A Jewish-Hindu connection

This post is usefull for knowledge of us
By Jeffrey Stanley, Published: July 23 at 2:52 pm
Not so long ago after nearly 25 years as a hidebound New Yorker I moved to Philadelphia for my wife Pia’s career needs, inadvertently becoming part of a popular regional migration known to urban statisticians as the 6th borough phenomenon. She’s Indian-American and we’re raising our child in a bilingual home. I’m a writer and professor. She’s a scientist by day and an Indian classical dance professional by night. Religiously we are at best agnostic but culturally we are Hindus, and will identify ourselves as such when pressed, like on the hospital intake form the first time we took our baby in for a routine doctor’s visit.
This identification sits well with me. Despite growing up Nazarene in the Bible Belt I had long ago developed an affinity for Hindu philosophy—ever since I’d come across a used copy of the Bhagavad Gita at a flea market in high school and realized how similar it was to the New Testament. I still remember the perplexed look on my Sunday school teacher’s face the morning I brought the Gita to church. I had marked the sections that reminded me of Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount with an orange highlighter and asked him why Hindus were all going to Hell and we Christians weren’t. Suffice it say I quit going to church not long after that. Christianity just wasn’t speaking to me. When I met my wife-to-be years later while canoeing in Brooklyn’s fetid Gowanus Canal I fell in easily with her cultural worldview. We were a match made in moksha.
Imagine my surprise when, on a recent Friday afternoon while returning to Philly on a crowded New Jersey Transit train out of Manhattan’s Penn Station I came face to face with the power of YHWH. I have regular writing and teaching obligations in New York City so I typically commute between the two cities once or twice a week. The pre-rush hour train was unusually packed and it was running local but that was fine with me. In fact I had chosen the local on purpose, adding an hour to my travel time to get as much work done on the typically placid ride as possible before reaching home and hurlyburly.
Still awaiting departure from Penn I sat alone next to the window of my three-seater bench, opened my netbook, and sank into writing comments on my university students’ movie scenes. This was my Screenwriting II class and the scripts weren’t half bad. I had barely made a dent in my work when a rocker in a long-sleeved T-shirt, jeans and two black triangular ear studs plopped down next to me. I felt mildly annoyed by the disruption as he took off his coat and tossed it on the overhead rack along with his bag, and I was relieved when he settled into his seat, took out a paperback and began to read. Hallelujah, he’d be quiet like me instead of yammering away or playing videogames on a so-called smartphone. I continued my work in peace but couldn’t help noticing that he was reading a book on Hinduism. Another time I might have struck up a conversation but I had a lot of work ahead so I kept my nose to the netbook.
The train quickly filled. A few moments later a third passenger plopped down next to us on our bench. I could guess from his dark coat and black hat that he was an Orthodox Jew. Despite his conservative dress and wireframe glasses I could tell he wasn’t much older than 30. The train pulled out.
Almost immediately he started in with our mutual seatmate. “Excuse me. Are you Jewish?” A ha! A Lubavitcher. Here comes the proselytizing, I thought. I’d been a New Yorker long enough to have at least a vague understanding of the Brooklyn-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement and to know that they were some kind of Jewish mystics. I’d been there in the early ‘90s when their leader, the Rebbe Schneerson, had died after a prolonged illness while his followers had gathered in great numbers to keep vigil, many of them believing he was the moshiach. I had also been in New York long enough to know about their prowling Winnebagos dubbed “Mitzvah Tanks” that periodically stalked through town blasting Hebrew songs. They would pull over and set up camp on street corners all over Manhattan to go fishing, asking nearly every male passerby, “Excuse me. Are you Jewish?” Occasionally they’d snag one who nodded and they’d usher him inside their miniature rolling synagogue. For what purpose I wasn’t exactly sure other than some kind of counseling or offer of salvation. I had been tempted more than once to lie about my Jewishness and go aboard and find out what exactly went on in there and get whatever blessing they could lay on me. But they never even asked. A friend told me it’s because they could look at my Elvisy Appalachian face a mile away and tell I wasn’t Jewish. I refused to believe that. If they could tell just from looking who’s Jewish and who’s not then why go around asking everyone before launching into their spiel?
So now, sitting there on that fast-moving train I pricked up my ears at the conversation unrolling before me. How would our seatmate answer? He said yes, he was Jewish, but quickly put up his hand. “But I’m not interested, I just want to sit here and read.” The Lubavitcher introduced himself anyway. His name was Lev. The reader was Dan. Dan sighed and put down his book, realizing he was cornered.
Lev wanted to know all about Dan’s history as a Jewish man in New York and what led him to fall away. Had he gone to a yeshiva as a child? Yes. In fact, he had been on Long Island that very afternoon visiting a friend. He had taken a wrong train and wound up in the middle of nowhere. When he realized his error he hopped off but had no ready cash to pay for a return ticket. He took to the streets and asked a rabbi parked in front of a yeshiva the way to the nearest ATM. The rabbi instead gave him money to buy a ticket, no questions asked. Dan had refused at first but the rabbi insisted, telling him he could repay the favor by promising to do one mitzvah, or good deed, for some other stranger on the way home. Little did Dan know I was about to become that stranger.
Did Dan ever go to synagogue, Lev wanted to know? “Rarely. But I’m still interested in G-d,” Dan explained. “That’s why I’m—“ he gestured to the book on Hinduism. “My mom just brought this back to me from India.” At that I was boiling to become a busybody and jump into the conversation. I’ve been all over India by now and had just come from my most recent trip there a few weeks before. Where in India had his mom visited? How long had she been there? Had Dan ever been to India himself? Stay out of it, Stanley, or you’re not going to get a damn thing done, I told myself. I bit my tongue and kept working.
Lev couldn’t understand how a hippie book on Hinduism was going to supplant the teachings of the Torah. Dan tried to explain it to him. “I believe all religions are kind of saying the same thing and all pointing us toward the same truths. That’s why my mom got me this. She knew I’d like it.”
Now I couldn’t help but avert my eyes to his book and burn holes in it, scouring the cover to see exactly what it was he was reading. I could tell it wasn’t the Gita. I checked the fine print at the bottom and damn if it wasn’t published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest, as I had learned about Sri Aurobindo on my most recent trip. Aurobindo was an Indian spiritual leader, philosopher, playwright and anti-British political activist in the early 20th century. In fact my niece and nephew attend a school in Delhi founded by one of his main devotees, and their school has a store for fundraising at which they sell handicrafts made at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I had brought some of these items home with me to give out to friends and colleagues.
