Obituaries

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Re: Obituaries

Postby Sandeep » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:20 am

That is beautifully articulated, about YSR. I can see what Sandeep is saying about YSR, which jives with this quite well. I must admit that I was unaware that he was THIS good, though I knew he was much better an administrator/politician than I initially expected him to be. AP did lose a leader.


The best part of YSR is the will with which he kept all his promises. At first it did seem it is too much and just like Jay I hated the Idea of free electricity but go deep into it, you will understand that a lot of electricity is being tapped in rural areas illegally with out any meters. And anyways farmers never pay electric charges (majority of them because of their inability). So, why not give them electricity free of charge till we provide some income source for them? The difference between CBN and YSR lies there. CBN went ahead and made sure that the electricity supply is cut to all of them who didn't pay electricity charges without providing income source to poor farmers who were dependent only on monsoons. YSR understood their problem and acted very intelligently. Government didn't have additional burden because of this as the electricity charges were anyways not paid. Very unconventional but very effective

Another fine example is his auction of government lands and regularizing all disputed lands to raise funds for irrigation project. No where in India were government lands so blatantly auctioned for crores. There was wide spread criticism that valuable lands which should have belong to farmers are being auctioned. But he went ahead with steel grit and even auctioned lands for as high as 20 crores per acre during the real estate boom which provided valuable funds to complete irrigation projects. He increased the registration fees etc too. He regularized majority of the lands which were under dispute (between government and people over the ownership) for atleast two decades and raised thousands of crores through registration fees. He was very very shrewd and today 18 lakh acres additionally came in cultivation because of the projects he constructed through this money.

He is a true definition for the saying "where there is a will there is a way"

PS : I don't claim YSR to be a statesman or a clean leader. But through his experience of 30 years (it is a record that he never lost an election in 30 years) he understood the nuances of politics, bureaucracy etc and used "Robinhood" type of politics (take from rich and satisfy poor) to intelligently create wealth to serve poor. It is a tribute to him that he was able to arrange such huge amounts without raising taxes in the last five years. 20 to 30 years down the line may be he will not be placed along side big leaders as visionaries but go to any poor person in AP and he will explain you the importance of YSR in their lives. The number of people who wanted to have a last glimpse of his is a testimony to his popularity. Go Jagan, implement your father's dream of making AP a Haritandhra Pradesh.

YSR's last journey
YSR's last journey1
YSR's last journey2
YSR's last journey3

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Re: Obituaries

Postby puneets » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:22 am

Interesting discussion.

Can someone explain me the reason behind the death of over 100 people in AP as a result of YSR's death ? Sounds bizarre ! Is this report true, or is the media attributing normal deaths to YSR's crash incident ?

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Re: Obituaries

Postby jayakris » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:43 am

It is true, puneets. There may be some media exaggeration of numbers but there are enough actual cases documented already. See this report in the Telegraph, Kolkata -
Andhra bleeds in death wish - Suicides, heart attacks cause alarm
Psychiatrists have labelled the deaths fatalistic suicides, which appear to have sprung from a unique socio-cultural milieu that seems to be shared by Tamil Nadu. They said such suicides occur in certain social environments when individuals believe there is no way their lives can improve.

It is very diffuclt for most of us to understand how hopeless the rural poor are. There are so many rural (and urban) poor who have no idea what they are in this world for, have hardly any confidence in their own abilities to make a living for themselves, and live on with no control on their lives - day to day. It is not that far-fetched to understand how a man who got his first break in life through some scheme from YSR could well decide to give up his life in sudden loss of hope.

One more case on how badly our country and her governments have failed the people over decades that has left them in such a bad state of despair and hopelessness .. It is also a evidence, I suppose, on how much YSR touched some people in the villages and brought them some hope with the gazillion schemes he started. Even if some of those schemes were not economically viable or weren't going to survive in the long run, they did manage to help some people and, more importantly, brought something new in their lives which they never had - some hope.

Jay

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Re: Obituaries

Postby Sandeep » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:00 am

Jay, I am very happy that you are trying to understand what YSR was to AP with open mind. I was very disappointed with your evangelist article (though it might be true), because that was hardly anything what he was. He can be remembered for many more things than that. And your last sentence summarizes everything what I was trying to tell, some of his schemes might not be economically viable but they have provided a ray of hope for millions of people.

PS : Some of the farmers I met hardly has savings of Rs.2000-5000 per year!! That is their life. And all of a sudden they can take treatment in a private hospital, enjoy three meals a day, free electricity and educate their children under some scheme. Some of their suicidal reactions can be understood. But at the same time, I am not sure if all the cardiac arrests were because of this news.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby shibi » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:09 am

Jay, I should not have used the word ‘rhetoric’. Many of the things you have written on the subject were subtle but carried clear messages. Anyway, sorry for the wrong choice of the word.

