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April - May 2009

Political News

From Far & Near: Topics of Interest

by Bhupendra Gandhi

Persecuted for being Christian

Caroline Petra, a Bank Staff Nurse was threatened with dismissal from her part time job for offering to pray on behalf of an elderly and fragile patient whom she visited at home.

As Ms. Petra is a devoted Christian who attends Church regularly and believes in Prayer Power, she occasionally offers prayers on behalf of her patients, with their permission and not surprisingly some of whom even get better and thank her profoundly.

If such a prayer, a belief in God was offered by a nurse or even a doctor from an ethnic minority, no one would have raised an eyebrow, let alone reprimanded the person for believing in God. So why North Somerset Primary Care Trust and many more left leaning, politically minded quangos treat the indigenous people with such scant respect? No wonder Christians, the majority and the backbone of this liberal and tolerant country, feel discriminated and persecuted in their own land.

Such shallow, artificial and intolerant discriminatory behaviour is wide spread, especially during Christmas, Easter and such Christian festivals and holy occasions when Councils so often ban decorations and festive parties out of spite and lunacy rather than any valid reason. In most cases we would not only like to participate in their festivals but would adopt some of them. For instance, Valentine Day, Mothers Day etc.

We all know that prayer is neither a science nor a replacement for medical treatment but if one has faith, it does help in psychological and psychiatric treatment when one may suffer from depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) or in bereavement.

When I was a long term patient in hospital, I noted that patients of every faith were visited and comforted by their Chaplains except us, the Hindus. In the bed next to mine, there was a Jewish patient who was visited by a trainee Chaplin from Germany. After a few days he hesitantly invited me to join in their prayers which I willing did.

It gave me peace, comfort and friendship if not the miracle cure.

Modi Appoints First Muslim Police Chief

Narendra Modi, the much malignated but brilliant and the most successful CM of Gujarat has just appointed first Muslim DGP of Gujarat, the first Muslim to hold such a high office since Gujarat attained statehood fifty years ago.

It is a pity that nobody notices or gives credit to Modi and Gujarat, as in many ways Gujarat is the most Muslim friendly state in the Indian Union. There are more Muslims employed by the state government, in civil service, police and quangos, percentage wise than in any other state.

Shabir Khandwala, a Daudi Bohra Muslim, is the president of the Gujarat IPS Officers’ Association. With this promotion as DGP, he will also lead the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Mr. Khandwala replaced P.C. Panda who courted controversy during 2002 riots that followed the murder of 59 Hindu pilgrims, burned to death in a train compartment.

As usual, the Mufti Shabbir Ahmed, the Imam of Ahmedabad’s Jama Masjid and Jesuit-activist Father Cedric Prakesh were not overjoyed; describing it as a political move to wear a secular mask. I wonder such political move can ever take place in Islamic countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, a few among many fundamentalist states.

This is an intelligent and pragmatic move by Modi to improve his hard line image ahead of the crucial Lok Sabah elections that BJP must win to stop India sliding towards anarchy, as present government under Manmohan Singh is the most terrorist friendly government India ever had. If Modi can deliver all 26 parliamentary seats, it will go a long way in putting BJP at the Centre, especially as BJP is not doing well in attracting allies in the South.

Practically every major Indian city has been bombed, culminating in the Mumbai massacre, planned and executed from Pakistan. It was one of the worse intelligence gathering failures involving the officials at the top. Yet it resulted in one main political casualty, the forced resignation of the Home Secretary Patil when it is clear where the real responsibility lies, with Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Singh.

Modi already has cordial, friendly and fruitful relations with many Muslim communities and that include Daudi Bohra, Ismaili, Kokni and Ahmedia Muslims. Modi should take this close personal relationship a step further and encourage them to join BJP and give them party tickets for the Gujarat Assembly elections. It would not go unobserved that there are no BJP Muslim MLAs in Gandhinagar. It is time to rectify this anomaly.

Is bovine brew good for our health

The nationalistic and ideological, yet not so progressive, Hindu organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, popularly known as RSS, has come up with a novel idea to challenge the dominance of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in India on the soft drink front.

The drink made from cow urine is in the final stages of development by the scientific arm of RSS and will go on trial run within the next six months. It will be called Gau Jal or cow water. Perhaps it will be more successful on the commercial front if called Gau Cola?

