1. FESTIVALS: Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej, falls on Vaishakh Shuddha Tritiya ( May 2 this year) , is one of the four days considered the most auspicious days for any new venture. (sade teen Muhurtas ) It is the birthday of Bhagwan Parasurama who is the sixth incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu, Veda Vyas and Lord Ganesha began to write Mahabharata on this day, on this day Goddess Annapoorna Devi was born and Bhagwan Rishabhdeva ended his yearlong fast.
The word "Akshaya" means never diminishing in Sanskrit and the day is believed to bring good luck and success. It is believed that if you do charity on this day, you will be blessed. Hence, new ventures, like starting a business, construction, major purchasing etc. are performed on Akshaya Tritiya.
Fasts are kept on this day and pujas are performed.
In Bengal, on the day of the Akshay Tritiya, "HalKhata" - a ceremony to start the new audit book is performed - with the worship of Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi. - Back to Top
2. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, CONSTANT: RSS CHIEF: At a function in Delhi to relaunch two Sangh publications in a magazine format, RSS chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat on 24th March underlined the need for change saying “vision needs to change with time… and this has been established”.
“Vision needs to change with time and this has been established… change is inevitable, this journey is tough… we have now grown…. used to difficult times,” Bhagwat said at the function to mark the relaunch of Organiser and Panchjanya.
Praising the Organiser and Panchjanya, Bhagwat referred to the “Ramjanmabhoomi movement” and said “people turned to these publications for the truth” about the movement.
Viveck Goenka, The Indian Express Group chairman and chief guest at the function, said his primary responsibility as a publisher has been to ensure “integrity of content” and “commitment to truth”.
Saying that the Organiser and Panchjanya “crystallize a set of thoughts that inspire a sweeping range of institutions,” Goenka said that relaunching them as magazines is “sound media strategy.”- Back to Top
3. SEWA & VYASA LAUNCHES FIGHT AGAINST MENACE OF DIABETES: Sewa International USA has partnered with VYASA (Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhan Samstha) to fight against the Diabetes by offering 20 hour yoga therapy sessions to pre-diabetic and Diabetic patients in Houston Area. This program is offered completely free as a service to community. The first of series of 6 camps started on 23rd March in Katy, a western suburb of Houston, where 11 participants took yoga therapy sessions by trained yoga therapist in guidance of Dr. Sudha Rajan, President of VYASA.
Dr. Sudha Rajan lighted the lamp and inaugurated the camp in presence of Shri Arvind Thekdi of Sewa and Shri Vishwaroopa of VYASA. Dr. Bala Prabhakar, a medical doctor from Katy area also graced the occasion.
4. 'DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NORTHEAST IS IGNORANCE-DRIVEN NOT HATE' : Incidents of discrimination against northeasterners living in different parts of the country are "ignorance driven" and not "hate driven", said Ajit Doval, former IB chief at the India International Centre Delhi on 26th March at a discussion on 'What ails our northeast policy?', organised by Solidarity with the Youth of Northeast (SYNE).
Echoing the same feeling Dr. Krishna Gopal, sah sarkaryavaha RSS who has worked in the northeast region talked of a holistic approach, saying there should be no generalisation about people from any part of the country and "everybody in Delhi or elsewhere is not bad".
"Certain incidents happening to the people from northeast are sad but then there should not be a generalisation, so it is important to strike a 'middle way' in order to assimilate the northeast with the rest of the country," Gopal told later.- Back to Top
5. KP YOUTH PROTESTS AGAINST RENAMING OF SHANKARACHARYA HILL TO SULEIMAN HILL: To protest against the conspiracy of Jammu and Kashmir Government along with Archeological Survey of India to change the name of Pious Hillock in Kashmir known since ages and till date as Shankaracharya Hill to Takht- e- Suleiman, a massive demonstration was organized by Youth 4 Panun kashmir (A Youth wing under Aegis of Panun Kashmir) near Collectors Office, Pune on 18th March.
The demonstration included chanting songs and bhajans in support of Shankaracharya temple. Members of all age groups of the Kashmiri Hindu Community in Pune along with the local Citizens of Pune and members of Shankaracharya Math in Pune participated in the demonstration.