India is not a poor country. There are many rich Indians and there is a growing middle class having much larger disposable income than before. But Indians generally aren’t very generous while contributing for charity. While there are many organisations in India doing good charity work, there is scope for much more.

US spends about 1.85% of their GDP on charity i.e. over US$250 Billion per year. It is estimated that low-income households in the US spend around 4.5% of their income on charity and many Christians contribute 10% (called tithing) or more of their income. I don’t know how much of this money goes outside the country. But India gets around $0.6 billion a year, which is only 0.25% of total US charity funds and considering the fact that every one in six of humans live in India, it isn’t much. So we cannot reasonably say that US is targeting India will all their money.

As per official figures, Indian organisations get around $2.5 billion a year from around the world. While a large part of it goes to Christian organisations, various other religious/ secular organisations benefit. For e.g., Sathya Sai foundation, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Dalai Lama Foundation etc. get large contributions. How much do Indians contribute to charity? I have no idea but I think 0.1% of GDP could be close to reality and since India’s GDP is $1.25 trillion ($3.2 trillion in PPP terms) it will amount to $1.25 billion a year. So while overseas funds of $2.5 billion may seem large, if Indians were to contribute 1% of GDP to charity (which should be a fair contribution) i.e. $12.5 billion a year, the foreign contribution will not appear big. In essence, we Indians are not very generous when it comes to giving back to society and why blame the west for our stinginess?

For instance, take the case of Infosys Foundation, which makes a lot of noise with Narayana Murty and Sudha Murty preaching the virtues of giving to the poor. Murty family holds 7.5% stake in Infosys and since the market capitalisation of Infosys is around 80 thousand crore, their asset works out to be around 6 thousand crore. How much have they contributed to charity to date? Perhaps 10 crores (it was 4 crores from 1996 to 2005) which is not bad but it is less than 0.2% of their assets. But take the case of Chuck Feeny, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet (who gave away $ 37 billion or say 1.8 lakh crores to Gates foundation) and many others who have contributed mind-boggling sums to charity. The Murty family might be among the better ones in India in terms of monetary contributions to the society, but it is still insignificant compared to their assets.

The problem with Indians is that we would contribute generously for building a temple (or for that matter a church or a mosque) because we would like to see something tangible, like a building. We then say that we have contributed to God(s) and it is up to him/ them to take care of the poor, after all he made them poor and how can we stand against God’s will. We might also contribute for the construction of a wing of the hospital/ school if they agree to name it after us/ our family. But when it comes to feeding the poor, caring the sick & destitute etc. we aren’t that good because the food/ medicines get spent and people die and there is nothing tangible for others to see.

The solution lies with us. We should start contributing more to the society (we Indians are poor is no longer an acceptable excuse) and then we will find that we no longer need any foreign funds or the foreign funds will become insignificant. How may Indians actually set aside a part of their assets to charity once they die (which is a normal practice in many western countries)? In India 99.9% percent of the time, 100% of the estate goes to the children or to some close relative. Our social commitment is woefully inadequate.

Now coming to the conversion issue. From the first census to the latest, statistics show that the percentage of Christians in India hasn’t increased, in fact it has stayed stable or has even decreased. So where is the question of mass conversions some people are talking about? One can argue that the Govt. statistics doesn’t tell the truth. The latest census (2001) was taken while BJP was in power, so it is not a question of Congress showing skewed data at the behest of Sonia Gandhi. If large-scale conversions have taken place as alleged, why isn’t it reflected in the data? Maybe many of these people have lied about the religious affiliations. Why? One plausible reason could be that low caste Hindus who convert to Christianity loose their reservation rights (yes, it is true). Another reason could be that they don’t declare it for the fear of persecution.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby Varma » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:46 pm

Sandeep,

Obviously I have not followed YSR well enough. Everything aside, I have never seen the AP public paying this kind of a tribute to ANY leader. The closest that comes to my mind is Indira Gandhi. Even in comparison with her, YSR seems to be way ahead in terms of popularity.

Thanks for your effort in giving out all the details. But personally, I would prefer Purandhareswari (NTR's daughter) to be the next CM. She seems to be extremely composed, articulate and care a lot about the state. The experience, or lack there of, I was mentioning about Jagan is not to run the government. I am more worried about him handling all the seasoned goons at a later stage. Right now, everyone will approve for him to be the CM because of the situation. When things calm down, they want things to go their way. I am not sure if he has it in him to ward off that influence. In addition to that, I am also not sure if he has the same passion as YSR.

