Monday, June 12, 2006

A Sign that the International Order is Breaking Down

It looks like we're seeing more and more intolerance of other religions all the time:

NEW DELHI: Hindu groups in Malaysia allege that the government is demolishing temples and have appealed to Indian rights groups and the UN to help protect their heritage.

. . .

"At least one temple is being demolished by the authorities every three weeks in an unlawful and indiscriminate fashion, at the federal, state and local levels," said PW Moorthy, chairman of Hindu Rights Action Force, a coalition of about 50 groups.

"Most of these temples are over a century old and have existed even before we got independence. And they have the cheek to deem these temples illegal," a furious Moorthy said.

"Temples in Malaysia under threat." 11 Jun. 2006 Times of India 12 Jun. 2006 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1637380.cms


It looks like increased religious oppression in Islamic countries is a sign that the international order imposed and run by the West is eroding. I think the Islamists rightly perceive the ineffectiveness of the UN and are going to do whatever they want to.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CPI Wins Again in West Bengal

It looks like Bengal has yet another Communist government. And here is evidence that it wasn't, as was widely believed, due to poll rigging.

What follows naturally, is a bitter pill for those who believed that the CPI-M has clung onto power in West Bengal only through rigging. It is time to accept the reality of mass support for the Left Front in West Bengal. "I was not at all worried about the outcome. Had I been worried, I would have come to the office before the start of counting," was CPI-M State Secretary Biman Bose's reaction when asked about the results. It was typically CPI-M. So are the other reactions from Left leaders like 92-year-old former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu: "It was a reflection of people's faith in our policies and we hope that the Opposition will cooperate with the government in its good work and play a responsible role."

Bhattacharya, Sumit. "The message from Bengal." 11 May 2006 Rediff.com 18 May 2006
But, it appears they didn't win by all that much.

But what is hidden in the numbers is the message that had the Opposition been not so disunited -- though there was a sort of informal cobbled coalition at the grassroots -- this assembly election could have been a very different story.

One pointer to that lies in the margins. Transport and Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty, one of the CPI-M's electoral heavyweights, won his Belgachia East seat by only 1,744 votes. Of course there were exceptions like Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who won by 58,000 votes from his Jadavpur constituency, but overall the margins are thin. But what is the secret of the Left Front's success in West Bengal? The answer is that the CPI-M's organisation at the grassroots is unparalleled in the country.
Politics is not for any honest person.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Beautiful Saree

To see an impressive array of beautiful sarees, a single length of cloth warn by women in India, check out the gallery of Laxmipati Sarees.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Go East, Young Man!

This just brings tears to my eyes:

BANGALORE, India - Nate Linkon graduated from college last year with a business degree and a lot of offers. But he made an unusual choice: to pack his bags and move 9,000 miles away from corporate America to Bangalore. In his view, there’s no better place to beef up his résumé — even though the pay is much lower.

. . .

Infosys’ profits are three times those of its U.S. competitors. One of the main reasons is salaries. The employees here — the software engineers — make about a quarter of the salary of someone doing the same job in the United States.

Still, a growing number of Americans are looking to Bangalore, where their money goes a lot further. This summer, 100 new U.S. graduates will start as full-time engineers at Infosys, with 200 more to arrive by the end of the year, part of a total staff expansion the company projects to top 50 percent this year.

Like Linkon, they are willing to take lower pay to get the hands-on experience they believe will make them more marketable when they return to a job in the United States.

Brown, Campbell. "Americans make reverse commute — to India: Cutting-edge jobs, early-career experience draw the tech-savvy." 11 May 2006 MSNBC.com 11 May 2006
These young American professionals going to return to America with more than a very marketable resume—they are going to come back with an impression of a beautiful and timeless culture, one that is now full with hope for the future. I can't tell you how happy I am to see this happening.

Holy Men Wanted for Indian Army

It looks like the Indian Army is upgrading, not only in weaponry but in taking the spiritual concerns of its fighting men more seriously:

Are you a Hindu pandit, Sikh granthi, Buddhist monk, Christian priest or Muslim maulvi looking for a great career? Or, are you an unemployed graduate in the 27 to 34 age group with a religious bent of mind? The Indian Army needs you as a religious teacher. Curious? Read on.

Why does the army need religious teachers? The Indian Army is one of the largest in the world, with 980,000 active troops and 800,000 reservists. There are routine religious activities for an army unit just as civilians like you and me enjoy. For decades, an atmosphere of religious harmony has existed in the armed forces. In some cantonments like Mathura, mosques constructed for the troops of the British Indian Army still continue to be maintained.

Some of the older army regiments in India are so religious that they
have their own dieties. For instance, the icon of Lord Vishnu, popularly known as Badri Vishal, installed at Badrinath in Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh, is the presiding deity of the Garhwal Rifles. All the battalions of the Garhwal Rifles worship the mighty Badri Vishal. What do religious teachers in the Indian Army do?