Lev tried desperately to find some commonality with Dan to get him off this Hindu trip and back on the right track. He explained that as a Lubavitcher he too believed in the oneness of things, and that he had been taught to see only the goodness in people. That mystical approach did the trick and got Dan to open up to him a little more. Meanwhile I continued doing my best to tune them out and slip back into my own world. The train was now rolling out of the dark tunnel underneath the Hudson and emerging into the New Jersey swamps speeding toward its first stop: Secaucus.
“Would you like to use the Tefillin?” Lev eagerly asked him, presumptuously unzipping his satchel.
“Um, no, that’s cool,” Dan insisted, seeming a little embarrassed. Lev wasn’t about to take no for an answer. He was already reaching inside his satchel and pulling something out.
Tefillin. I’d heard the word before and I knew that it was some kind of Jewish religious article but that was about it. Is it the thing you hang on your door, I thought? No, that’s a mezuzah. A dreidel? No, that’s a spinning top used at Hanukkah.
From the corner of my eye I saw Lev take a small, dark object from his bag and insistently hand it to Dan, trying to convince him to take it. This was now getting Jewish enough that they were leaving me in the dust. I thought I was finally free of temptation to join the conversation when I heard Dan say, “Tell you what. If you can convince this guy sitting next to me to do it, I’ll do it.”
Peripherally I could see Lev lean out past Dan to get a look at me and think it over. “Excuse me?” He tentatively began.
“Don’t ask him if he’s Jewish. He’s not,” Dan intervened, trying to do me a favor.
I feel Lev studying my face, trying to decide how to proceed.
“How can you tell?”
“Because if he was Jewish he would already be talking to us.”
Lev continued full steam ahead. “Do you know what Tefillin is?” he asked me. I knew his mission wasn’t to save me. It was to save Dan. But this was too good to pass up. I lifted my head.
“Not really,” I said. “I’ve heard of it.”
“Do you know what the Torah—?“
Dan, embarrassed for Lev, impatiently cut him off. “Of course he knows what the Torah is, he’s not stupid.” He then turned to me. “Look, he wants me to do the Tefillin and I’ll only do it if you to do it.” Dan was using me, a total stranger, as his surefire excuse to not do it. He also had something else going for him: Lev was getting off in Secaucus which was about 30 seconds away. The train began to slow as we approached the station. Time was up.
“Oh, too bad,” said Dan. “But thanks for asking.”
Lev reluctantly stood up and lingered in the aisle, looking back at me. “Will you do it?”
I slapped my netbook shut. “Hit me.” I reached across Dan’s lap and shook Lev’s hand. “My name’s Jeff, I’m wide open, lay it on me.” Both of their eyes widened, neither of them sure whether to take me seriously. “Go ahead and do him,” I said, nodding at Dan. “You can do me next.”
Lev was elated. He plopped back into his seat like a schoolboy and missed his stop on purpose. That still only gave him a few minutes to work this miracle before the next stop. Out from his bag flew both Tefillin boxes attached to leather straps. I asked to see one and he tossed it past Dan into my lap. It was a black leather cube about 2 inches square with Hebrew characters emblazoned on the sides in gold paint. One side of the box was open and covered with a white film. “That’s parchment,” Lev explained with pride. “And inside are lots of pieces of paper with verses from the Torah written on them.”
“Oh,” I said. “Sort of like a Buddhist prayer wheel with scraps of paper inside with ‘Om mani padme hum’ written on them. And then you spin it and–”
Dan smiled. Lev looked stymied. Unsure whether he was offended or confused I handed the box back to him. Dan rolled up his sleeve and held out his left arm while Lev commenced the elaborate wrapping procedure around his fingers so many times and then up and around his arm in just a certain way. To me, it looked like Dan was about to shoot up heroin. Once the wrapping was completed, Dan held his bicep against his chest so the box touched his heart. Lev then strapped another box just above Dan’s forehead to be near his mind.
I’m telling you right now there’s no way anyone can sit on a commuter train at rush hour and do Tefillin and not have everyone and his sister noticing, because notice they did. The entire car was listening in on our conversation by this point. I had never seen so many people sneaking peeks at me in my life. Lev coached Dan through reciting a prayer in Hebrew, most of which Dan remembered on his own from his yeshiva days. Then it was my turn. I waited while they worked together frantically to beat the clock as the train rolled on, untying the works from Dan and strapping me in for a beautiful trip that would leave me craving more. Finally everything was in place. “I don’t know Hebrew! What do I say!” I blurted as the train decelerated.
They hesitated, looked at each other. We were pulling into Newark station. Dan finally spoke. “Just say you believe in the oneness of the universe and why,” he said urgently. Lev eagerly nodded.
The train doors opened. I thought for a moment and said slowly and thoughtfully, taking all the time in the world, “I believe in the oneness of the universe because of this thing with two total strangers that is happening to me right now.”
“Great.” Dan tore the Tefillin off me and thrust the boxes back at Lev who shoved them into his satchel, shook both our hands and bolted off before the doors slammed shut to wait in the cold and backtrack home.
Dan and I sat back and chuckled. “That was really cool of you,” he said.
“You’re not going to believe me,” I told him, “but I’m a Hindu.”
“I know you are,” he said, beaming.
“Okay now how on Earth can you possibly know that?”
“Because you knew about Buddhist prayer wheels and you believe in the oneness of the universe. And because I saw you staring at my book.”
He had me there. I smiled out the window thinking how I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Pia all about my ride. Talk about a crazy commute. Dan and I spent the next 90 minutes discussing the nature of the universe. Turns out he’s a biologist like my wife so we had much to talk about as we delved into a deep blend of science, philosophy and mysticism en route to post-industrial Trenton where I would make a final transfer to the City of Brotherly Love. At one point around Princeton Dan fell back into his seat looking suddenly drunk. “Whoa. I feel high, like we just took some powerful drug.” I knew what he meant.
Surprisingly for such a short time we had come to some pretty definite conclusions about G-d, or Brahma, and the meaning of life, but I’ll keep all these things and ponder them in my heart. You wouldn’t believe me anyway. You must experience it yourself, not read about it. I’ll let you in on this much though: a week later I stumbled upon this verse from the Rig Veda that summed up our conclusions:
Man, shining light in the City,
Has a thousand heads, eyes, and feet,
He covers the earth on all sides,
Rules supreme over inner space.
We both got off in Trenton and went our separate ways. I considered asking for his email address and I suspect he had the same fleeting thought but we both skipped it. Some people you’re only meant to meet once and glimpse briefly, like trains speeding past each other in the darkness.
Shabat shalom.
Jeffrey Stanley is a playwriting and screenwriting faculty member at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, as well as at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Indian economy comes to a full stop