- Varma

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Re: Obituaries

Postby jayakris » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:39 pm

Shibi, you raised an issue that is so dear to me - the "giving" habit of Indians - particularly Hindus. You are mostly correct in what you say, but I will add a few comments ..
shibi wrote:India is not a poor country. There are many rich Indians and there is a growing middle class having much larger disposable income than before. But Indians generally aren’t very generous while contributing for charity. While there are many organisations in India doing good charity work, there is scope for much more.

Yes, Indians do not do this. Not having a religious set-up with any real or implicit control on people (for 80% of population, the Hindus) is a big reason. I assume people of other religions, say Christians, also do not do religious charity to the level their counterparts do in other countries as tithe - again possibly influenced by the behavior of the people of majority religion!! - but the Christians give so much more than the Hindus to the charitable activities organized by religious institutions.
US spends about 1.85% of their GDP on charity i.e. over US$250 Billion per year. It is estimated that low-income households in the US spend around 4.5% of their income on charity and many Christians contribute 10% (called tithing) or more of their income. I don’t know how much of this money goes outside the country. But India gets around $0.6 billion a year, which is only 0.25% of total US charity funds and considering the fact that every one in six of humans live in India, it isn’t much. So we cannot reasonably say that US is targeting India will all their money.

I didn't say that the US or anybody is "targeting" India. First of all, "targeting" is not a word I would use, as it implies some bad intentions. Yes, Vatican and other churches do take India as THE most important place where the Christianity has to be spread. They don't do that with any malice at all. The point is that I do not believe there is ANYTHING wrong in Christians from abroad trying to tell Indians to change their religion, and I do not believe that the charitable activities that goes with evangelization are done as a "trick" in the minds of the people contributing the money either. What *is* wrong in their wanting to spread the word they believe in, and do it with charity??? ... Shibi, you may find it hard to believe, but I am being very honest when I say this - every word of it.

I only complained about the tough spot that leaves the Hindus in. A helpless spot because the Indian philosophy later called Hinduism, is just not founded on similar principles as the western "religions". I am saying it in the broader perspective of the political economy that goes with the religion, and not just about conversion. The old Indian systems were not like the western setup of the religion's having poilitical/economic control. The society was not set up based on individual wealth creation, but rather on doing the duty they were the best-suited to do. Sure the Hindu treatises always acknowledged the human tendencies towards individualism, and they did not have an easy solution to prevent it -- so the high principle of "chAtuRvaRNyam" (the four color societal classification) which was to set up a society of people doing what they were best suited to do. This is the precise reason why bhagavatgIta has Krishna, saying "I made chAturvaRNyam" during the moments when he was being one with the universe to pass on wisdom to Arjuna! -- but I digress ... As some of the scientific purANAs even worried, individual "pursuit of happiness" and wealth creation were bound to happen, and the classification based on work suitability was bound to become a feudal system based on birth-rights. The Brahmins who were well-defined as the ones not to ever think of creating wealth but to be the "professors" of the science (the vEdAs, later called "religious" texts by westerners once they reached India) ended up as the ones with money and power! ... But it still did not result in centralized religious control and no Indian brahmin really ever became powerful enough for a national or regional economic set-up with taxation going straight to the religious setup. With increasing world interactions, once other places in the world developed different individualistic "wealth creation" systems/religions and influenced the Indian civilization that already existed for millenia before, the writing was on the wall that the Indian system needed to evolve to one where the religion was powerful at the economic/political level. That never happened and it was not going to happen under the Indian philosophies that came to be called Hindusim. This is Indian history as per Jay (who is not a historian of any hue :) ) - and it is amateurish to the core, I know!

Back to the charity matter, the fact is that unless some level of peer-pressure is there, as exerted explicitly and implicitly by say the church, and the society gets conditioned to giving to charity, what people would give to charity is simply what the Hindus give in India - which is, pretty much "minuscule"!! .. In other words, there is nothing in the Indian genes that make Indians to be any less compassionate/helpful to others compared to the foreign genes! .. It is well documented that any Brahmin sadhu who walked into any house would get food and accommodation anywhere in India, even as recent as a few decades back (not so much now!). In a society where people had reduced expectations on wealth creation and pursuit of happiness, charity was not a big issue, really. People were happy with what they had and there was enough food and other things to go around. The malayalis know the legend of 'mAVEli nADu vANIdum kAlam' ('the times when mahAbali ruled KErala') that ONam celebration is about. It is not a lie that such systems existed in India - and it is documented quite well by foreign traveler diaries over thousands of years. India was such a country over millenia, but once the ideas of individual wealth creation and "savings" came in, as in the western countries, THEN you needed charitable contribution systems of the kind the powerful religious institutions set up in the Christian and Muslim countries. That was never there in India.

