims, maintaining that cosmetic surgery and reproductive genetics were practiced thousands of years ago.

As proof, Narendra Modi gave the examples of the warrior Karna from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha.

“We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time,” the prime minister told a gathering of doctors and other professionals at a hospital in Mumbai on Saturday. “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”

Modi went on: “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.”

While much of Modi’s speech was devoted to how to improve healthcare facilities in modern India, he also dwelt on ancient India’s “capabilities” in several fields.

“There must be many areas in which our ancestors made big contributions,” he said. “Some of these are well recognised. If we talk about space science, our ancestors had, at some point, displayed great strengths in space science. What people like Aryabhata had said centuries ago is being recognised by science today. What I mean to say is that we are a country which had these capabilities. We need to regain these.”

This is not the first time that Modi has publicly articulated such ideas. But he did so earlier as chief minister of Gujarat state, and not as prime minister. He also wrote the foreword to a book for school students in Gujarat which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India.

Modi’s claims at the Mumbai hospital initially went unreported in the Indian media, except on the website rediff.com.

But on Monday night Headlines Today TV talk show host Karan Thapar focused on it in his primetime programme, with opposition politicians criticising Modi. The speech has also been posted on the prime minister’s official website. No Indian scientist has come forward as yet to challenge him.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Modi's #yoga guru Baba Ramdev outrages #India with beheading remark. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-35968775 …

If you have a mental image of what a yoga guru does then it would probably tend towards promoting inner peace and good posture. It probably wouldn't include making public statements that it's only the rule of law that's holding them back from beheading thousands of people who don't chant their nationalist phrase of choice.
But just such a bloodthirsty remark has been made by the prominent Indian yoga teacher Baba Ramdev, making collective jaws drop and raising questions about how religious and patriotic sentiments are exploited in Indian political debate.
Ramdev is a successful modern yoga teacher - he's taught all over the world, been credited with re-popularising the discipline among India's young middle class, spoken at the UN, and even branched out into selling his own brand of noodles.

But in recent days, Indian twitter users have been using the hashtag #TalibaniRamdev to compare him to an Islamist extremist after he waded into a debate about a controversial phrase.
The phrase - "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" - means "Hail Mother India", and refers to the nation personified as a Hindu goddess. It's widely used as a statement of patriotism by the BJP, India's Hindu nationalist ruling party. Some politicians have called for all students to be taught the phrase in school.
But some Muslim clerics say it goes against the Islamic belief that there is only one God, and they're trying to stop the phrase being imposed. In March, a prominent Muslim leader said he would never utter the slogan "…even if you put a knife to my throat", and a few days later another politician from the party was suspended from the state assembly in Maharashtra after refusing to repeat it.
Debate on the slogan has raged ever since, with one BJP politician saying those who refused to hail Mother India, whatever their religion, should have no right to remain in the country.
But Baba Ramdev escalated the rhetoric even further when he spoke at a meeting on Sunday, organised by the right wing Hindu organisation RSS with the aim of promoting community harmony. Ramdev made it very clear that only respect for the rule of law was restraining him from beheading anyone who disrespected Bharat Mata. "If someone says that he won't chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai even if his head is chopped off, I want to say there is a rule of law and we respect the constitution, otherwise we can cut hundreds and thousands of heads," Ramdev said in remarks that were filmed and later posted on YouTube.
His outspoken comments have caused outrage in a country where many have commented on a rise in intolerance and bigotry. Last year 200 academics signed a letter saying that the current atmosphere in India encouraged "greater hostility and aggression, especially against religious and caste minorities."

Riaz Haq said...

In #Modi's #Hindu #India, cow #urine can sell for more than #milk. #BJP

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-india-cow-urine-industry-20160718-story.html

India-trained veterinarian Navneet Dhand, who is an associate professor in veterinary biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Sydney, points to three diseases prevalent in India that could potentially be transmitted to people in the raw urine of infected cows: leptospirosis, which can cause meningitis and liver failure; arthritis-causing brucellosis; and Q-fever, which can cause pneumonia and chronic inflammation of the heart.

That's not dissuading Jain's Cow Urine Therapy Health Clinic, which buys 25,000 liters (6,600 gallons) of cow urine a month from a dozen gaushalas. Virendar Kumar Jain, who founded the 15-doctor practice in the central Indian city of Indore, said his center has administered urine-derived medicines to 1.2 million patients over the past two decades for ailments from cancer to endocrine disorders, such as diabetes.

