Thursday 12 December 2013

Of a Sacrifice and a Sacrilege

Lance Naik Mohammed Firoz Khan of the Indian Army's 38 Rashtriya Rifles counter-insurgency unit postponed proceeding on leave for Eid this week to remain on patrol on the Line of Control (LC) in Jammu & Kashmir. A day before the festival, he was killed in heavy shelling by the Pakistan Army in Poonch sector of the frontier. The Pakistani violation was part of a near continuous series of unprovoked violations of the ceasefire by Pakistan Army units deployed on the LC. On that day a heavy exchange of fire began this morning at 10.40AM in the Krishna Ghati area in Poonch and Bhimber Gali area in Rajouri. 31-year-old Lance Naik Khan, who lived in Hyderabad, leaves behind his wife and two young children. 
Let us salute this great son of Hindustan! It is for us the citizens living in the comfort of the safety that our soldiers provide us through such supreme sacrifices, to make our lives worthy of these sacrifices. It is for us ordinary citizens to remember that Jammu and Kashmir is with us because brave young men and women have chosen to battle under harsh terrain, far away from their loved ones, enduring extreme weather and fighting a barbaric enemy from across the border and often betrayed by a treacherous political class from within the border. Every inch of our border has been sanctified by countless sacrifices made by families like that of Mohammed Firoz Khan. So let us honour the memory of this great son of India by rededicating ourselves to a prosperous and strong India and hope that with such strength emanating from all sections of the nation–not only from the soldiers but also from the polity and media- the alien aggressors will cease such unprovoked violations in the border.   

Meanwhile comfortably safe within the corridors of power, in JNU campus, a bunch of crackpot theorists calling themselves academicians conducted a seminar in honour of 'Mahishasur' – calling the demon 'a martyr' of Dravidian people, who was killed by an Aryan prostitute called 'Durga'.  Originally peddled by a party-hopping politician from Bihar this crackpot perversion has been embraced by a powerful cartel of academic anti-Hindu forces. Prof.Kancha Ilaiah a political science professor from Osmania University has been for some time making such crackpot racial theories and propagating them. Though he himself is not a Dalit, he is promoted by a US based organization called 'Dalit Freedom Network' (DFN) which in turn is part of an umbrella of organizations connected to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). CSW is run by extreme right wing politicians from Europe and US. It is quite amusing to see that in attacking Hindu culture and spirituality the ultra-left in India does not hesitate to make itself a puppet in the hands of string pullers belonging to the Western rightwing. Usually Hindus in their characteristic way may think that such utter nonsensical perversions are not even worthy of condemning even. However such an attitude of silence will only lead to the strengthening of these forces of darkness. And given the fact that our educational system has been specially designed to uproot us from our culture, we have a whole generation of cultural illiterates who often mistake rhetorical slogans for insightful perspectives. Hence attempts like the ones done by JNU 'academic' crackpots should be countered and condemned energetically in every possible way allowed in the democracy. 

Such motivated denigration of Goddess worship has been the bane of the collective psyche of the West. When James Lovelock an eminent independent scientist and Lynn Margulis the famed micro-biologist put forth the Gaia theory of life, which postulated that the planetary environment has actually co-evolved with life on earth, there was a marked hostility from the science establishment.  Michael Bond writes: 

Biologists in particular took umbrage. John Maynard Smith called Gaia hypothesis 'an evil religion'. Stephen Jay Gould dismissed it as "a metaphor, not a mechanism". Richard Dawkins argued it contradicted Darwinian evolution. Paul Ehrlich described Lovelock himself as 'radical and dangerous', while Robert May called him a 'holy fool'. (Michael Bond, The Living heart of things, New Scientist, Aug 24-30, 2013)   

Lovelock and Lynn bringing in the name 'Gaia' – the ancient Greek Goddess of the planet.  James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis stood their ground despite such an onslaught and the rest is now history in the annals of science. Decades later in 2009 James Lovelock explained his choice of the name 'Gaia' and its significance: 
Before 2004 the debate about Gaia concerned only me and a relatively small number of scientists, but now a proper understanding of the Earth as a living planet is a matter of life or death for billions of people, and extinction for a whole range of species. Unless we accept the Earth as alive, with us as a part of it, we may not know what to do or where to go as the ocean rises on a hot dry world. For this purpose the name Gaia is far more suitable for a vast live entity than some dull acronym based on rational scientific terms. In ancient Greece, Gaia was the goddess of the Earth. To many Greeks she was the most revered goddess of all... (James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning, Penguin UK, 2009)  

The very name of the Goddess even if used as a metaphor for a scientific view of the planetary life, is actually a revival for the West which has lost its pagan roots. This fact is now coming increasingly to the surface of the collective conscious of the West. Michael Ruse in the preface to the recent book on Gaia hypothesis brings this fact more explicitly:

I speak in my subtitle of Earth as a “pagan planet.” In one sense, such usage hardly demands comment. The great Greek philosophers, where we start our history of the idea of a living planet, obviously had little interest in the religious beliefs of illiterate tribesmen to the south of them, and did not know of Jesus Christ and His redeeming mission here on Earth, or of Muhammad and his life and meaning. Understood in this context, as something that stands outside the Abrahamic religions, by definition the birth of Gaia was the birth of a pagan idea. Today, as we shall learn, among the most enthusiastic of Gaia supporters are those who call themselves Pagans or neo-Pagans—I capitalize to distinguish them from the past—and often they look back to the Greeks as their inspiration. But I intend a little more by the term, namely, that we are talking of something—our home, the planet Earth—that has life, that has value, in its own right. It is significant that although, as we shall see, there have been and still are Christians who accept the Gaia hypothesis, there has often been tension (especially for Protestants) between Christian commitment and acceptance of Gaia. For Christians, most notably for those who take the sacred scriptures as the only basis for the true religion, only God has value and all else derives from Him.  Gaia is very much the opposing idea, the extended sense of Earth as something with intrinsic value, that interests me. One might easily say that atomism is as much a pagan idea as Gaia, and yet because in itself atomism does not contain the same value commitments as Gaia, the belief does not raise quite the same issues and passions. Understand therefore that I speak of Earth as a "pagan planet" precisely to highlight its vibrancy, its life, and its value that stems from this. (Michael Ruse, The Gaia Hypothesis Science on a Pagan Planet, The University of Chicago Press, 2013) 

Fortunately for us in India, we do not suffer like the Western civilization in reconnecting to our roots. Despite the best efforts of the dysfunctional education system and the foreign funded to denationalise us,  the Goddess veneration is still vibrant and alive. This land has for long preserved and well cherished the spiritual tradition of Divine Feminine. That explains why for the last four consecutive years Indians top the world in being environment friendly earth friendly consumers, as revealed by the annual global Green-index survey taken by National Geographic. Sacrifices of youths like Lance Naik Mohammed Firoz Khan is to preserve this India that is the gift to all life on planet Earth and the attempts of JNU crackpot perverts is also to destroy this India that is the incubator of all things eternally true, auspicious and beautiful for the entire planet.               

 Aravindan Neelakandan

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