Lype, George. "Wanted: Holy men for the Indian Army." 10 May 2006. Rediff.com 11 May 2006 <http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2006/may/10ga1.htm>

Monday, May 01, 2006

Orwellian Realism

In his novel 1984, George Orwell portrayed a society that was so completely controlled by Communism that it was impossible for any one or any group to oppose the government. The means by which the government excercised its complete control over the population was by complete control of all information--even "illegal" pornography for the proles--and complete control of the resistance movement, symbolized by the fictitious "Goldberg." But, quite thankfully, such a society never materialized--not even close to it. Even a place like North Korea never came close to approximating the subtle and sophisticated control of infomration as portrayed by Orwell's dark, future Communist society.

Yet the fact that 1984's dark society never materialized strongly suggests that Orwell himself believed too much in the philosophy he vehemently denounced. Marx, after all, predicted that an industrial society is a prerequisite for revolution of the proletariat, yet every society that saw the Communists rise to power was not industrial but agrarian. Unlike Germany, England, and (later) America; Russia, China, and so many numerous banana republics, where Communism came to power (at least for some time), were all agrarian societies.

What Marx got right, however, was that the disparities between the very rich and very poor (the differences Marx imagined between the future bourgeoisie and protetariat) are common in agrarian countries, and it is indeed in these countries where Communism has found the most favor. The kind of society Orwell imagined, then, could not exist as an industrial society but as an agrarian society. For a Communist government to persist indefinitely, it would have to strike the right balance between keeping its political elite popular enough with its followers to earn their allegiance, and it has to demonize their society's bourgeoisie just enough so that the mass of people remain inimical to them but that they continue to prop up the government. Such a government exists in this world, and an example of such is in West Bengal, India.

The state of West Bengal has had a Communist state government for nearly 29 years, winning all fourteen elections since then. What political party in America would give their left arm, and perhaps both legs, to have that kind of electoral success? Yogendra Yadav and Sanjay Kumar give us a further, detailed glimpse into the success of West Bengal's CPI(M) [CPM]:

The architects of the Left Front, leaders such as the late Pramode Dasgupta, carefully integrated Government policy with a strategy of political mobilisation. This design was flawlessly executed by legendary party managers such as the late Anil Biswas, who created a party machine unmatched in any Indian State. The Left shifted its social base from being a party of the industrial proletariat to that of marginal farmers, sharecroppers and the landless poor. This class base was carefully stitched together; a coalition of the socially marginalised groups that included Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims. This class-community coalition has stood by the Left Front through all the political change of the last three decades. The CPI(M) election machine has ensured a very high level of mobilisation, thus increasing the turnout in the State to one of the highest in the country.

Yadav, Yogendra, Sanjay Kumar. "Why the Left will win West
Bengal Again." 16 Apr. 2006. The Hindu. Online Edition. 1 May 2006
<http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/16/stories/2006041609221200.htm>

Economy and technology are closely related to each other, and both seem to play important roles when used as instruments of oppression. But of the two, since economy seems to be more closely linked to the success of Communism, it could be said that economy is the stronger force. Yet neither economies nor technologies oppress people, people oppress people. Bear in mind that West Bengal's Communist government persists on top of a functional democratic system for electing a government. Througout the world and at all levels of discourse about oppression and liberation, virtue and high character are the persistently missing ideas from all manner of pontifcations about peace.

People get the government, and the society, they deserve.

Friday, April 28, 2006

China Isn't the only place that filters its networks

It's funny how there is this brouhaha over Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc. kowtowing (literally) to the Chinese government to make sure their people think only "happy thoughts" when Middle-Eastern countries strive to make sure its residents think only of "Allah."


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: abc@xyz.com
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 07:28 -0700
Subject: FYI...
To: "Krishna Kirti Prabhu @ Abq"

The Dubai government runs a "proxy server" that blocks Hindu,
Christian, pornographic sites, etc.

How to keep Dubai people informed? Only via e-mail? They
can't do much on the publicity front, in any event! :)

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Letter PAMHO:11492617 (20 lines)
From: Internet: "A B Cdefghi"
Subject: Re: Update on www.siddhanta.com - please see
------------------------------------------------------------
this page is blocked, we can not open it in Dubai ...
Best Regards,
A B Cdefghi


I'll bet it's been going on for a while. I don't recall any protests over this.

Pictures of Kazakhstan Police Raiding Hare Krishna Commune

For background, see these posts. Here are pictures:


Guarded by police, a bulldozer prepares to tear down dachas.



An elderly man resists.



And is in turn being arrested.

After the bulldozing, families out on the street.
More pictures here, and there is a movie here.

