Nature is immense and humongous. Yet, it has the power of balancing itself.
Power it is because when the pendulum corrects itself, the force unleashed is devastating to the other side.
But nature is not in the business of demolishing one side or the other.
It is finding its equilibrium.
Unlike the fetish for equality as a measure of "fairness" that so many of us are besotted by, nature has no love for such a gross idea. For equality underlines the hunger and yearning for power over the other.
You see, by design, ground-up from the atomic level, existence beyond the quantum level, is created in a diverse and varied manner. No two leaves or grains of sand are alike. Diversity and differentiation are the most fundamental components of nature's design!
Equality is the call for obliterating that foundation by calling the differentiated existence of every component ugly. Little realizing that the beauty of this existence is in its diversity.
Diversity and different ways pose a conflict. That conflict is not resolved in obliterating the differences and making them seem ugly, but in acceptance that this is what makes the existence lovely and enjoyable!
When man's shallowness, in its full megalomania attempts to orchestrate situations where diversity is replaced by equality dictated by the ways of one side, nature sneers back. It does not care two hoots for such madness.
The more you force your ways in the garb of equality overall, the more you are twisting the pendulum to one side. Nature will correct itself.
Models to Handle Crimes against Humanity
On August 8, 1945, the United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union, and France signed an agreement called the London Agreement. It was an agreement to create an international military tribunal to try the major Axis war criminals. The Nazis would be tried as war criminals on four counts:
- crimes against peace (i.e., the planning, initiating, and waging of wars of aggression in violation of international treaties and agreements),
- crimes against humanity (i.e., exterminations, deportations, and genocide),
- war crimes (i.e., violations of the laws of war), and
- “a common plan or conspiracy to commit” the criminal acts listed in the first three counts.
The tribunal had the authority to find any individual who was guilty of the war crimes on the above counts and try them. Tribunal's prosecution and punishment could no longer be questioned. It was final.
It was understood that the Axis criminals and their crimes had no particular geographic location. Anyone could have been prosecuted for a crime committed anywhere in the world.
Note: Ostensibly, this was one reason why Netaji, even when he was alive until 1985, did not “come out” for he had aligned with the Japanese and sought help from Adolf Hitler in order to dislodge the criminal and genocidal government of Great Britain from India. That Britain was never tried for its crimes against humanity shows how the winners not just take the spoils but get sanctified as well in the process! (Read the following post for more information on what Britain did with India)
The trials carried out by the International Military Tribunal were called the Nürnberg trials. (Source)
The crimes committed by the Axis powers were recent and they were in no position to counter the Allied powers for the crimes against humanity committed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
So, the crimes came with punishment, not just prosecutorial sentences.
50 years later, in 1995, another set of trials happened. Under very different set of circumstances and actors. The Apartheid in South Africa was being brought to a close. The majority in South Africa, the Blacks, had suffered unimaginable crimes, humiliation, genocide and discrimination at the hands the minorities, the Whites.
A Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed.
The Commission would gather evidence and uncover information for the crimes, both from the victims and the perpetrators of crimes. However, the criminals would not be prosecuted. That is how it was to be different from the Nürnberg trials. (Source)
While the path followed by the Allied Powers was to seek revenge, the way that Nelson Mandela pioneered was one of Reconciliation and forgiveness so a society could be held together and everyone could move on.
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was an agreement to reconcile the atrocities done against the Indigenous Canadians via the residential schools. The IRSSA was between the government of Canada and approximately 86,000 Indigenous peoples in Canada who at some point were enrolled as children in the Canadian Indian residential school system. This school system had been in place between 1879 and 1998.
Between 2007 and 2015, the Government of Canada provided about $72 million to support the TRC's work. The TRC spent 6 years travelling to all parts of Canada and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses. The TRC also hosted 7 national events across Canada to engage the Canadian public, educate people about the history and legacy of the residential schools system, and share and honour the experiences of former students and their families. The TRC created a historical record of the residential schools system. As part of this process, the Government of Canada provided over 5 million records to the TRC. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba now houses all of the documents collected by the TRC. (Source)
These schools had been fashioned along the Carlisle Indian Industrial School that had opened in Pennsylvania, US. The motto - "Kill the Indian in the Child". Watch this 60 Minutes documentary to learn more.