I understood that India’s outbound investment policy was not a liberalisation process, but a facilitation one – one that ensured smooth pay-offs! Importantly in this mess, businessmen, politicians, professionals, bureaucracy, judiciary and even the media are involved. No one can blame the other.

The net result – imports from most of our neighbors of several items [despite cost of transportation and customs duty] are competitive than manufacturing the same in India. Forget competing abroad, Indian manufacturing has become uncompetitive in India!

By MR Venkatesh on July 22, 2013

Indian economy spirals to a fullstop

A fairly large South-Indian group with varied business interests had invited me to a strategy session to turn it around. It was the first meeting and was to be preceded by breakfast. As we waited to be served, I perused their latest balance sheet.

Noticing that it was a profitable, tax and dividend paying company, where was the question of turnaround I wondered? Nevertheless, I instantly zeroed in on the balance sheet. I observed that the company had invested approximately Rs 700 crore on its subsidiaries and lent another Rs 300 crore — in the aggregate Rs 1,000 crore. Flipping across the accounts, I asked a simple question – what is the return from this investment of Rs 1,000 crore? (Amounts changed for obvious reasons.)

The CFO was silent. The executive director hummed and hawed. The body language of the rest was a dead giveaway of their uneasiness to discuss this matter further.

The junior-most amongst them blurted out, perhaps unwittingly, that it was virtually nil. His answer got a cold stare from his superiors. “Nil!” I exclaimed to the horror of my hosts.

“You must be paying approximately Rs 150 crore as interest annually on this sum.” I commented, probably rubbing salt into their wounds. I went on to probe further, “Why, what happened to this money?”

This time my question was followed by thundering silence. Even the junior one was quiet this time around. May be he had already got the message. As I helped myself to the breakfast I noticed radio silence at the table. Was I at a funeral?

Between mouthfuls, I attempted to be at my persuasive best. Probably my training as a chartered accountant helped me. Unable to bear my repeated questioning, the CFO finally broke down.

“Sir, as you are aware we are in infrastructure. That requires tremendous pay-offs to politicians and bureaucrats. We have used approximately 150 subsidiaries, some of which are foreign ones, to route these payments.”

I was stunned. My jaw dropped. “Sir, we expected you to know all these practicalities of our business. The turnaround strategy needs to factor these ground realities.” Obviously, this time around I was at the receiving end. The breakfast meeting concluded abruptly.

Importantly, I understood that India’s outbound investment policy was not a liberalisation process, but a facilitation one – one that ensured smooth pay-offs! Importantly in this mess, businessmen, politicians, professionals, bureaucracy, judiciary and even the media are involved. No one can blame the other.

The economics of kickbacks and payoffs

Instantly my thoughts raced to the Nira Radia tapes. Fifteen per cent was the kickbacks payable to the Minister concerned for approving every road contract. Add another fifteen to the bureaucracy and local politicians. Add another five to seven to bankers, lawyers, consultants and agents to procure funds. What we have is a staggering 35-40 per cent additional cost to every infrastructure project.

That implies a road project costing Rs 100 crore would in effect be a Rs 140-150 crores project. Naturally, the toll for the stretch would not be Rs 100 but Rs 150. This has profound implications for the Indian economy. This extra Rs 50 in toll levy for every 100 km has a cumulative effect on the manufacturing cost.