The project head, Shri Om Prakesh says, “Don’t worry. It will not smell like urine and moreover it will be tasty and full of nutrients and a real aid to our health food armoury cupboard.”

Although the contents will be secret and the formula protected, it is assumed that it will contain some holy water from river Ganges, various vitamins such as vitamin C, A and B, some fruit juices from tasty tropical fruits like mangoes, guavas, papaws and will be devoid of any toxins and will not be a carbonated drink which is normally considered to be unhealthy. If Baba Ramdevji promotes this drink in his Shabir, stocks it in his pharmacy, then the success of Gau Jal could be guaranteed.

I am surprised that it took such a long time for RSS to come up with such a novel but practical idea. The attitude of RSS old guards was that RSS was a nationalistic organization occupying high moral ground and it would be unethical to get involved in a business venture of any kind. What a narrow minded ideology?

I am glad to note that this old attitude is changing fast, that RSS is trying to become part of the modern business environment, as finance is the main ingredient if we want to succeed in this materialistic world, especially on the political front. In India, the world’s biggest democracy, political power does not come from the barrel of gun, as in China but through ballet box that needs sound financial base.

As RSS is backed by some of the richest people in Bharat, with influence at the highest political level, it is time for RSS to enter media, have their own TV channel, not only in India but throughout the West and have controlling interest in various newspapers and magazines, at the national level, in the English media which are now controlled by various Western Christian Organizations and foreign governments.

Even BJP’s fortnightly magazine Kamal Sandesh is irregular and irreverent in many ways, lacking professional presentation. This must change if these organizations would like to be part of the progressive 21st Century.

It is worth noting that so many of our Indian food and herbal medicines have healing power that one realises only when one uses it in desperation, especially when the Western medicine has failed to work.

Recently I had a tiny bleeding ulcer on a delicate part of my body. After visiting my GP and going private, suffering for three months, I realised that when we were young and had such boils, infections, our parents used to apply tamarind or hardal, the yellow powder we use in our cooking.

Just three applications over two days completely healed the ulcer, a medicine costing no more than ten pence when I spent some £300 on consultation and medicine without success.

Let us hope that like Yoga, Gau Jal will take the West by storm and readily available in our vegetarian Indian restaurants and supermarkets, albeit after thorough scrutiny and lab analysing under Food and Health legislation.

Why Sarkozy savages Brown

It must be painful for PM Brown to take in such a savage criticism from French President Nicolas Sarkozy who called Brown’s recovery plans as inadequate, indifferent and lacking in substance. Sarkozy broke the unwritten diplomatic convention to support each other at a time when every economy in the world is experiencing a meltdown and not to rock the boat that may lead to protectionism and trade barrier that was the order of the day during the Great Depression of the thirties.

Mr Sarkozy particularly ridiculed Brown’s VAT and Tax cuts, thus reducing the state revenue and raising the borrowing requirement, as VAT cut would hardly make a difference in consumer spending. If people do not want to spend their money due to fear of unemployment, then a couple of point’s reduction in VAT would hardly make a difference.

Sarkozy hit the nail when he pointed out that while most European countries, especially France and Germany developed their manufacturing industry, in particular their auto manufacturing, Britain destroyed hers, thus relying on the service and finance sector for jobs and prosperity.

Sarkozy just announced a six billion Euro support for Citron, Renault and Peugeot but insisted that Peugeot should close down their plant in Chez Republic and bring the jobs home, thus ignoring the EU convention on free trade that is so dear to our PM Brown.

While France and in particular Germany accumulates balance of payment surplus, Germany being the largest exporter, Britain has a deficit of some £8 billion, making the pound a sick currency of Europe that no one wants.

I just wonder whether our politicians would ever learn the basic of simple principle of economics.

Can ISKCON revolutionize European Farming?

Recently Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford performed a ground breaking ceremony with panache, a Bhumi Puja reciting ancient Sanakrit Slokas.

It was a joyous, social and holy occasion, to lay the foundation stone of Europe’s largest cow protection farm. It has been in the planning stage for the last ten years and had to overcome numerous planning and practical obstacles and shortfalls that are normally thrown at any Hindu projects in this country.