The worst problem is that the secular constitution of India will never allow the Hindus institutions to ever get any political or economic power and to influence (even subtly force) Hindus to GIVE a portion of their wealth to the religious institutions to be used for charity. Indian state cannot allow powerful religious systems set up with national laws while say the Christians do not have such an explicit church setup that controls them, despite the fact that they don't need it, because the religious control and influence is in-built .. Who is going to ever tell the Hindu and nudge him/her to give? .. So, all we have for the Hindus to bring out charity are uncoordinated efforts by SathyaSai, Amritanandamayi, Swaminarayan etc .. "Drops in the bucket" in the larger picture, really, though they are all huge institutions.

I do not believe the Christians and Muslims ever think of the unwinnable situation the majority religion is facing, on the institutional front. None of this has anything to do with the spiritual aspects of the religions or any relative merits among them or whether one likes/hates others' religions, which is the direction in which everybody first thinks. I am speaking just plain facts and reality.

Yes, I personally agree with the Indian philosophies/science of human reality because the definitions of God and universe are things my scientific/logical background can agree with (and I can be at peace without finding conflicts with the definitions in Christianity and Islam either). To me, it would be a pity to lose the great philosophies as people look at them as just a "relgion" that you convert out of, under relentless global pressure from the socio/economic operations of world religions, which impart pressure not due to any malice but only the belief in the good in their religion! -- What I call, "a tough spot" .. I know I sound holier-than-thou there but this is the reality to me.

As per official figures, Indian organisations get around $2.5 billion a year from around the world. While a large part of it goes to Christian organisations, various other religious/ secular organisations benefit. For e.g., Sathya Sai foundation, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Dalai Lama Foundation etc. get large contributions. How much do Indians contribute to charity? I have no idea but I think 0.1% of GDP could be close to reality and since India’s GDP is $1.25 trillion ($3.2 trillion in PPP terms) it will amount to $1.25 billion a year. So while overseas funds of $2.5 billion may seem large, if Indians were to contribute 1% of GDP to charity (which should be a fair contribution) i.e. $12.5 billion a year, the foreign contribution will not appear big. In essence, we Indians are not very generous when it comes to giving back to society and why blame the west for our stinginess?


Terrific numbers. I agree with you. I would totally support a tax code that simply takes an extra percent as "tithe" (though not 10% that the word comes from, but say 1 or 2) from Hindus, Sikhs etc, and give it on some sort of formulas for charitable religious activities. If the church would agree, let the Christian contributions to church also be through a line item added to the tax forms (there are European governments who facilitate tithe like this, right?) .. If the government cannot get motivated to do charitable work, let the religions do it. But let it be from ALL religions, not just those which get funds from abroad. But the Indian constitution may not allow the state doing something like that (though it does seem to provide for the state to run temples and steal the money - and place nonbelievers in temple boards like in AP under YSR and Kerala under the communists) ..

The problem with Indians is that we would contribute generously for building a temple (or for that matter a church or a mosque) because we would like to see something tangible, like a building.

Oh boy, do I agree with you! .. Absolutely. As I have done fundraising for so many cultural and religious activities in the US, I know how the Indians behave, and it is no different at all from India. I know that I can raise $10000 from 10 people in the next hour for an ayyappa temple in L.A., while not even 3 of them would not give $250 each to support a leukemia patient in Kochi.

I also find it easier to raise funds for a "Hindu" cultural program, let us say to bring a speaker Vedic mathematics from Kerala, from my Christian friends than from the Hindus. I pick up the phone and call, and I can get a $250 commitment on the spot form a Christian malayali friend who is so much more used to keeping a noticeable portion of their income for such activities. I ask a Hindu friend who earns $150K for a $50 for the same talk and my strike rate would be 1 in 3. I know so many of my Hindu friends with over $200K annual income who have charitable contributions under $500 a year. That is 0.25 percent of their income! ... My Christian friend may not be interested in coming to hear the Vedic math talk - but he would just give me the $250, as he is conditioned better to give. He also knows he can call me later when he has the cancer drive at the Church and get my contribution for that, because I am by now conditioned to give a bit more than I used to earlier. That is a system of "giving" that has evolved in a small group. Easy to do that with a Christian who knows about its importance, than a Hindu, who has no idea about it, has never seen it done, and has never heard a priest or a community leader speaking (without being laughed off the stage) about giving 3% of the income to charity without much calculations! You see, no peer-pressure from anywhere, on a Hindu to give .. And no conditioning to give.

This is all not to say that Hindus do not give at all. There are many who give, and some communities among Hindus are known for giving and are well-conditioned for that -- the Gujaratis are so well-known, and among NRIs, AP doctors are so much known for it.

Man, we have digressed so far from YSR ..