His staff field inquiries from 4,000 online patients daily, Jain said. Consumers can also buy the products via e-commerce websites, such as Amazon. He estimates cow attendants can make 1,200 rupees a month from the sale of a cow's liquid waste, which can easily pay for the beast's upkeep.

Urine distillate sells for $1.20 to $1.50 (80 to 100 rupees) a liter, says Balkrishna of Patanjali.

Still, the value of cow urine is not a great incentive for keeping unproductive cows until their dying day, said Pankaj Navani, a former engineer whose 300-cow Binsar Farms produces 2,200 liters of milk a day. The lifespan of a cow is about 15 years, though most stop producing milk years earlier.

Navani's herd, established in 2012, is still relatively young and he's yet to face the challenge of what to do with his former milkers, he said. "A more logical policy approach is required to deal with the issue in general," Navani said.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #cow #urine can be as valuable as #milk in #India http://nbcnews.to/2bXUjyo via @nbcnews

Vishal Gupta, 37, gave up his job to become a full-time practitioner of cow urine therapy and attended a cow medicine training school in the district of Kanchipuram, southern India, before launching a store selling products made from cow urine.

"Cow is the only animal whose everything has medicinal value," he said. "From milk and dung to urine, everything can be used for a medicinal purpose."

While the belief that cows have curative powers has been part of Hindu practices in India for centuries, these traditions got a big boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014.

Some leaders of Modi's rightwing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocate cow urine as a cure for all kinds of illnesses — including cancer — and cow urine therapy appears to be taking off.

In fact, cow urine typically trades for as much as $25 per gallon, compared to 25 cents per gallon of its milk.

Versions that are boiled and condensed, sweetened, or have added herbs are sold internationally on Amazon under the Hindi name "gomutra ark."

All doctors contacted for this story declined to comment on whether cow urine was an effective cure for any disease.

However, devotees swear by it.

Ajay Dube, a 54-year-old jewelry-maker, came to Vishal Gupta for advice on how to treat intestinal bloating caused by inhaling gas from the acids used to clean gold.

He believes the recommended solution of two teaspoons of cow urine mixed with herbs and berries cured his problem.

"When I first tasted it, it was very bad but I got used to it in few days and in one month's time my gas problem was over and also my appetite increased," Dube said.

Vishal Gupta has entered a business partnership with Gyanendra Kumar, a farmer turned entrepreneur who wakes every morning at 4 a.m. to fill large pails with urine from his cows.

The urine then is boiled and condensed to make the "ark" extract. Last month, one of India's biggest cow shelters began producing 10,000 liters of ark a day at a production facility inaugurated by the health minister, and similar sites are springing up all over the country.

And it's not just medicine — other products made from cow urine including insulin substitute and mouthwash.

Reverence for cow urine has become a political issue in India, where hindus worship cows as "gau mata" — "mother of all." Hindus seek nourishment through milk, dung and urine but almost never cow meat — they regard the cow as sacred and many see its consumption as an abomination.

Since the BJP was elected, a raft of cow-protection laws were implemented as were vociferous demands for their strict enforcement.

Riaz Haq said...

S Khilnani Book: #India was "fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by #caste divisions, mired in poverty" http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/india-in-pieces … via @newyorker

Last year, a professor at the Indian Science Congress, in Mumbai, claimed that India possessed airplanes seven thousand years ago. He isn’t alone in such beliefs. When a certain swathe of India’s population considers the country’s ancient past, it doesn’t see a country fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by caste divisions, and mired in poverty; rather, what’s envisioned is a vast, unified Hindu empire stretching from Kashmir to the Indian tip at Kanyakumari. This imagined entity brims with characters from Indian epics and spits out grand inventions that would put scientists in the twenty-first century to shame—not only airplanes but cars, plastic surgery, and stem-cell research. What these Indians see, in other words, is an India that was once greater than any other nation on earth, and which has since fallen into a cruddy, postcolonial despair. Muslim and British invaders, they insist, have sapped the subcontinent’s energies over the past millennium.