Addressing the people, Rohit Bhat, Pune coordinator for Youth 4 Panun Kashmir said that similar protests were held in Delhi, Hyderabad , Bangalore and Jammu opposing the change in name of Holy Shankaracharya Hill, which is a plan undertaken by state government under pressure from the Jihadi elements. . - Back to Top
6. RAM MADHAV’S LECTURE AT BANGALORE ON UNEASY NEIGHBOURS’ (INDO-CHINA ISSUE) : RSS senior functionary Ram Madhav addressed a gathering on 23rd March evening at the Mythic Society Auditorium at Bangalore, on his new book UNEASY NEIGHBOURS, India and China after 50 years of the war.
The programme, organised by Manthana, a forum for Intellectual dialogue in Bangalore and attended by over 200 intellectuals was presided over by Sreedhar Rao, an expert of national security issue, who was former chief secretary on Sikkim. Some exerpts from his speech are, “We are made to believe by our governments that India & China had relationships and cultural linkages for thousands of years.When Hu Jintao visited India in 2010 he said India and China have been good friends in History for 2000 years and our relationship soured only after 1962. This is partly right and partly wrong.
This is because we never shared our borders as we had a buffer state in Tibet which lay between India and China. China became our neighbour only in 1952; this is after it annexed Tibet in 1950. Tibet gave a call for help to many countries including India, Britain and US. But they realized that no one would come to their rescue. When China annexed Tibet, India never protested. No one stood up and said that whats happening with the Tibetians was wrong.
I am trying to submit through this book that although things have changed, the mindset continues to remain the same. We Indians are idealists, simple at heart and truly believe to have good relationships with all our neighbours. Owning to this we treat all neighbours as same when no two neighbours are the same. In many aspects of International relations we are guided by romanticism, sloganeering and far removed from reality. Unfortunately International relations are all about realism and pragmatism. We have to be guided by our interests. It is here that 1962 becomes relevant as I propose in this book that we still do no understand our neighbour. ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ has become a article of faith but not based on reality.
Despite several inputs from intelligence that China had intruded into our territoty, Nehru lied to the nation that there was no such information. We were hiding facts from our own people. As evident, we cannot choose our neighbours and that’s a reality. Though we know something about Pakistan we still do not know much about China. We need to know China to live with them and not to fight them and that is the idea behind writing this book.” - Back to Top
7. BHARAT NOW POLIO-FREE: Bharat as well as WHO's southeast Asia region was certified polio-free on 27th March by an independent commission under the WHO (World Health Organization) certification process.
Polio eradication is one of the biggest public health successes of Bharat. From being one of the top three countries reporting polio, there hasn't been a single polio case in the country for the last three years.
Bharat's polio-free certification came along with that of 10 other countries in the South-East Asia region — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. A press release sent by the World Health Organization's Southeast Asia region said that this certification means that 80 per cent of the world's population now lives in certified polio-free regions.
"This is a momentous victory for the millions of health workers who have worked with governments, nongovernmental organizations, civil society and international partners to eradicate polio from the Region. It is a sign of what we can bequeath our children when we work together," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for the WHO South-East Asia Region. The door-to-door campaigns that clinched the battle against polio can now be used in other vaccination programmes, she added.- Back to Top
8. HINDUS COMMENDED BRITISH LIBRARY LONDON: Hindus have commended British Library London and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Mumbai for “reuniting” Mewar Ramayana, digitizing it and making it available online.
Said to be one of the finest surviving Ramayana manuscripts from 17th century carrying over 370 paintings, it was split between various organizations in United Kingdom (UK) and Bharat for over 150 years. Its’ over 600 folios are now digitally reunited in a three-year project with a British Library and CSMVS partnership, enabling wider access to a global audience. It was commissioned by Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar in 1649 and produced in his court studio at Udaipur.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, applauding British Library and CSMVS for this joint venture in a statement in Nevada (USA) urged world libraries and museums to undertake projects to explore the rich philosophical thought and wisdom offered by Hinduism and Hindu scriptures.
The British Library is the national library of UK and claims to be one of the world’s greatest research libraries. CSMVS, founded in early 1900s, claims to be one of the premier art and history museums in Bharat housing a world-class collection of over 60,000 artifacts from Asia and Europe. - Back to Top
9. HINDU-AMERICANS RANK TOP IN EDUCATION, INCOME: Hindu-Americans have the highest socioeconomic levels among all religions in the United States, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Both the 1965 Immigration Act and the more recent H1-B visa program set the table for Hindus to succeed. The former encouraged the immigration of professionals, particularly doctors and engineers, while the latter was designed to encourage the immigration of highly skilled guest workers.