The net result – imports from most of our neighbors of several items [despite cost of transportation and customs duty] are competitive than manufacturing the same in India. Forget competing abroad, Indian manufacturing has become uncompetitive in India!

There is another dimension to this issue. Somewhere down the line these “costs” were funded, mostly by our banks. Corporates altered their top-line as well as bottom-line to keep their banks in good humor. The Banks in turn suspended their sense of disbelief. As chartered accountants we too played ball in creating a mini-Satyam in most of India’s corporates.

The impact of gold plating

But this gold platting of balance sheets cannot be done beyond a point. Everything has a breaking point isn’t it, especially as the economy tanked?

These developments were brilliantly captured by a Report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) “As the topline growth continued to slow down, the manufacturing sector as well as the non-financial services sector saw profits fall in the March 2013 quarter compared to the year-ago levels. Operating profits of the manufacturing sector excluding the petroleum sector fell by close to four per cent while the net profit fell by a sharp 23.2 per cent.”

The report goes on add “The non-financial services sector managed to improve its sales growth from 3.2 per cent in the March 2012 quarter to 6.5 per cent in the March 2013 quarter on account of sectors like transport services and software. However, at the net level the sector saw a sharp 28.3 per cent decline in profits.”

Well, both the manufacturing and services sector are going bust.

Simultaneously the CMIE points out that the “Commissioning of projects dropped sharply to Rs 337 billion during the quarter ended June 2013 from Rs 827 billion in the June 2012 quarter. This was lowest since quarter ended December 2006.”

Macro-economic data too corroborate these numbers. From a growth rate of 7.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2011-12 growth rate has witnessed a steady fall in the next seven quarters to less than 4.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012-13.

If data released by the Finance Ministry for the first two months of this fiscal is any indication, manufacturing has recorded a negative – yes negative growth of two percent, mining a negative of 5.7 per cent, capital goods a negative of 2.7 per cent, consumer goods a negative of 4 per cent and consumer durables a negative of 10 per cent. In short, when it comes to manufacturing, forget growth, we are in negative zone.

The net result – twenty per cent of lending by Indian Banks is stressed. Obviously, when banks end up funding pay-offs and kickbacks, this is the end result. And that is a whopping Rs 11 lakh crores – approximately $200 billion – a sum that even the banks in USA cannot afford.

Added to this is the stress on account of our external accounts. The foreign debt has risen to $390 billion. This was a mere $225 billion in 2008. What is galling is that the foreign exchange reserve has remained at a constant $300 billion during this period. Needless to emphasise, the ratio of foreign exchange reserves to foreign debt has deteriorated from 138 per cent then to less than 75 per cent now.

What is adding to the consternation is that in the short term – by March 2014 – we need to pay approximately $172 of our foreign debts. This works out to approximately 44 per cent of the external debt and a staggering 60 per cent of the total foreign exchange reserves of the country.

The short-term external borrowings are surely the villain of the piece. Remember in 1991 the short-term external debt was a mere 10 percent of the total external debt. Now it is one-fourth.

Another important parameter – India’s net international investment position [the net claims of non-residents against external claims of residents] stood at a negative $225 billion as at 30th June 2012. This deteriorated to a negative of $307 billion by March 31, 2013. That implies an addition of $82 billion in a matter of mere nine months.

Simply put, Indian manufacturing by and large is uncompetitive at current exchange rates. And if Rupee is devalued, prices of imports, especially crude oil, would increase leading to an inflationary spiral. Either way, that means increased unemployment. The services sector too as pointed out above is spluttering. And remember agriculture has been historically recording sub-three percent growth in the best of times.

As we witness large-scale unemployment, purchasing power in the hands of the people is rapidly decreasing. That implies demand compression which in turns puts the economy once again on the downward spiral.

Add to this the absolute lack of governance, indecision and Governmental apathy – you would know what it means to do business in India. Whatever be the reason – political or otherwise — bureaucracy in Delhi has simply refused to function. Likewise every assessment with our revenue departments ends up as extortion.

Unfortunately the Government’s response has been pathetic. Surely, increasing FDI limits is not reforms. On this the UPA Government is completely off-target. What makes the set of reforms scandalous is that the Government is indirectly bribing foreigners to invest in India. The Jet-Etihad deal is a case in point.

Put pithily, we are witnessing a repeat of the 1991 crisis. This time around, it is threatening to make the previous one look like a walk in the park. Well what makes the crisis different this time around?

Contrary to the popular belief this is not an economic crisis, this is a crisis of national character. Forget fiscal, revenue and current account deficits – let us first talk about morality deficits.

(MR Venkatesh is a Chennai based chartered accountant. Comments can be sent to mrv@mrv.net.in)

Durga Shakti Nagpal suspended due to stop the construction of the mosque

Durga Shakti Nagpal, the 2009-batch IAS officer posted as SDM (Sadar) of GB Nagar, UP (was) suspended late on Saturday by the Uttar Pradesh Government after a dispute related to a religious place .The state government justified her suspension, claiming that her order to stop the construction of the mosque during the holy month of Ramzan could have created trouble. “It is an administrative decision. She had ordered demolition of the wall at a place of worship,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said in a post on his Twitter.Is this the language of secularism.
Another source said that she has been suspended barely 10 months after her first posting in the State because of she had clamped down on illegal mining and resolutely taken head on the powerful sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh.Akhilesh Yadav

Vishva Hindu Parishad Governing Council Meeting

Vishva Hindu Parishad
Governing Council Meeting
Haryana Bhavan, Narayana Nagar, Kumarpara, Guwahati
24 – 28 July 2013