Update on Kazahkstani Oppression

[From Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami]

Dear Friends,

We have already informed you of the difficult situation with the farm community of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Kazakhstan. The government is endeavouring to evict the devotees from the land lawfully purchased in 1999, as well as their houses and ashramas which accomodate more than 60 devotees.

This persecution started in October 2004 but now the situation reached its critical point.

Yesterday, April 24, 2006 at 10 p.m. the legal executive (court officer) delivered a notification to the members of the community that today, on April 25, at 11 a.m. their ashramas and cottages will be demolished according to the decision of the court.

We ask you to help us in this difficult situation to stop the > execution of the unlawful decision of the court regarding the demolition > of the ashramas and eviction of the devotees from their homes.

All the devotees are law obiding citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan and now the government wants to make them homeless outcasts.

You can help us by making telephone calls to the Administration of the > President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the Presidential Committee on Religious Affairs and the local administrative bodies, and requesting them
to stop the execution of the unlawful decision.

Telephones:

Presidential Office:
+7 (3172) 152634, 152920, 152107
+7 (3172) 324558
Presidential PR department:
+7 (3172) 744051

Administration of the President:
+7 (3172) 151203,
fax +7 (3172) 324480

Prosecutor's office of RK
+7 (3172) 712868, 214025, 712500

Senate
+7 (3172) 153195, 153239, 327710

Senate PR department:
+7 (3172) 153295, 153505
fax +7 (3172) 334639

Committee on Religious Affairs
Mr. Yeraly Lukpanovich Tugzhanov
+7 (3172) 152497, 152217, 152690
fax +7 (3172) 328356

Prime Minister
Mr. Danial Akhmetov
+7 (3172) 152035, 152027

Almaty Regional Land Department
Mr. Nauryzbai Asanbayevich Taubayev
+7 (3272) 270125

Almaty Regional Hakim
Mr. Serik Abikenovich Umbetov
+7 (3282) 271753

Karasai District Hakim
Bolat-bi Satynbayevich Kutpanov
+7 (32771) 21142, 21709

Karasai District Court:
+7 (32771) 20899

Court executive
Ms. R. Baimukhanbetova
+7 (32771) 22030
You can present the following arguments:

  1. Law obiding citizens are deprived of their homes and thrown to the street. All of them have lawfully acquired the right of ownership for their plots of land they have paid all the taxes and membership charges.

  2. The Hakim (Governor) of the district accuses the owners that they never had their property privatized. However the members of the community repeatedly applied to the Hakim for his permission to make the acts of ownership for their cottages and plots but he repeatedly refused. Without his sanction for privatization one cannot make needed documentation for the cottages.

  3. The devotees' houses are located on the territory of a Consumers Cooperative. There are 120 members of this Cooperative. However the claims are brought only against the members of the religious society. In each and every claim the connection of the defendants to the Religious Organization Society for Krishna Consciousness has been illustrated. This is a direct and flagrant violation of human rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Kazakhstan.

  4. Confiscation of property without compensation is possible only in a criminal case. Ours is a civil case. It is not a criminal case.

  5. According to the law, the citizens whose property is confiscated are given at least 5 days to prepare for the execution of the court decision. In our case we have another transgression of the law as we were given less than one day.
Please act quickly and contact as many friends, supporters, and well-wishers as possible who may not be able to received this message in time.

If you have contacts with the powerful political leaders, businessmen, big media agencies (CNN, BBC, Reuter), please deliver to them this information and give them our telephones:

Maxim Varfolomeev +7 300 7407943,
Rati Manjari devi dasi (Ekaterina Levitskaya) +7 300 7164967.
Your servants from

Sri Vrindavan Dham,
Kazakhstan

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Demolition in Kazakhstan Already Begun

It looks like time is running out:

On 25 April, in the wake of a regional court ruling last year, court executors - backed by OMON special police - bulldozed five Hare Krishna-owned dachas at their commune on the outskirts of Kazakhstan's commercial capital Almaty. Rati Mandzhari (Yekaterina Levitskaya) of the Hare Krishna community complained to Forum 18 News Service that officials gave less than the required five days notice of the demolition. But an official defended the demolitions, claiming that it was all "perfectly legal". The Hare Krishna community believes the authorities have been trying to destroy the commune since the community bought a farm in 1999 and then bought nearby dachas. Last month a court ordered the farm to be confiscated with no compensation and a district court has ruled that five more Hare Krishna-owned dachas are to be confiscated. Only Hare Krishna-owned dachas have been targeted for confiscation and destruction.

(Quoted from Forum 18 at the Sampradaya Sun.)
If we don't act now, then the worst will happen.

All Kazakhstan Updates Here

For all news regarding the attempts by the Kazakhstan government to confiscate the Hare Krishna's land there, Palace of the Soul has pictures and updates.