Canada's TRC was not a great success because it was mainly focused on financial compensation as opposed to the socio-economic engagement of the community that had been wronged and suffered.
Two Models of Righting the Wrongs
Two models have been used until now to "Right the Wrongs" of history.
Carry out trials to prosecute and punish the offenders as war criminals. Interestingly, one can see that this happens when the victims are Europeans or White people. Even in the case of Russia Vs Ukraine, there is a call to treat the Russians as war criminals and bring action against them.
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. This method is designed for both the parties - the persecuting group and the persecuted group - to move on because they intend to live in the same society. The inherent understanding here is that the old behavior/ways/actions were abominable, crimes against humanity, and deplorable and will never be repeated. The group that descends from the people who were the criminals does not associate with the crimes or their forefathers.
Here are some important things to understand:
- It is not a case of Minority or Majority. In the case of South Africa, Blacks were the overwhelming majority. Yet, the minority of White settlers treated them inhumanely.
- A few actions of perceived good cannot wash away the sins of abuse, humiliation and persecution. The Canadian Residential school system was sold extensively until almost the beginning of the 21st century (1998!) as a system that benefitted the kids with modern education and aligned them with the larger modern world out there (see the picture below of one group when they came in and 4 months after being in the abusive but "modern" school system). Sexual, physical, mental and cultural abuse and deaths notwithstanding. You see, the provision of "modern education" was no excuse or counterweight for the crimes committed.
3. No matter what the path taken is - trials for war crimes or a Truth and Reconciliation Commission - the system takes a side on the facts of history - Anti-apartheid, anti-Native persecution, anti-Nazism - and the society resolves that this is the way forward. Anyone who sides with or has sympathies for the past crimes is a criminal. Those who descended from the past criminals can redeem themselves if they shun and denounce the past crimes unequivocally.
These things are very important if modern societies have to move on despite the unimaginable past crimes committed by a set of people.
India and Crimes against Hindus
In India, not only have unimaginable crimes been committed against the Hindus, but they have been white-washed by the European and Indian historians, intellectuals and the political establishment in a concerted effort.
In Baburnama, translated by Annette Susannah Beveridge (Source), the mindset of Babur is clearly visible. He posits Maharana Sangram (Rana Sanga) as an infidel, unbeliever, and pagan and discusses how the “sword of Islam” had illumined the land of Hindustan.
Akbar, often hailed as a tolerant and almost secular ruler, was a bigoted monarch who proclaimed how the Hindus had to be eliminated from the land called Hindustan. After the conquest of Chittor, while en route to Agra, on the 10th day of Ramazan, on March 9th, 1568 - Akbar issued the Fathnama-i-Chittor. This is what he shared.
A tradition that was followed by Babur and Akbar's successors - including Shahjahan.
In fact, this idea of annihilating the Hindus and “purifying Hindustan by the sword of Islam” was not just articulated by Akbar or Babur alone.
It was shared even by Amir Khusrau in his chronicle on his friend Allauddin Khilji called “Khaza inul Futuh” (which means “Treasure/Booty of Victory in War”) (Source)
The last part, where the translator Muhammad Habib, Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University, tries to normalize the mindset of Amir Khusrau, is disingenuous. Because this paragraph followed the description of the destruction of Somnath. The blood was real, not a “simile.”
Khilji, like other Islamic invaders, considered his religious duty to kill the Hindus. You can read about him in more detail here.
This “othering” of the Hindus and treating them as inferior humans - even creatures - fit to be killed such that the sword that killed them would purify the land where such infidels lived and were called home had been a recurrent theme of all Islamic narratives.