Resolution on Assam

The Governing Council of Vishva Hindu Parishad demands the Central Govt. to confer citizenship to all the Hindus entering Bharat on account of various forms of Social, Economical and religious atrocities committed on them by Muslim fundamentalists, Government authorities and other agencies in Bangladesh. Hindus are On account of such atrocities constantly migrating leaving behind their movable and immovable properties should be duly compensated by the Central Government and the state Government of Assam by allotment of suitable plot and land to each family in Bharat.
Similarly The Hindu D Voters (Doubtful Voters) in the electoral rolls have outnumbered than the Muslim infiltrators, causing serious mental and physical agonies. Therefore it is demanded that the Central Govt. and also the Assam Government should take appropriate steps to regularize the Hindu voters by deleting the letter “D” against their names in the electoral rolls.

The Central Govt. in connivance with the Assam state Government, unconstitutionally and against the wishes and feelings of the people of Assam has decided to transfer about 1400 bighas of Bharat Land in Dumabari and Latitilla sectors of Karimganj and Dhubri Districts to Bangladesh.
Vishva Hindu Parishad takes a serious note of this issue and resolves to strongly oppose this illegal and unconstitutional action of the Central Govt. and Assam Govt. to transfer the land to Bangladesh. Vishwa Hindu Parishad further demands to ensure the protection of borders by means of fencing at Borders as soon as possible.

Chinese have been making continuous intrusion in to the territory of Bharat at various points in Ladhakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Govt. of Bharat appears to be indifference rather helpless in meeting the Chinese challenge. Further China taking advantage of the clay-footed approach of the Government has been resorting to the construction of mega Dams over River Brahmaputra(Trangphoj) at various places in Tibet and China, and even diverting the river course itself, which will have very serious biodiversity and economic effect on Assam and entire north east. In the event of war, China may use water weapon by releasing huge quantity of water which may cause huge loss of human lives and property in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. In case the Chinese govt. do not respond positively for joint inspection of the dams constructed over Brahmaputra, the Central Govt. should stop all imports from China forthwith as these imports have been instrumental in destroying our small industries.

Therefore it is resolved that the Central Govt. should take strict action through diplomatic and other means against China to stop/remove these Dams.

Since recent past along with Pakistan, the Jihadis in Bangladesh have become violently active and their continued infiltration and influence in the Muslim dominated areas of Assam and Meghalay become discernible. In spite of such violent activities by Bangladeshi Muslim fundamentalists in Assam and Meghalaya and the warnings from judiciary, the govt. of Assam, Meghalay and Central Govt. seemed to be unconcerned.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad urges up on the Governments of Assam, Meghalay and the Central to curb the infiltration of Jihadis and their violent activities on the Bharat soil and also provide adequate security to the indigenous people of Northeast Bharat.

The Maoists have been active in carving out a red-corridor right from Chattisgarh and other states to Assam and many unemployed and educated youths drawn in to the Maoists designs, which has seriously threatening the peace in the state. In such a situation it is urged up on the Central Govt. to strengthen the security agencies by employing adequate number of paramilitary forces and intelligence personnel in dealing the Maoist threat.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad reiterates its demand to immediately up-date the National Register of Citizens (NRC) based on the 1951 register on the lineage basis. At the same time VHP wants to bring to the notice of the people of Assam and the Assam Government that “The Assam Panchayat Act 1994 makes a provision of having “Gram Sabha” in each and every village. The Assam Government can empower the Gram Sabha in each village by bringing about suitable Legislative changes in the act to maintain a “Population Register” of their respective village, so that any illegal infiltration in to the village can be checked and also reported to the concerned authorities of every infiltration in to the village. The population register so maintained by the Gram Sabha can be useful to the department of Census and Ministry of Home Affairs in maintaining proper count of the population and also the illegal infiltration from Bangladesh.

The island of Majuli in Assam is the biggest river island in the world encompassing a civil sub-division and Vaishnavite center with four biggest and most prominent SATRAS. Because of these Satras this island is a sacred place to Hindus. In this sacred land of Hindus, Christian activity and propaganda is gradually increasing and they are trying to establish a Church in Majuli. The Christian activity is a threat to the very existence of Vaishnava religion and culture. Majuli Island is also facing another threat of continuous erosion by the mighty river Brahmaputra. VHP demands the central and the state governments to fulfill the long pending demand of the people of Assam by declaring the Majuli Island as a “world Heritage Center” and to take up all the measures required to stop the erosion.

Majority people of Assam are the followers of Vaishnavism founded, preached, established and propagated by Mahapurush Shrimant Shankar Dev, Shri Madhav Dev and Damodar Dev. These Mahapurushas established Satras and Namghars throughout the length and breadth of Assam. These Satras are like Matts of our Hindu dharma. The followers of These Mahapurushas donated thousands of Bighas of fertile lands to these Satras. At present these Satras are facing a serious threat of grabbing their lands and properties by Muslims and Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators. About 7552 Bighas land belonging to 43 Satras is already grabbed by these grabbers. VHP demands that the state Government of Assam to arrest these grabbers and vacate the lands from the clutches of these infiltrators.

People of Northeast love their religion and freedom from the core of their hearts. It is due to this great zeal that no Muslim invader could enter this sacred land for 700 years. This region has a great history of struggles to save their honor. Certain incidents of recent past have proved it. The Governing council of VHP warns the Central and State governments to resolve all these issues which are very well related to the glory, prestige and existence of the people of Northeast.
Proposed by: Ajit Kumar Jana, North East Zonal Secretary

It is right time to Establish a health university.