This is a major strand of the nativist philosophy espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the flotilla of parties and social organizations that escorted him to power, in 2014. It is, in the rippling and echoing way of world events, in step with archaic right-wing movements everywhere—Make India Great Again would be a suitable slogan—and it is untroubled by facts. In the past year, right-wing mobs have lynched and beaten Muslims and Dalits (the former untouchables, who have often refused to be co-opted by upper-class-dominated Hindu nationalism) in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand for allegedly eating beef, a crime that these nationalists cannot condone after a millennium of their religion’s supposed persecution. (Hinduism has always been the majority religion on the subcontinent.) Dormant laws in Indian states banning cow-slaughter and beef consumption are now being enforced. In January, a Dalit Ph.D. student at Hyderabad University hanged himself from the ceiling fan in his room after right-wing groups bore down on him for his activism. Elsewhere, emboldened nationalist groups have intimidated fiction writers, scholars, and publishers into silence for wounding religious sentiments. Student protests are branded “anti-national” and slapped with sedition charges.

In India, right now, the past is violently alive, and it is being bandied about like a blunt instrument, striking down those who try to speak sense to the present or who try to point out that this past is itself a fiction.

One of the intellectuals involved in calling the right’s bluff is the Indian scholar Sunil Khilnani, who has just published an incisive work of popular history, “Incarnations: India in Fifty Lives.” Where the opposition is clamorous, the book is calm; where the opposition flexes its Vedic muscles, the book is undercutting, irreverent, and impish. It attempts to show, through prodigious but lightly worn scholarship, how complex and heterodox the Indian past was, and how it has been, and continues to be, constructed.

Khilnani begins with the Buddha, who lived around 500 B.C.E., and is thus, Khilnani writes, the “first individual personality we can recognize in the subcontinent’s history,” as well as an apostle of neutrality and nonviolence. The Buddha’s religion has receded in India, except as a balm to the Dalits, who escaped into it, and as a self-help tool for a sliver of the upper classes, who have embraced it the way that some people in the West do. Buddha prefigures many of the themes in the book. A sheltered man, he is moved by his first encounter with suffering, and leaves behind his wealthy family to wander India in the thrall of slowly budding new ideas. He is serene and centered amid violence. He is open-minded and against sects in a Brahmin-dominated society. He calls for a total reinvention of Hinduism—one that becomes its own religion.....

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi Government Promoting 'Cancer Curing' Cow Urine to The World. #BJP #Hindu https://sputniknews.com/asia/201612191048747631-india-research-cow/ … via @SputnikInt

The Indian government is planning to support and promote large-scale research on medicinal properties of cow urine by infusing ancient knowledge with modern science at the upcoming Cow Science University.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – If you are in India, do not be alarmed if someone suggests you to gulp down cow urine to cure a fever or joint ache. Cow urine, commonly known as ‘gomutra’ is used in many Indian cultures for therapeutic purposes. Concoctions having cow urine as the main ingredient are mentioned in the Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine) as miracle medicine for a number of diseases including cancer.

The Bharatiya Janata Party– led Indian Government hopes to introduce this elixir to the world by promoting large scale research to validate its medicinal properties. A recent workshop held at New Delhi’s prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) witnessed a number of research proposals floated by scientists and medical practitioners. Sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development told Sputnik that the government is seriously considering one of the proposals that envisage setting up of a ‘Gow Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya’ (Cow Science University). Research at the university would mainly be geared towards validating cancer curing properties of Panchgavya- a concoction of cow urine, cow dung, milk and milk products. The government has set up a steering committee that would examine all the 40 proposals floated at the workshop and shortlist some for further action. The proposed research would be supported and funded by not only India’s Ministry of Health but also the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Indian Council of Medical Research. Dr RS Chauhan of College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Uttarakhand, claims that his research on cow urine has revealed that certain components help in enhancing immunity and kills cancer. If approved, he will take the research further to test its effects on humans. Cow is revered as a holy animal in India by Hindus. It has been a priority for the Narendra Modi led government to protect this bovine creature and support industries derived from its waste. The government has spent around $87 million on cow shelters, ban on cow slaughter and sale of cow meat and tightened measures to stop the illicit sale of cattle to neighboring countries. The increased protection and reverence given to cow has even led to inter-faith conflict in recent times.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/asia/201612191048747631-india-research-cow/

Riaz Haq said...