The number of H1-B visas issued to Bharatiyas grew steadily in the late 1990s and early 2000s and then spiked again in 2007. In 2011, according to the study, Bharat accounted for more than half of all the H1-B visas granted.
The education capital of this group is phenomenal, said Khyati Joshi, an associate professor at the Fairleigh Dickinson School of Education in Teaneck, New Jersey. 85 percent of Hindu-Americans are college graduates, and 57 percent have some postgraduate education, nearly five times the national average.
Education levels largely correlate to income, and 48 percent of Hindu-American households have an income of $100,000 or more and 70 percent make at least $75,000. - Back to Top
10. NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA TO RETURN ALLEGEDLY STOLEN STATUE TO BHARAT: The National Gallery of Australia is preparing to return a bronze statue that was allegedly looted from a temple in Bharat. A statement from the Attorney-General's Department says the National Gallery has voluntarily removed the Shiva Nataraja, or Dancing Shiva, from display.
Bharatiya police believe the 900-year-old statue was stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu as part of a multi-million-dollar heist by disgraced New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
The statue has been on display at the Canberra gallery since 2008, when it was sold to the gallery by Kapoor for $5.6 million. Kapoor is currently on trial in Chennai for allegedly ordering the theft of 28 artefacts from two Bharatiya temples.
The gallery has maintained that it ran appropriate provenance checks before buying the statue and had said it would continue to display the piece while investigations continued. However, the Bharatiya government has made a formal request for the NGA to return the 900-year-old bronze figure of the Hindu deity, which has been on display in its first floor gallery since 2008. - Back to Top
11. BHARAT TEST FIRES LONG RANGE N-MISSILE LAUNCHED FROM UNDER SEA: In a significant step towards completing the nuclear triad available with a few nations, Bharat successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile launched from an underwater platform with a range of over 2,000 kms.
The missile, which can be launched from submarines, was test-fired on 24th March in the Bay of Bengal and all parameters were met, sources said. This is the longest range missile in the underwater category to have been developed by Bharat. With this, Bharat has developed the capability of launching long-range nuclear-capable missile from surface, air and underwater.
Defence Minister AK Antony has congratulated the team of scientists involved in the tests.
Launch from a submarine and integration of the three types of capabilities will mean completion of the nuclear triad, which is available only with a few countries like the US, France, Russia and China. The submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is being readied for deployment on various platforms including the around 6,000-tonne indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant which will soon be ready for sea trials, sources said.- Back to Top
12. FIJI TO HOLD NATIONAL HINDU CONFERENCE: Interest in participating in the first ever Fiji National Hindu Conference is growing, said Ashika Chandra of the World Hindu Council's Fiji chapter.
"People are making enquiries and registering their interest in taking part in an event which will not only recognize the contribution of the Bharatiya people to Fiji but also address social, economic, health and education issues as well," she said.
Ms Chandra said all major Hindu organisations such as the Sanatan Dharm, Arya Samaj, TISI Sangam, Gujarati Samaj, Sri Ramakrishna Mission, Art of Living and Brahma Kumaris would make presentations at the event.
"The conference program will have oral presentations and we also aim to publish all the conference papers and the copies will be available to government agencies and community workers, and also to all participants of the conference."
The conference will be held on April 12 and 13 at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi. It is organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Fiji.- Back to Top
13. DHARMA RAKSHA SANGAM AT HELD KOCHI: ‘Dharma Raksha Samgam’ a unique massive gathering of Hindu organisations was held at Kochi in Kerala on 23rd March. The event was organized by various Hindu organisations on the background of efforts of defaming Mata Amritanandamayi.
The Dharma Raksha Samgam was organized after about 30 years. In 1982, the first Hindu Samgam had been organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Kerala, which was a trend setter to the Hindu community of Kerala who were totally confused due to bad effects of Communist politics of more than 30 years. At that time Hindus who were neglecting the traditional rituals and even Ramayana Tradition of common households also came back on the right path.