In a way the sad killing of the temple cow Gangotri a few weeks earlier did dampen the spirit of goodwill in the hearts of few dedicated worshippers, especially those who were involved in looking after this sick but gentle creature who was like a family member for all involved in managing this self sufficient religious community that attracts more worshippers in Europe than any other religious place with the notable exception of the Vatican.

If these foolish and petty minded RSPCA officials masquerading as angels of mercy but displaying the machoism of a mad dog, find it difficult to understand this bond between an animal and a human being, then they should ask this question to English people who keep dogs and cats that are practically family members, even though they are hardly in the same league as cows who practically sustain our life, at least in our childhood.

The passing of a family pet, a dog so often leads to depression in adults and children are heartbroken at the loss of their favourite pet. Passing away of a pet is not a misdemeanour event to the heart broken pet owners. While in China and Korea dog meat is a delicacy, here it would be looked upon as barbarism.

If RSPCA is looking for real culprits, then they should inspect every lorry leaving these shores with live cattle. So often they are over crowded; and by the time they reach their destination, often involving a full day’s journey, half the cattle are dead or dying. That is why Animal Rights Activists so often block these lorries and ports where they are loaded on to ferries.

Every culture and religion has its own code of conduct and sense of right and wrong. In Hinduism, ahimsa, non violence and preservation of life, living with nature in perfect harmony, preserving forest and animal habitat is as important as praying, fasting and building places of worship.

This is Hinduism’s monomania. That is one of the reasons why Hinduism is such a peaceful, progressive and culturally rich and accommodating religion and Hindus are able and willing to integrate with the indigenous people, celebrate Christmas, Valentine Day and other national holidays with Christian theme, on par with our Dipawali and Janmastami.

Hindu youths are storming the University campuses, not city centres, confront professors to gain more knowledge and not police. Our prisons are practically without any British Hindus.

Yet this short-sighted government ignores our just demands, our needs and tramples upon our aspirations. It seems the best way to get noticed by this blinkered government is to make trouble, take to street and confront police or try to influence them with large donations?

With the shortfall and immense cruelty involved in intensive farming that leads to spread of deadly diseases like bird flu, mad cow, foot and mouth and blue tongue diseases, it is clear that materialistic approach to animal farming is fraught with not only cruelty but health hazards that may one day wipe out the significant proportion of the human population.

So the new approach in farming or rather the old age tradition practiced in India for tens of thousands of years, now revived by ISKCON movement is a timely reminder, a lesson in ethical, green and organic farming that could be the salvation of not only the farming industry but humanity at large.

On one hand the government is bending backward to recycle the waste products but on the other hand it completely ignores, put obstacles in the way of ethical farming methods that organizations like ISKCON would like to introduce in this country.

The plan to build this Cow Protection Centre aptly called “New Gokul” was approved by Hertsmere Borough Council after numerous alterations, delays and a public enquiry, a typical delaying tactics when a Hindu project is involved.

In this country some three and a half million cattle are slaughtered every year, mainly for meat and all young bulls die before their third birthday. “But at New Gokul, we will demonstrate new ways of ethical, compassionate and sustainable farming.” Said Shri Gauri Das, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor and Spiritual Commissioner of Hindu Forum of Britain.

Many leaders of Hindu community had written to PM Gordon Brown some six weeks ago: but have failed to receive even an acknowledgement.

If it were any other community, he would have bent backward, gone on the TV to reassure them; but not to Hindus who are invisible except at election time. He knows we are divided, preoccupied and too soft to act in unison.

Fortunately the Hindu community has the unquestionable support of some very dedicated MPs like Barry Gardiner, Tony McNulty, Virendra Sharma, Stephen Pound and Labour leader in Harrow Council Cllr. Navin Shah. Our community also has strong support from Conservative councillors like Cllr. Anjana Patel, Vina Mithani, Yogesh Teli and Jeremy Zeid.

Let us unite to support all these politicians irrespective of their political affiliation and demand a greater participation, support and understanding from this government. Let us unite, and elect those on whom we can rely for support in our hour of need without dividing the community on party line.

That is how the tiny Jewish community is able to wield such a strong political power at both, the Council and Parliament level. We are able to compete with the industrious Jewish community on all fronts except politics. Let us eradicate this anomaly as well for the good of our future generation.

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