#Cow pee on sale on http://Amazon.com #India #Hindu https://www.amazon.com/Godhan-Purified-Urine-Distilled-Gomutra/dp/B01GRNCG7S … Godhan Ark (Purified Cow's Urine or Distilled Cow Urine), Gomutra Ark
Price: $19.50 & FREE Shipping
Note: Not eligible for Amazon Prime.
Only 13 left in stock.
Expected to arrive after Christmas. Need a gift quickly? Give the gift of Prime or email a gift card.
Get it as soon as Jan. 19 - Feb. 8 when you choose Standard at checkout.
Ships from and sold by Organic Push.
Patanjali Gomutra
New (2) from $14.50 + $4.49 shipping

Riaz Haq said...

Analysis: #India, #Pakistan in race to destroy young minds with false #history #textbooks
http://www.dawn.com/news/1313938/analysis-india-pakistan-in-race-to-destroy-young-minds

Consider the latest attempt at subversion from India. According to reports on Thursday, ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled (BJP) Rajasthan state have proposed that the outcome should be rewritten in the mediaeval battle of Haldighati that was fought between the forces of Mughal emperor Akbar and Rajput chieftain Rana Pratap.

It ended in a stalemate with the latter retreating deeper into Mewar, but Hindutva historians are determined to show him as the clear victor.

It is less widely admitted that his Rajput General Mansingh led Akbar’s 1576 campaign.

If Hindutva historians have their way they would project even Alexander of Macedonia as an anti-India Muslim marauder.

Cinematic versions of Alexander’s war with King Porus have already attempted this in a way, showing the foreigner speaking in Urdu, implying a Muslim language, while the vanquished Indian ruler spoke chaste Hindi, erroneously projected as a Hindu language.

It would be equally embarrassing for Hindutva historians to admit that Maratha king Shivaji communicated with his arch-foe Emperor Aurangzeb in Persian while conducting his Maratha empire’s administration in Modhi, a less discussed precursor of Marathi.

It is routine among Hindutva historians to claim mediaeval monuments as Hindu structures grabbed by Muslims. According to P.N. Oak, an early myth-maker in this genre, Taj Mahal was a Hindu palace as was the Asafi Imambarha of Lucknow.

According to Oak, Christianity is Chrisn-nity, an ascription to Lord Krishna. “Christianity is in fact a popular variation of the Hindu, Sanscrit [sic] term Chrisn-neety, i.e. the way of life preached, advocated or exemplified by the Hindu incarnation Lord Chrisn, spelled variously as Crsn, Krsn, Krishn, Chrisn, Crisna or Krisna also,” Mr Oak wrote.

To keep the spirit from flagging, even Wagner’s theory of continental drift was harnessed to claim that light-skinned Indians originally came from the border of Bihar and Orissa.

Later, the border drifted away to form the North Pole, thus implying that Caucasian and Central Asian genes travelled from India to their current abode, not the other way round.

As in India, rigging the chronology of history has been honed into a craft in Pakistan too, and it is difficult to say who between the two is better in conjuring myths that exhort young minds to violence.

A recent study in Pakistan found that the country’s public school textbooks negatively portrayed religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, as “untrustworthy, religiously inferior, and ideologically scheming”.

The report, “Teaching Intolerance in Pakistan: Religious Bias in Public School Textbooks”, analysed 78 textbooks from all four provinces covering grades five through 10.

Riaz Haq said...

Hinduism and Terror

Paul Marshall


In the past decade, extremist Hindus have increased their attacks on Christians, until there are now several hundred per year. But this did not make news in the U.S. until a foreigner was attacked. In 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary who had worked with leprosy patients for three decades, was burned alive in Orissa along with his two young sons. The brutal violence visited on Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002 also brought the dangers of Hindu extremism to world attention. Between one and two thousand Muslims were massacred after Muslims reportedly set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists, killing several dozen people.

These attacks were not inchoate mob violence, triggered by real or rumored insult; rather, they involved careful planning by organized Hindu extremists with an explicit program and a developed religious-nationalist ideology. Like the ideology of al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists, this ideology began to take shape in the 1920s as a response to European colonialism. It rejected the usually secular outlook of other independence movements; in place of secularism, it synthesized a reactionary form of religion with elements of European millenarian political thought, especially fascism.