Dharma Raksha Samgam was inaugurated by Swami Viswesara Theertha of Pejavar Mutt and presided by Swami Prakasananda of Sivagiri Mutt. Ashok Singhal, the chief patron of Vishwa Hindu Parishad made the Key note address in the presence of more than 20 Saints, who were religious and Dharmic Heads of Different Ashram and 40 Hindu Community Leaders and RSS Pranth Sanghchalak PEB.Menon and Swami Poornamruthanandapuri of Amritanandamayi Mutt, Swami Chidananda Puri, and Swami Vivikthananda Saraswathi of Chinmaya Mission.. E.S.Biju of Hindu AyikyaVedi welcomed all Cast and Community leaders. In between the program RSS Pranth Karyavah P.Gopalankutty master lead to take the Dharma Raksha Pratigya (The Pledge). - Back to Top
14. TWENTY YEARS CELEBRATION OF HINDUISM RADIO PROGRAM: Voice of Sanatan Hinduism Radio program has now completed 20 years of broadcasting. Looking back to the past 20 years the Houston Hindu Community started to build the foundations of many institutions and organizations to establish not only places of worship and teach Hindu Dharma, it also ventured into the media of radio. This was also a time and age when the Western world looked up to Sanatana Dharma for its teachings with accurate meaning and significance of traditions, festivals and rituals. A radio program to showcase the tenets of Hinduism was created by “Dheerga darshi” (Intuitive Instructor) Padmakant Khambhati. His vision was to explain the doctrines of Hinduism by sharing Vedic knowledge and share it on public media the richness of Hinduism and its philosophies. Hinduism alone is by itself a vast and ancient religion as a great diversified and yet subtly unified mass of spiritual thought and realization. For the past twenty years, it is one voice that has provided to communicate through public media not only the eminence of Hindu faith but also present melodious Bhajans, Music and Chants of Vedic Hinduism. - Back to Top
15. AN AFFECTION HOME FOR THE DESTITUTE CHILDREN- VIVEKANANDA AWASAM: Sri Vivekananda Awasam—a home for the orphaned children located at Bhainsa is providing much needed warmth and affection to them. These children, who lost their parents either in any accident, or in an unfortunate incident, longed for warmth, love and affection so that they could feel at home. And Seva Bharti is doing exactly that. By showering affection and love on them, Seva Bharti activists have made all the 18 kids staying her feel like home at the Awasam.
Bhainsa is a small but important business hub for cotton trade located in the tribal belt of Adilabad district on the Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border. The children are wonderful and working hard to be toppers in their respective classes. Seva Bharti has deputed a dedicated couple, whom the kids fondly call “Mataji” and “Acharya”, to look after them and manage the daily chores of the hostel.
Apart from an urge to learn vocational skills, these children have a natural flair for drawing and painting. Their collection ranges from a panoramic scene of a beautiful house amidst woods to the sketches of national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj etc.
This Awasam for these little heroes has been in their service since September 28, 1996. Till now, five children sponsored by the local business community are studying in intermediate college at Warangal, Bodhan and NIzamabad.
Two children of this Awasam secured highest score of 491 marks in 2004 Board Examinations. That was so far the highest score in the town and surrounding area. Contact: Sri Vivekananda Awasam, Bhainsa, Adilabad Dist (Andhra Pradesh, Bharat) PIN 504103 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org- Back to Top
16. PARLIAMENT BUILDING AT KABUL:The new parliament building in Afghanistan on an 84 acre plot on the outskirts of Kabul, near the historical landmark, the Amanulla Khan palace, is being built by Bharat. The exterior of the building is made of white marble from Heart and red granite from Bharat. Bharat has given development assistance of over 2 million US Dollars in Afghanistan while the overall cost of construction is about 700 crores.
17. RSS PAYS HOMAGE TO KHUSHWANT SINGH: RSS expressed its deep shock and sorrow at the demise Khushwant Singh. General Secretary Shri Bhyya ji (Suresh) Joshi said in his condolence message that the country had lost a veteran journalist and author who was a link between today and Bharat before independence by the demise of Shri Khushwant Singh.
“Through his bold and direct comments Shri Khushwant Singh has educated the people of India on almost every issue of national and social importance, in independent India. His interview of Shri Guruji, then Sarsanghachalak of RSS, published in “Illustrated weekly” speaks of his honesty and transparency”, he added.- Back to Top
18. ANAND MAHINDRA, LAKSHMI MITTAL AMONG WORLD'S GREATEST LEADERS: Bharatiya business honchos Anand Mahindra and Lakshmi Mittal are among the world's 50 greatest leaders, according to Fortune magazine. The list of leaders, which includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis, through their leadership are "energizing" their followers and making the world better, it said.