Jay

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Re: Obituaries

Postby Sandeep » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:46 pm

Purandhareswari is good but she is no way a leader. She is some one like Manmohan Singh but the Congress still needs some one like Sonia Gandhi to win elections. I doubt it big time if she can reach her voice to the poor. If some one half good as YSR was there in the party Purandareswari would have been a good choice. Other than YS Jagan I don't see anyone capable of reaching the lofty heights of YSR in terms of gaining mass image in the present Congress leaders in AP. It is almost certain now that he will be the next CM. If not take it for granted that Congress will be a distant third behind TDP and PRP in the next elections. I even doubt if they can be in power for the next 5 years.

YSR is very clever, only who are loyal to him are MLAs and ministers today. They will continue their loyalty to YS Jagan also even after the current emotions settle down. And YS Jagan himself (over the past 5 years) has developed a cadre much more than any present congress leader in AP. He is all set. The below two quotes should summarize what will happen if Jagan is not made the CM\

In contrast, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy appeared in a belligerent mood and threatened to split the party if Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy was not made the Congress legislative party (CLP) leader. “If he is not made the CLP leader, we will not hesitate to quit the Congress and take away a major chunk of party legislators,” he said. He went to the extent of claiming that it was the intervention of Mr. Jaganmohan that ensured him a cabinet berth. “When he is not made the CLP leader, why should I continue as a Minister,” he noted.


According to party sources, young legislators were pitching for Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy. “There are over 100 young legislators, who are die-hard fans of Dr. Reddy. How can we continue our political career. There is every need for us to project Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy as the Chief Minister. We are going to convey our feelings to the high command,” a senior party legislator remarked.


http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article14715.ece

PS : During 2004 elections in the same forum I have posted about YSR and how he is going to defeat Naidu and the rise of a huge leader in YSR when the entire national press was rooting for Naidu to win the elections (because of the same media may were shocked when he lost) and today I once again see a great leader in YS Jagan. If he is made the CM he will prove his mettle and become one of the best leaders in India (he will also be easily the most corrupt leader ever). I don't seem to find the post but I clearly remember writing something about it in Sania's thread.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby shibi » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:45 pm

Jay, if you think that Hinduism requires a more centralized religious control system, I think you are making a mistake. The western Christian world has seen the great ills when religion became as strong as or even stronger than the state. That is why today there is a strong urge in the west to keep the state and religion distinct, with some countries even going to the extent of banning religious symbolism (like wearing a cross) in public. The Islamic world faces the same problem, as there is an ongoing struggle between the state and religion with some people wanting the religious head/ body take over control of the state (as in Iran). This is a very dangerous trend and I hope Hinduism doesn’t fall into that temptation. You may not be advocating religion playing a leading role on the state level but religions tend to grab more power than we give them.

I think religion is a personal thing and it is totally up to an individual to choose how he lives. It is ok if someone (a priest) to say this is the way to live, but his responsibility should end right there. He should never be made the enforcer. I think the talk of power of the church on the laity in Kerala is exaggerated. Even the church wants to believe that it still holds power but people are actually educated to make their own decisions.

I agree with you that a Christian or Muslim may not understand that the concerns of a Hindu on the conversion as he feels that he isn’t doing anything wrong. At the same time, there is a relentless (and rather unjustified) talk of money playing a major role in conversions. A Christian worker (I mean the majority) does not consider charity a front for conversion, as he feels that he is duty bound to take care of the sick, feed the poor etc. He may talk about god and his beliefs, which is also considered his duty. While it may be possible to entice someone to change his name to signify a change of religion, it is much more difficult to change someone’s heart. If a person changes religion for money, you need to keep a constant or increasing supply of money/ benefits to keep him there.

I can understand the frustration of a Hindu, especially someone who has studied it in some depth, to sees people leaving it. Hinduism is great philosophy and one should wonder at the great wisdom displayed by those ancient sages. Whereas Christianity, a Middle East religion as you put it, may seem very shallow. How can someone discard such great ‘way of life’ to something inferior is a genuine question- so it must be money doing the trick! Christianity is simple and it is based on one’s personal relationship with Christ. While it may look foolish from outside, it has lot of vibrancy, life and power. And the good news is that it is free and you don’t have to struggle to achieve it. One may not be learned and may not know many things of the world but God gives one such a peace that surpasses all understanding. That’s why some Christians want to share their joy with their friends and relatives, not because they are interested in the number game. I know you must be smiling while reading this as it may seem very foolish but I hope and pray that you too will experience it :-).