---

Twentieth-century agitation against the British led to the rise not only of the secular and socialist Congress movement but also of the rival Hindu nationalist movement collectively known as the Sangh Parivar (“family of organizations”). The Parivar proclaims an ideology of “Hindutva,” aimed at ensuring the predominance of Hinduism in Indian society, politics, and culture, which it promotes through tactics that include violence and terror. Its agenda includes subjugating or driving out Muslims and Christians, who total some 17 percent of the population. It castigates them as foreign faiths, imposed by foreign conquerors—even though Christians trace their origins in India to the Apostle Thomas in the first century and Islam came to India in the seventh and eighth centuries.

The Sangh Parivar’s central organization is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), founded by Keshav Hedgewar in 1925. Hedgewar was influenced by V. D. Savarkar, who believed that Hindus were the descendants of the ancient Aryans and properly formed a nation with a unified geography, race, and culture. Savarkar’s 1923 book Hindutva—Who is a Hindu? declared that those who did not consider India as both fatherland and holy land were not true Indians—and that the love of Indian Christians and Muslims for India was “divided” because each group had its own holy land in the Middle East.

M. S. Golwalkar, the RSS’s sarsangchalak (supreme director) from 1940 to 1973, sharpened these themes. In 1938, commenting on the Nuremberg racial laws, he declared: “Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us … to learn and profit by.” In an address to RSS members the same year, he also asserted: “If we Hindus grow stronger, in time Muslim friends … will have to play the part of German Jews.” He insisted that “the non-Hindu … must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion… Or [they] may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges.” On March 25, 1939, the Hindu nationalist Mahasabha Party, an RSS ally, likewise proclaimed: “Germany’s solemn idea of the revival of the Aryan culture, the glorification of the swastika, her patronage of Vedic learning, and the ardent championship of Indo-Germanic civilization are welcomed by the religious and sensible Hindus of India with a jubilant hope.”


https://hudson.org/research/4575-hinduism-and-terror

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi taps firebrand #hindu politician as UP CM who once advocated killing #India's #Muslims - The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/19/for-state-leader-modi-taps-firebrand-politician-who-once-advocated-killing-muslims/

Yogi Adityanath is a saffron-robed Hindu priest, a five-term member of India’s Parliament and has more than a dozen criminal cases pending against him, including an attempted murder charge. In incendiary speeches across the sprawling and impoverished Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, he has long advocated for Hindu ideals and even exhorted his followers to kill Muslims.

On Saturday, in a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party tapped him to lead Uttar Pradesh, which analysts see as a clear signal that Modi is building on his party’s recent win in the state’s elections and moving to consolidate his Hindu base in a run-up to the 2019 general election.

In a front-page story Sunday, the Times of India called the selection of the “saffron hardliner” a “defiant assertion” of the party’s Hindu nationalist credentials.

“By picking him to govern India’s largest state, Modi and Shah have sent a clear message that they will be bound by neither the norms of ‘politics as usual’ nor the requirements of political correctness,” the Times wrote.

Adityanath, 44, has held sway in eastern Uttar Pradesh since he was first elected to Parliament at age 26, as a “sanyasi,” or devotee, of the Gorakhnath temple religious community.

Known as a controversial and fiery orator, he has vowed to cleanse India of other religions and in 2014 suggested that mosques feature Hindu deities.

“This is the century of Hindutva, not just in India but in the entire world,” he said.

He once accused Mother Teresa of being part of a conspiracy to Christianize India and likened a well-known Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan, to a terrorist. At one rally, Adityanath vowed, “If one Hindu girl marries a Muslim man, then we will take 100 Muslim girls in return.” He went on, “If they [Muslims] kill one Hindu man, then we will kill 100 Muslim men.”

He was arrested in 2007 and spent 11 days in prison for violating prohibitory orders in what was deemed a “communally sensitive area,” with tensions between the Muslim and Hindu communities. He had 18 criminal cases registered against him, according to one tally during the 2014 parliamentary elections, including attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting.


During rallies for state elections this winter, Adityanath’s supporters often chanted for Hindu-centric rule and demanded that Muslims leave the country. Adityanath also praised President Trump for his first travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries and added that similar action is needed in India.

Adityanath was credited with helping the BJP and its allies win 325 of Uttar Pradesh’s 403 assembly seats during the state’s recent elections.

Uttar Pradesh, roughly the size of Brazil and with a population of more than 220 million people, has a history of Hindu-Muslim riots. In 2013, riots between the two groups resulted in the death of more than 60 people, with thousands displaced.