On the 40th spot is Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra and Mahindra group. "A third-generation corporate aristocrat, Mahindra has aggressively expanded the big conglomerate through acquisitions in autos, computer services, aeronautics, and more, while maintaining the company's standing as one of Bharat's most sought-after employers.
Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal secured the 48th rank. The CEO of ArcelorMittal created the world's largest steelmaker by "pursuing a decades-long, impossibly audacious plan of consolidation.
The list features Bharatiya origin engineer Arati Prabhakar, 55 who heads the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).- Back to Top
19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Visitors: Shridhar Damle, USA
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Know that all this, whatever moves in this moving world, is enveloped by God. Therefore find your enjoyment in renunciation; do not covet what belongs to others. - Ishavasya Upanishad- Back to Top
JAI SHREE RAM
NOSTALGIA MUSTN’T DEFINE NALANDA
The study of the evolution of Indic civilisation, and how it influenced a number of spiritual movements across the world, is what a university of this kind must advance
The governing idea behind the revival of Nalanda University should not merely be to promote ‘international understanding’, which in any case means a vague-nothing that allows projects to flounder or to be besieged with ideas and intentions that eventually cloud the founding ideal of any such efforts. In any case, the promotion of ‘international understanding’ has been done in the past by India, especially in her Nehruvian heydays, without any tangible returns or takeaways. Nalanda is indeed about nostalgia, but a nostalgia that needs to be rooted in pragmatism, hard strategy and a determined implementing machinery that aspires to see India regain her cultural and civilisational foothold, first, in her immediate neighbourhood and then gradually the world over.
In order to truly impart such a project with a civilisational vision and direction, the first imperative is to extract it from the clutches of an academic and intellectual coterie which is, at best, shallow in its knowledge of the Indian soul and spirit and, at its worst, has been at the forefront of perennially misrepresenting India or tweaking the reading of her polity and civilisation to suit certain interested sections. Certainly such a grand vision cannot be left to the whims, tantrums and dictates of a single individual, however decorated or celebrated.
It is no one's case that Nalanda be developed into an exact replica of its more famous past avatar that would, in any case, be impossible in the present age of a deficient cultural and civilisational vision and understanding, especially among a section of our present policymakers. But a certain physical resemblance and a certain similarity in approach and spirit can truly impart it a unique identity. Simply burdening it with sundry subjects in the name of modernity or of internationalism will defeat the actual vision of the effort. For Nalanda, if it is to rise again as a principal centre of learning should have the capacity to offer some direction, some alternate approaches to the study of India, to the understanding of her myriad cultural-intellectual manifestations and more importantly to the understanding of her past stature and future potentialities as a world-power.
Nalanda and a number of other established universities of that epoch essentially signified and symbolised India's world reach. It was a world reach which ensured the extension of Indian civilisation in all directions overcoming the mightiest barriers of the old world. These institutions of higher learning were centres which united, no subject seems to have been discarded, no pupil rejected on account of belief and some of the greatest patrons of these centres were Hindu kings who generously supported these great and multifaceted efforts. Studies of the past Indian polity, in an actual light and not under the influence of the spirit of deconstructionism, ought to become one of the major areas of studies in the course of years in such an institutional of learning.
The study of the evolution of Indic civilisation, of the evolution of Indic thought, its worldwide spread and how it influenced and shaped a number of religious and spiritual movements and trends is what a university of this kind must advance, institutionalize and give scope to. Through the growth of such a framework of study and research can such an institution eventually shape the study of India in a greater manner and in course of time spawn other institutions that shall further this study from an Indic perspective. A generation of young scholars must be allowed space to train to themselves in such institutions in order to lay a sound foundation for the study of India.
In the Indic civilisational memory Nalanda survives as an enduring symbol of the perpetual struggle between civilisation and barbarism. It is this fundamental aspect of its symbolism that needs recognition, the present academic coterie however, has displayed a limited understanding and appreciation of such a symbolism and of such a grand vision. (Op Ed Daily Pioneer March 17, 2014)- Back to Top
DECLASSIFYING 1962 WAR REPORT WILL HELP THE ESTABLISHMENT LEARN FROM MISTAKES
India's reaction to the web publication of the Henderson Brooks report, the official study of its debacle in the 1962 Sino-Indian war, has been predictable. It has moved to block online access to the report, a curiously anachronistic response in the era of WikiLeaks when copies can be proliferated endlessly across the internet. Instead it should make the report public, to enable a debate on how the greatest military debacle in the history of independent India could have taken place.