Talking of giving to charity, Christians in Kerala belonging to traditional churches aren’t very generous in giving. It is only the Pentecostal/ evangelical Christians who do not have problem in giving a part of their income regularly. Certainly there are many Hindu charities that do wonderful job in serving people.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby jayakris » Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:49 pm

We are on the same page on this. I do not want Hindu religion to ever become strong and centralized, as it will only cause more conflicts with Christianity and Islam where there are some level of (implicit) control by the church. This is why I talked about the government being the conduit to priming charitable and "giving" activities in Hinduism (and other religions) by using individuals' deep interest in spreading the word on their religion to the poor. That requires a nuanced definition of "secularism" which is particularly needed in India that has quite a different native belief system (HInduism). But our "copy-cat" constitution (my near-disdain of it being well-documented elsewhere in this forum) does not even consider that the chief reasons for "secularism" in the western countries and the fear of the church's influence in the economic/political power structure etc, had no relevance to the majority Indians' system. So there was/is a need to get creative in the definition of secularism. One quick thought I had was to allow the state to be actively involved in balancing the issues and allowing each "religion" to spread their word and leave people to decide what they want to do without the charitable help (money/ medicine/ education to survive) being the biggest reason for one changing ones' faith. But a constitution that explicitly brings the state into the economic side of religious activities is still a path beset with a lot of pitfalls though! - Could be a bad slippery slope.

By the way, I do not consider Christianity foolish or inferior or anything. At best I consider it a more defined set of faith possibilities that gives a clearer definition on how to live (in hinduism it will be called bhakthiyogam, that is living based on a plain devotion/faith to God that your mind leads you to). In fact, a simple and happy way to live with trust in one specified and close-to-human and tangible manifestation of the God (the Son, Jesus) which Christianity advocates, is not at all a bad thing. There is nothing to consider foolish in it. There is nothing to consider "lesser" in it either. The only issue is that such faith would require you to somehow reach a certain level of discipline in your mind not to think too much with "science/logic" - because if you do, you will lose faith. That was the cause of all the conflict between science and religion in the west, that never existed in India. It is up to any person to "get disciplined" and be a Christian. Or be a near-atheist who believes in God's manifestations like me (defined in old Indian thought as more of a Jnanayogi, though I really don't have enough Jnanam nor am I a yogi :) ) -- because the old Indian philosophy does provide a logically consistent system that would allow one to have peace of mind if you start losing "bhakthi" and your mind refuses to be focussed on a certain path to be with God - such as Christianity .. In my case, I flip to "bhakthiyogam" occasionally (mostly when I sing karnatic music, strangely), but most of the time I am pretty peaceful in my mind, even if I do not go to a temple or pray for months on end! .. That is all really what makes me a Hindu - being at peace and not feeling concerned at all when I do not think of God because a "faith" in science/logic is fine too.

It would look to a christian that I am saying the religion is a "limited" one etc. Not at all. If you want to live with faith, it *is* the way. And it *is* important not to have faith in the concept of Ganesha or Ayyappa at the same time. That does not make it "limited".

So, in other words, it would be difficult for me to ever become a christian, barring my mind getting disciplined to live the christian life. That would take some sort of divine intervention when I wake up one night and stop focusing on a bunch of "Indian science/philosophy" I happened to learn - that is about all that Hinduism is - and feel that there is no need to bother about all that stuff if you just believe in Jesus and carry on with your life. If such a thing happens (an epiphany, right?), it won't be the end of the world either - and it wouldn't make me any more foolish or any worse a person. That divine intervention would be much tougher in my case due to the programming from Indian logic that has gone into my mind, that's all!

Interestingly, I am about to take off to Spain for a couple of weeks of research, and the PhD student I am taking with me is actually the staunchest christian I have ever met. He and I will try to visit Avila, Cordoba etc if time permits - he wants to see some of those places of big religious significance. I am sure to have lots of discussions of religion, in the middle of computer modeling of traffic networks, or driving around in Spain! .. No epiphany expected, and I should be returning as jayakrishnatennisananda :)

Jay

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Re: Obituaries

Postby genius » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:02 am

is why I talked about the government being the conduit to priming charitable and "giving" activities in Hinduism (and other religions) by using individuals' deep interest in spreading the word on their religion to the poor. That requires a nuanced definition of "secularism" which is particularly needed in India


when you view political power through the prism of religion heavily and talk about politcal usage to promote religion,its not a secular democracy anymore. these views will be popular in the islamic world no doubt.but for a secular democracy, it damages it.

yours is a narrow view of politics.community matters are only a narrow band of socio political life. there are broader issues that comprise society and politics.

the main benefit of a secular democracy is that individuals learn to seperate politics and religion better. they are more adept at talking about issues without bringing religion into every damn thing,though it comes in occasionally.

you are showing the same quality as the islamic world- viewing politics heavily through the prism of religious identity.

i am highly grateful for the way our sytem was structured. our constitution is just fine in this regard. its just your interests and views do not fit in.

why should i prefer religion over my language or caste for example ? i may be far more interested in promoting the tamil language.