OdiashaBBSR, 27/07/13- It is right time to establish health university in Odisha. Recently State govt recommended for four Govt. medical colleges at Balangir, Koraput, Baripada and Balasore to the central Government.Expansion of Govt. colleges such as SCB Medical College, VSS Medical College and MKCG Medical College is also praiseworthy. Similarly, AIIMS has already started at Bhubaneswar. There is a plan for ESIC medical college at Bhubaneswar and another of its branch at Rourkela. MCL is establishing another Govt. medical college at Talcher, similarly NTPC and NALCO are respectively planning to establish medical college in Sundergarh and Koraput respectively. There was a plan to expand capital hospital in Bhubaneswar to a medical college. Besides these college many other private and Govt. Medical college of Odiasha needs a university for proper guidance and to develop there research work on public health and community health programme.
To handle properly all the Govt.and Private medical college and other paramedical institute it is right time to establish a health university in Odisha to fulfill the requirement of Odisha people.

Odisha lose another efficient IAS officer – Aparajita Sarangi is now new joint secretary in union rural development ministry

Aparajita sadangi
BBSR, 26/07/13 -Today Odisha lose another efficient IAS officer. Aparajita Sarangi is now new joint secretary in union rural development ministry. The state government on Friday transferred secretary, textiles and handloom to center for new responsibility.
she was join as a IAS officer in odisha in the year of 1996. From 1996 to 2013 she serve odisha as a iron lady with so many record. Unfortunately she didn’t got proper support from govt to work out her good agenda properly till the last. After Hrusikesh Panda Aparajita Sadangi leave odisha with a lot of pain. It proves Odisha has no place for honest officer.

Santha Gopala das’s Hunger strike in third year

संत गोपालदास जी आज 77वां दिन अनशन का ! PGI हास्पिटल मे !
Santa Gopala Das, Hariana
हरियाणा के 6764 गांवो मे प्रदेश की 17 लाख 72 हजार गायों के चरने के लिए ढाई लाख एकड़ जमीन थी !सुप्रीम कोर्ट के निर्देशानुसार न तो इस भूमि का उपयोग बदला जा सकता है और ना ही इसके मूल स्वरूप मे बदलाव किया जा सकता है इसके बावजूद भी इसमे से 50 हजार एकड़ जमीन पर नाजायज कब्जा है ! और बाकी बची 2 लाख एकड़ जमीन सरकार ने लीज पर दे रखी है ! अब गायों के चरने के लिए भूमि नहीं बची है !

इसी भूमि को मुकत करवाने के लिए संत गोपाल दास जी पिछले ढाई महीनो से अनशन पर हैं उनका 16 किलो वजन कम हो गया है ! लेकिन फिर भी वो अपने जीवन की चिंता न किए हुए गौ माता के लिए संघर्ष कर रहे हैं !

ऐसी खबरे सरकारी टुकड़ो पर पलने वाला media नहीं बताएगा ! इस लिए आप सब से निवेदन है इसे जरूर share करे !!

74 दिन हम भूखे नहीं रह सकते लेकिन गौ माता और गोपाल दस जी के संघर्ष के लिए के share तो कर ही सकते हैं ???????

True Bharat Nirman requires skill-development, not handouts

True Bharat Nirman requires skill-development, not handouts

By Lisa Jani & Ankita Singh on July 20, 2013


True Bharat Nirman requires skill-development, not handouts

“I believe our Government has given education its due. We have expanded access to education as never before,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while addressing the conference of Vice Chancellors of Central Universities at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in February.

His former Cabinet Minister and the current President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, it seems, begs to differ.

Just a few months later, in June, the President expressed his disappointment at the state of higher education in the country when he spoke at the eighth convocation of the Rajiv Gandhi Technological University in Bhopal, clearly indicating that enough had not been done or achieved in the field of higher education.

The biggest ‘due’ PM Singh would refer to is probably the Right to Education Act (RTE) which being the first of its kind in the world puts the onus of enrolling and schooling children on the Government. The RTE Act which on paper ensures that every child is ensured an education till the elementary level has plenty of drawbacks.

The Act calls upon private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for underprivileged students. In reality, most of the seats reserved are not filled as is pointed by a report in The Hindu by Asha Sridhar. According to the report, official figures indicate that of the 4,152 seats reserved under the RTE Act in the city (CBSE schools excluded), only 1,067 have been filled. This constitutes a mere 25.6 per cent of seats. Another problem that the report highlights is that the papers submitted for admission reach the schools via a chief education officer after verification. It’s a lost in transit situation here with many schools claiming that they have not received the papers.

The Act also focusses on bulk education and not the quality of education imparted. In the long run, this could prove detrimental not only to the individual at the receiving end of such an education but also to the country as a whole. A Mid Day report published in 2011, a year after the Act came into effect, states that “Secure in the knowledge that they will not have to repeat the year, students are leaving assignments alone, skipping oral exams and even filling up examination answer sheets with gibberish.” The Act, in order to reduce pressure on school children, discontinues the practice of detaining a student till Std VIII, a step that seems to have been a grave mistake in retrospect.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2012) for rural India, by PRATHAM, an NGO, exposes the crater sized holes in our education system in spite of the Right to Education Act. The study observes that in 2008, only about 50 per cent of Standard 3 students could read a Standard 1 text and by 2012, that figure had plummeted to 30 per cent. Approximately, 50 per cent of the Class 3 students cannot even correctly identify digits up to 100, at an age where they are supposed to learn two digit subtractions. In 2008, that figure stood at 70 per cent. If this situation prevails then it means that in 15 years time India might have an educated but useless work force that cannot deliver. It is not very difficult to draw out the trajectory of the economy thereon!