Analysts said the state’s electorate will now look to Adityanath to deliver on the party’s campaign promises, including the banning of cow slaughterhouses and the building of a temple on a mosque site that has been the subject of a decades-long controversy.

The BJP's announcement about Adityanath caught even some of the party’s most staunch supporters by surprise. “I am thankful to the party and PM Modi for considering me worthy of the post,” Adityanath said. “I will take UP forward with ka saath sabka vikas,” meaning "development for all.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Guardian view on a key poll: victory for anti-#Muslim bigotry in #Modi's #India | Editorial #Islamophobia

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/19/the-guardian-view-on-a-key-poll-victory-for-anti-muslim-bigotry

he world breathed a sigh of relief last week as the Islamophobe populist Geert Wilders failed to become the head of the biggest party in Holland. The respite from elected bigotry did not last long. On Sunday an even more stridently anti-Muslim extremist took power in the biggest election of this year. Uttar Pradesh, with a population of more than 200 million, is not an independent nation. It is India’s biggest and most important state. UP, as it is known, by itself would be the world’s fourth biggest democracy – behind the rest of India, the United States, and Indonesia. In a stunning victory, the ruling Bharatiya Janata party swept the state elections, winning, along with its allies, 80% of the seats. Elections here are the most significant in India. UP sends 80 MPs to India’s national parliament of 545 seats. Regardless of party, they pay careful attention to the mood of UP’s electorate. If the nation’s governing parties do well in UP, parliamentarians feel they ought to stay in line. If opposition parties do well in UP, then gridlock rules in Delhi.

The man chosen by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, to lead UP, home of Hinduism’s holy Ganges river and the Moghul tomb of Taj Mahal, is a fellow Hindu nationalist, Yogi Adityanath. Mr Adityanath is a Hindu priest who, while elected five times from his temple’s town, has been shown repeatedly to be contemptuous of democratic norms. He has been accused of attempted murder, criminal intimidation and rioting. He says young Muslim men had launched a “love jihad” to entrap and convert Hindu women. Mother Teresa, he claimed, wanted to Christianise India. He backs a Donald Trump-style travel ban to stop “terrorists” coming to India. On the campaign trail, Mr Adityanath warned: “If [Muslims] kill one Hindu man, then we will kill 100 Muslim men”. This cannot be dismissed as mere rhetoric. The argument that once in power the BJP would become more reasonable does not wash. There’s little sign India’s constitutional protections would enable the BJP to continue in power while the dynamics of its wider movement are kept in check. Mr Adityanath, now a powerful figure, is signalling that in India minorities exist merely on the goodwill of the majority. Step out of line and there will be blood. For some of India’s 140 million Muslims the threat is enough to see them debate withdrawing from public life to avoid further polarisation.

Riaz Haq said...

6 #Mughal #Muslim mouments top earners of #India tourism dollars amid #Hindu saffron wave #Modi #BJP https://qz.com/937950 via @qzindia

Even in these days of rising Hindu nationalism, the remains of India’s Islamic past are of monumental significance.
There is no conjecture here: The Mughals are still the biggest money-spinners on India’s tourism circuit, according to data furnished by the Narendra Modi government (pdf) in parliament on March 20.
Five out of the country’s 10 highest-earning ticketed monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India in 2016 were built by Mughal emperors. And all five monuments that rake in the most ticket money anywhere in India are the handiwork of Islamic rulers in Agra and Delhi.
Close behind is the Agra Fort, another medieval structure from the neighbourhood, followed by the threesome from India’s capital city. It’s only at the seventh spot that the Sun Temple in Odisha’s Konark breaks the hold of the Agra-Delhi circuit, with the temples of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu further down India’s eastern coast at the eighth position. The cave complex of Ellora in Maharashtra, which contains Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain structures, and the intricately sculpted Hindu and Jain temples of Madhya Pradesh’s Khajuraho bring up the rear.
With foreign tourist arrivals in India growing at a steady clip over the last couple of years (pdf), you’d expect ticket earnings to rise, too. That’s mostly the case, except—surprise—at the Taj.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF CULTURE
LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2888
TO BE ANSWERED ON 20.03.2017
PHALGUNA 29, 1938 (SAKA)

http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/11/AU2888.pdf