religion is not the only identity competing for an individuals loyalty.which again confirms why your is a narrow view of politics.

and others do not share your interest for silly "competition for religion" by the way.if another person changes his religion for money, their personal choice is of no concern to you. i am afraid

what you have to understand is that there are many others who are not likely to ever share your interests or worldview and may have their own interests and goals.

you are better off being happy with those sharing your interests.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby jayakris » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:36 am

genius,

I think you are reacting without reading what I said carefully. I am not touting some Hindu mouthpiece ideas out here. None of them say any of the stuff I said in that manner. You completely missed what I was saying. You said I "view "political" power through the prism of religion heavily and talk about political usage to promote religion" .. Neither did I view political power through the religious prism, nor did I advocate political usage "to promote" any religion. I asked about making sure that the people of the majority religion also putting in their good share of charitable volunteerism and money to help people (of course motivated by the spirit to spread the good ideas in their religion) - with the state nudging it. That is nothing more than bringing in structure to the activities done in the name of religion; i.e., bringing in a socio-economic structure and not political structure. I am not asking for religious authorities to take up political activities and neither do I care to think of politics with any religious prism because I hate that idea which seems fine in our current definitions of secularism. Of course our constitution has no problem in religious parties - and I assume you seem to find no problem at all in that brand of secularism that explicitly allows political power to religions (unless it is a Hindu party of course!).

I understand the problems you are talking about, in allowing the state and religion to mix, and so does everybody else! So I too would advocate any entry of State into religious matters only very reluctantly and carefully (but I am indeed unhappy that the great secular state you mention has no problem stealing money from Hindu temples in many places by inducting themselves into the religious matters because the Hindus do not have a politico/economic system in place! - the kind of sate interference that will not be tolerated by Christians and others) ..

By the way, you are indeed severely influenced by the western experiences of religion's economic and political power interfering with the state's matters and the subsequent need for the type of "secularism" that you believe in - your fear of such problems may be vastly overrated when it comes to the Hindu religion which never had any such system for coordinated regional or national interference in state matters. There are other problems such a religion can cause under the current ideas of secularism in our constitution though - which are indeed what caused Ayodhya and Gujarat later. Extremely non-problematic redefinitions of "secularism" were possible with the majority religion but none was tried for the same fears that you espouse in your above post . It may all be too late for any of that, and a good fraction of Hindus will stay angry at how much their religion is being totally eroded under the constitution with western secularism in it while organized religions find no erosion of ANYTHING in their religions in India. It is indeed a very unfair playing field caused by our constitution.

You either allow all religions to have organized (semi-controlling) authority structures which would have made it imperative for the state to set up such structures for native religions (not just Hindus; in fact, many many people in India especially dalits the the British categorized as Hindus never thought of themselves as part of a monolithic religions called Hinduism). Or you had to stop every religion from having such organized structure (sort of the communist model). The western "secularism" is really applicable exactly there - in western countries without such native religions and faiths present anymore. And I consider the middle east also among "western countries" in this.

You said, "you are showing the same quality as the Islamic world- viewing politics heavily through the prism of religious identity". But you know that Hindus had not much record of seeing politics through such prism through history and neither does the Hindu books advocate any of that. What you are forgetting is that Islam (and Christianity) *needed* such a prism because the state and science were bound to be often in conflict with the religion based on faith. This was precisely why "secularism" was defined for that in the western constitutions.

You are refusing to even think what is different about the Hindu religion, and casting it into the same prism as all religions, forgetting the total lack of controlling structure in Hinduism. In fact this could be even used to the country's advantage if we were creative and did not blindly copy the western secularism principles .. I tried to explain a bit, but you refuse to listen, taking it all as some saffron rhetoric or something... Well, you are not the first to feel all perched on a high horse of an "open mind" and to accuse others who think differently for being narrow minded without even an attempt to look into your own thinking.

Yes, you brought up a good point that religion is not the number one matter.. Sure, same here. I didn't say it was! This is just the topic of discussion right now and I talked about it. If we were talking about language issues and spreading Tamil, I would talk about that. I didn't mention anything about the relative importance of this religious activities matter to another matter. For me, there are several other matters of much higher importance in India - even with the constitution, my number one issue of concern is the lack of separation of the executive and legislative branches of government, and the problems coming from a lack of a reward structure for good legislative work. Of course, agricultural issues, serious problems in wasting our water resources, hygiene issues in our population, roads, sports administration etc are all much ore important than Hindu religion's being eroded. If you ask me which I prefer - India getting 25 gold medals at Olympics and half of those who converted from Hinduism in AP, TN, Manipur and Tripura converting back, of course I would pick the Olympic medals! But we are not discussing other topics right now, are we?