In its annual report 2012-13, in which the UPA accorded itself full marks, the Government proudly states that it has allocated Rs. 23,836 crore under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. But is the money being utilised to develop good infrastructure and procure a good crop of academic staff? It would seem not.

A Times of India report cites, “At most of the Government primary schools, a single teacher or shiksha mitra is the only staff owing the responsibility of teaching in all the classes (I to V). Similar is the scene at junior high schools (up to class VIII) as well where a single teacher takes the responsibility of teaching all the subjects in all the classes.”

Higher education is perhaps the worst sufferer. Dr Ramakrishnan Committee Report some 50 years ago had recommended that 6 per cent of the FDP be spent on education. The four per cent spending mark has yet to be breached. And one should keep in mind that the Congress has been in power for a majority of those years. The fact that none of India’s premier higher education institutes rank amongst the top 200 institutes of the world is a telling sign of the times.

A speech given by the President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this year on the occasion of the 90th convocation of the University of Delhi echoes this disappointment. The President said, “If we are to redefine the way education is imparted by our educational institutions, the time is now. According to an international ranking of universities, no Indian university finds a place amongst the global top 200 universities. This you would agree is simply unacceptable. We must develop our universities into global leaders, and for that, the best practices in other countries should be carefully studied and adopted with necessary changes to suit our conditions.”

The Rs 15,458 crore allocation that the higher education sector received, which also coincided with the start of the 12th Five Year Plan has no funding provision for building new universities or for innovation in higher education.

Funding for research is abysmal as a result the country sees its finest and brightest moving abroad where there are better opportunities. And the Congress wants to do ‘Bharat Nirmaan’

Indian education system has been blamed for being one for bread alone and so to change the mess that it is in now the following measures can be adopted. India faces the problem of low educational and unskilled labour. The best way to resolve the issue will be to train under-skilled population so that it can make contribution towards India’s development. Although India has appropriate policies and programmes in place but imparting skills will be a national challenge as each year 15 millions join the job market. Narendra Modi’s three-point mantra of Skills, Scale & Speed ought to be looked into more closely.

Education system in India relies on memorising and not on learning. It is high time India starts rewarding creativity, original thinking, research and innovations.

The tests set and the marks awarded should consider original contribution, creativity, problem solving and original research and innovations. Some may feel that teaching is a safe and low pressure job that pays well too. This thinking allows terrible teachers to waste valuable time of young children each day in India. It is high time that India gets quality teachers in the form of leaders and entrepreneurs. It is striking that Narendra Modi has set the bar even higher by calling for India to become a global exporter of teachers.

To achieve massive reforms in education system, the priority should be to use technology to reach remote villages. Gujarat’s use of Video Conferencing and Satellite TV is remarkable. India has turned into low-quality service provider country after promising to be a knowledge-based economy. The aim of education should be to create entrepreneurs, artists, writers, scientists, innovators and thinkers and not just people who work in the call centres.

India must deregulate the setting up of institutes of higher education so that exceptional educational institutions can get rewarded for providing extraordinary products or services. Why should a Stanford or a Cambridge be prevented from setting up a campus in India. Why should the setting up of a new University by an Azim Premji or a NR Narayana Murthy require an act of Parliament? India needs innovative methods of instruction and new and variety of courses that would serve various niches of learners. Students should be allowed more choices so that innovation is not stifled. One size cannot fit all.

Educational institutions can only be run by the Government or non-profit organisations in India. This discourages good investments in the education sector from honest investors which can give rise to education institutions that encourage innovation which is the need of the hour.

Our education system has gotten into bigger mess in last 10 years and we see that the lack of education is blamed as the cause of all kind of evils in the society since hundreds of years. Rabindranath Tagore used to write long articles about the need to change the Indian education system. Unfortunately, we see a very few see changes in the system since the British era and the proof is a letter written to the PM in April 2011 by the head of Scientific Advisory Council, CN Rao where he states that have an examination system but not an education system. When will young people stop taking exams and do something worthwhile? That only time can tell.

Ironically, Minister of Education under Jawaharlal Nehru, MC Chagla, apparently disappointed with the state of education in our country had exclaimed:

“Our Constitution fathers did not intend that we just set up hovels, put students there, give untrained teachers, give them bad textbooks, no playgrounds, and say, we have complied with Article 45 and primary education is expanding… they meant that real education should be given to our children between the ages of 6 and 14″.

Nehru’s inheritors it seems have paid no heed, for under the UPA’s decade of decay has come to mean excessive focus on outlays and little on outcomes while education remains blighted.

Going broke for the National Advisory Council

Power without accountability is a very dangerous thing……..

The most important lesson we can learn from the NAC experiment is that never again should India allow it to happen. Power without accountability is a very dangerous thing and what the NAC has had is just that. Our tragedy is that our de facto prime minister made power without accountability so fashionable.

Tavleen Singh : Sun Jun 02 2013, 00:21 hrs


Ever since Sonia Gandhi set up her National Advisory Council (NAC) I have opposed it as a dangerously meddlesome extra-constitutional body. No country can be led by two prime ministers, no government can be led by two cabinets and it is India’s bad luck that we have had both.