Most democracies declassify secret documents after a reasonable period of 25-30 years. It's time India too adopted such a policy, which would enable the building of an institutional memory as well as a review of mistakes that may have been committed in the past. By refusing to examine past mistakes, we are condemned to repeating them. It's arguable that release of the report when it was compiled in 1963 may have had a demoralising effect on the nation fresh from its defeat. But half a century later, the government's plea that it contains "sensitive information" and knowledge of its contents could still jeopardise national security is weak.
Making the report public will allow both the military and political leadership to learn from miscalculations and correct deficiencies which frequently get exposed now whenever the army is caught unprepared on the Chinese flank. The government's anxiety to keep the report under wraps reflects its often passive-aggressive approach towards China, which shares common features with Jawaharlal Nehru's catastrophic 'forward policy'. While there is little urgency in strengthening defences along the Line of Actual Control, the establishment goes on a hyper-aggressive mode with every instance of so-called Chinese incursion.
Declassifying the report, following recommendations of the 2006 Veerappa Moily commission, will be an opportunity to revisit past China policy which should now hinge on a more flexible approach to the border dispute. Instead of displaying unbending cartographic nationalism, New Delhi must take up the old Chinese proposal on a territorial swap involving eastern and western sectors. A pragmatic negotiating position, built by political consensus, should settle the dispute once and for all. What must also end is the culture of suspicion between military and civilian leaderships that Henderson Brooks reportedly laid bare, with the political class and bureaucracy integrating the armed forces into decision-making on defence matters. (Editorial, Times Of India, March 19, 2014)- Back to Top
THINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED
Attack on Hindu temple in Pakistan worrisome
The attack on a Hindu temple in Pakistan during Holi is only the latest in a series of such incidents and underscores the continued persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic. This trend is equally the product of an increasingly radicalised Pakistani society, as much as it is the fatal consequence of an infirm state mechanism incapable of ensuring law and order. Facts are few at this point, but from what has been reported in the Pakistani Press, it seems like anti-social elements leveraged both factors to wreak havoc. Saturday's events have been portrayed as the work of a reactionary mob driven to violence, following reports of a Hindu man allegedly desecrating the Quran. That the allegation was widely publicised via mobile phone messages and broadcast on local television, points to a pre-planned conspiracy. The theory gains heft when one takes into consideration an FIR reportedly filed by the Hindu accused only days before, regarding a robbery in his home. Moreover, even if one were to presume that the accused wilfully resorted to what can only be described as suicidal behaviour — the desecration of the Quran — it still does not justify the savage attack on the temple complex. It also raises serious questions about local law enforcement authorities who withered away when they faced the frenzied mob. That they, nevertheless, managed to save the accused from the blood-thirsty crowd is perhaps the only saving grace in this situation. Unsurprisingly, Saturday's incident in Larkana, Sindh, also fuelled communal tensions in other parts of the Province and in neighbouring Balochistan: Protesters clashed with the police, Hindu shops were gutted and curfews imposed. Together, both Provinces are home to most of Pakistan's Hindu minority community, which numbers about two million people. Tragically, reports of minority persecution — from land grab and extortion to targeted killings and forced conversions — there are routine.
Of course, the Hindus in Pakistan are not the only minorities who live in the shadow of perpetual fear; that country's Christians and Jews receive an equally raw deal. In fact, the attack on the Larkana temple complex is reminiscent of the two suicide blasts at a church in Peshawar that killed more than 78 people in September 2013. Later in November that year, a police officer guarding another church in the same city was killed, while in January this year a security personnel on duty outside a temple in Peshawar was shot dead. As is inevitable, the scourge of intolerance has now also victimised Pakistan's Muslim minorities, with the country's hardline Sunni groups gunning for Shias and Ahmediyyas for not conforming to the former’s puritanical version of Islam. Perhaps, the only glimmer of hope lies in the fact that in recent times, attacks on minorities have been condemned by large sections of the Pakistani intelligentsia, political class and even some Muslim clerics. (Editorial, Daily Pioneer March 19, 2014)- Back to Top