So, please stop trying to shut me up with "dismissive comments" that you try to get away with in many threads. Ain't gonna work, genius.

By the way, as I have to travel soon, I may not be able take up further discussion on this (and this whole discussion needs to be moved from this thread to somewhere else)

Jay

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Re: Obituaries

Postby prasen9 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:00 am

jayakris wrote: I asked about making sure that the people of the majority religion also putting in their good share of charitable volunteerism and money to help people (of course motivated by the spirit to spread the good ideas in their religion) - with the state nudging it.
Jay, this statement is problematic. The state should nudge people to participate in charitable volunteerism. Period. Not nudge people of the majority religion (only). That is the state should perform its functions without discriminating based on religion, although in reality, the effect maybe to encourage people from one religion because the other religion's followers are already doing so.
I assume you seem to find no problem at all in that brand of secularism that explicitly allows political power to religions (unless it is a Hindu party of course!).
I do.

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Re: Obituaries

Postby jayakris » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:27 am

I didn't say that they should nudge only Hindus - though in this recent post I didn't qualify the statement. In fact. what I said further above was to come up with some proportional formula based on activities done. Everybody is asked to pay (the tithe to the church also goes through government as done in some western countries) and the money is distributed to support activities in the poorer sections of the society. Domestic and foreign moneys will have to be remitted to GOI and passed on to the organizations which are sanctioned to do the work based on demonstrated record of what they are doing. Yo don't do the work, you don't get the money. Heck, I am fine with even money based on how many people are converted. Current organizations (church structures in Christianity for instance) will be natural candidates to be permitted to do the work. For other religions (Hindus, Jains, etc), more coordinated activity control structures will need to be developed with state interference (yeek! but what else can be done?)

Evangelization in the form of teaching the religion along with charity and other activities, is allowed, but talking badly of other religions will not be allowed. Build schools, hospitals, public toilets or whatever where you are welcome to do religious propaganda (listen to recorded Bhagavatgita while sitting in a nice toilet by the road .. really, why not??) .. All who make use of the facilities built in such a "national religious seva" scheme should be allowed to refuse religious sermons (turn the switch off for the recorded Bhagavat gita because you want to crap in peace :) ) .. If there is a rural water supply scheme that brings you water, set up by the Seveth Day adventists, well, you may be requested to come to the church and get the code to turn the thing on for your house .. Walk in, and you could also get dosai/vada if you would listen to a little speech on the greatness of that philosophy. You go to the local government doctor whose salary is paid for by the local madrasa organization, well you may see a Koran quote framed in that government doctor office.

.. And No parties will be allowed to have any religion in the names. Party membership lists should show similar religious representation as the latest census ratios (with some genrous tolerances in the fractions). Would be fun to see BJP guys running around begging Muslims to join the party! No better way to prevent political parties from taking up religious causes. Oh no, but, butbut.. that would be state interference in religion, as per western definitions, no????

Very tough to pull off. Needs constitutional changes first, but more importantly, I am not sure I would trust the Indian political system to do this right at all. All kinds of changes are needed, and our copycat constitution may need to be canned wholesale to even start!

All I said is that religion has a way of motivating people to do good too, and currently we are losing that ability altogether with the majority. Of course, the other benefit is that we can reduce the Hindus' anger at a system that is definitely set up to erode that religion because it does not fit the western concepts of what a religion is! You get two birds with one shot.

Shibi's comment on Indians not giving to charity is what caused me to bring out some of these oddball ideas being kicked around in my mind for a while ..

Jay

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Re: Obituaries

Postby shibi » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:05 am

Jay, the Govt. collecting charity money is the last thing I would like to see. Many of us are giving taxes in India and we know how well the Govt. spends it, with all the corruption we witness in the system. Now Govt. directly spending charity money or distributing to charities accordingly to their whims and fancies is not something I want to see happen to my hard earned money. Let me be free to choose how I want to spend it on, even if I make a mistake (by giving to a wrong charity), I am responsible for it. Instead of encouraging people to be more compassionate and giving (which should be what the authorities should be doing), the solution to the paucity of funds is not bringing more central controls on the society. Le the Govt. strictly audit the money received and spend by the charities to endure that it is being spend on rightful causes.

Since Hinduism is not a monotheistic religion, it is difficult to bring about more central control. Beliefs vary, from place to place and from area to area and the god/ goddess worshipped in a village may differ from the next. While attempts are made to bring about some uniformity (like trying to make Ram the focal point), it isn’t easy. Also, the caste system within the Hindu society makes it difficult to have a central authority acceptable to all (like, why can’t a man belonging to a lower caste offer pooja in the temple if he is learned in the Vedas & Puranas?- the question of Brahmin by birth or by guna and karma).

Hope you have a wonderful time in Spain.


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