In my ever humble opinion this is the reason why the Indian economy has gone from boom to bust in recent years. The economy is now growing at less than 5 per cent and for this I blame the NAC and its relentless efforts to impose the stamp of its leftist worldview on policy.

If proof were needed, it came last week in the interviews that Aruna Roy gave after she resigned from the NAC. Ms Roy was possibly the most influential of the jholawala types that Sonia appointed as her advisors, which makes what she says a reflection of what our de facto prime minister thinks.

Let me put before you here a small sample of her economic worldview. In an interview to Mint, Ms Roy said, “…policy is strongly influenced by the hands of rich people whose clear targets are profit and money, in which social welfare and even the concern for others plays a very small role. So all these CSRs (corporate social responsibility obligations) are not really looking at raising the levels of living of the people.”

Analyse this statement carefully and you will detect not just contempt for the private sector (which was directly responsible for the economic boom) but also the romantic fantasy that officials care more for the poor. What Ms Roy (and her ex-boss) appears not to have noticed is that the 300 million Indians who now constitute the Indian middle class are a direct product of the booming economy that was created by Indian corporations.

It was because of this boom that jobs got created outside government offices and moribund public sector companies. And, it was because of this boom that it was possible for the Prime Minister to accede over and over again to the demands made by the NAC for welfare programmes of uncertain merit.

There is no indication that the MNREGA created more jobs in rural India, only that it acted as a kind of dole. There are no indications that the horrendously expensive food security Bill will end malnutrition in children, and yet Ms Roy and her colleagues are determined to shove it down India’s throat. Luckily India is now so broke that we may never be able to afford it.

My primary objection to the NAC worldview is that it is based on the very flawed idea that the only people who ‘care for the poor’ are officials and jholawala NGO types. If there had been any truth in this, India would have been rid of poverty long, long ago.

My second objection to the NAC worldview is because of its efforts to divide society into categories of good and evil. So the rich are bad and the poor are good. Private companies are evil looters because they dare to make ‘profits’ and companies run by officials are good because they make no money at all.

When Ms Roy charges private corporations with not caring about “raising the levels of living of the people” she clearly has not noticed that the best way to do this is by creating jobs. It is now a matter of public record that the Sonia-Manmohan government has created almost no new jobs in the past 10 years. And, because of the Prime Minister having reverted to licence raj policies, the private sector will not be able to create the 15 million new jobs we need every year. Luckily nor will it be able to generate enough spare money for the NAC’s vast and very leaky welfare schemes. So it is a good time to leave Ms Roy, a very good time, but please spare us the platitudes.

The accidental side effect of Ms Roy’s interviews and her pontifications is that we now know for sure that there were serious differences between Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister on economic policies.

On his flight home last week the Prime Minister reiterated that there were no differences but this could have been because he did not know that he was being charged by a key member of Sonia’s kitchen cabinet of blocking the NAC’s grandiose welfare schemes. If only he had the courage to admit publicly that he had gone along with economic decisions that he knew were wrong.

The most important lesson we can learn from the NAC experiment is that never again should India allow it to happen. Power without accountability is a very dangerous thing and what the NAC has had is just that. Our tragedy is that our de facto prime minister made power without accountability so fashionable.

India’s stunningly failed education system

India has one university ranked in the top 500: the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. One solitary university ranked in the 400s — that’s all. China — a country which was as poor as India just three decades ago — has 42 in the top 500. India has ONE.

India’s population is larger than the combined population of North America, Latin America, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and Oceania. Together those have regions have 428 in the top 500 — and India has one.

By Atanu Dey

Poor Education System

Poor Education System

There are many reasons for one to despair about India but none is more heart-breaking than its poor education system. In fact, most development economists would agree that economic failure and a failed education system are causally linked.

Two large economies, India and the US, are polar opposites in this context.

The Academic Rankings of the World Universities (ARWU) report for 2012, conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, makes for depressing reading for anyone who cares about the Indian education system.

The US, as usual, makes the headlines. Leading the pack, the top five spots in the world rankings are American: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, and Cambridge. It does not stop there, of course. In the top 20, the US captures 17 spots; 53 in the top 100; 85 in the top 200; and so on. The US dominates the world in education.

The US rankings fill my heart with pride as I have been fortunate to have attended school in America. UC Berkeley is my alma mater — I learned economics there and received my PhD. I was a Reuters Fellow at Stanford. I got my master’s degree in computer science from Rutgers University (world rank 61.) But then my heart sinks with shame and sorrow when I look for India, my motherland, in the list.

India has one university ranked in the top 500: the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. One solitary university ranked in the 400s — that’s all. China — a country which was as poor as India just three decades ago — has 42 in the top 500. India has ONE. Read that and weep, if you have any love and regard for India.

India’s population is larger than the combined population of North America, Latin America, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and Oceania. Together those have regions have 428 in the top 500 — and India has one.

Reading that every Indian should hang his or her head in shame. What’s even more shameful is that a few hundred million Indians wouldn’t even be able to read that kind of report because they are just illiterate. But even those who can read, don’t bother to ask why this is so. Indians are not any stupider than people in the rest of the world. They appear to do quite well when given the opportunity outside India. So why don’t Indians do well in India?

The answer is obvious, simple and basic. Indians are not a free people. They are ruled by those who have no interest in India’s welfare. Their only interest is in enriching themselves. The reason India is poor education — as in other dimensions material dimensions — is because India’s is best described as a kakistocracy — rule by the most corrupt and the least principled.

India’s leaders, most of whom though not all, are capable of reading but are seemingly incapable of feeling shame.