From Babur to Akbar to Khilji and the minds of Khusrau alike, the sentiment was clear, unequivocal, and unambiguous. That included:
- Islam was superior. Muslims had a divine duty.
- That duty entailed annihilating the Hindus ("idolators") by the "Sword of Islam" and "purifying the land called Hindustan" from the curse of such "non-believers". The blood of Hindus shed by the Sword of Islam would in itself be the purifying factor.
- Not only were the Hindus to be eliminated from the land, but even their temples and places of worship, specifically the idols, had to be destroyed.
Widespread and complete genocide and destruction of the temples was the recurrent theme. And, it is no surprise that the destruction of the temples was rampant. The counter-arguments of "they did allow certain temples" whataboutery notwithstanding (reminiscent of how the Canadian Residential Schools were justified).
This fetish for the destruction of the temples of Hindus was not a freak accident of history in India.
Dhu'l-Khalasa and Hindu Temples
It followed the theological standards that had been set by Mohammad himself. For example, in Sahih al-Bukhari 3823 (Source) there was a house of worship (temple) called Dhu'l-Khalasa (Kailasa?) in the Pre-Islamic Period (also called Al-Ka'ba Al-Yamaniya). It was a counterpart to the main Kaa'ba in Mecca. Mohammad explicitly asked his soldier Jarir to destroy it and "relieve him".
An interesting aspect of Dhu'l Khalasa was that quite like a lingam, it had a sculpture that was in the shape of a lingam.
One of the things that were done after the destruction of the Dhu'l-Khalasa temple (the Yemenite Kaa'ba) was that its murtis were brought to Mecca's Kaa'ba and placed at the footsteps so they could be trodden upon.
In fact, a similar treatment was done with the lingam at Somnath Temple. The archeologists have confirmed such a practice based on the remnants of the murtis and lingam found in Ghazna.
Jahangir had ordered the same practice to be done with the murtis that had been looted and brought over from the Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura. They were placed under the footsteps of the mosque in Agra.
When you read history as easily discernible from the documents and writings from the courts and chronicles of the Islamic invaders and rulers, it is very clear that Hindus were subjected to the worst crimes against humanity ever committed on this planet!
It is in this context that we will start our discussion on the hottest topic in India - the Gyanvapi mosque.
The Gyanvapi mosque case
On May 13th, 2022, the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana admitted to listing the Gyanvapi case before the Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha.
The recent series of events started with the petition by 5 Hindu women.
- On 18 August 2021, five women - Laxmi Devi, Rakhi Singh, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas, and Rekha Pathak filed the petition in the Varanasi court seeking permission to worship the deities of Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, and Nandi regularly, as well as barring opponents from harming the statues inside the disputed Gyanvapi structure.
- In response to this petition, the Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered a ‘videographic survey’ of the mosque to ascertain the existence and location of these deities on April 8th, 2022 (Source). Ajay Kumar Mishra as Advocate Commissioner was appointed by the court to lead the survey and file the report.
- The Gyanvapi mosque’s Management Committee challenged the move (survey), but the court dismissed the petition on April 21st, 2022 (Source).
- The survey started on May 6th at 3 pm amidst tight security. (Source). The Muslim side had taken a religiously stringent stand when S M Yasin, joint secretary of Anjuman Intejamiya Masjid Managing Committee, announced that no one will be allowed to enter the mosque. The Muslim side had warned that no “non-believer” will be allowed to enter the mosque.
- The AIMMC approached the court on May 7th again to replace Mr. Ajay Kumar Mishra as the Advocate Commissioner. (Source)
- On May 12th, the Civil Court rejected the mosque’s demand to replace the Advocate Commissioner and thus paved the way for the videographic survey to start within the premises.
- On May 13th, the matter was taken to the Supreme Court by the Management Committee of the mosque. It was argued that this survey would disturb communal peace and harmony and violates the Places of Worship Act 1991. The Supreme Court did not grant a stay but did agree to list the matter for the subsequent week (Source)
- On May 16th, the Varanasi Civil Court directed the District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma to seal the spot in the mosque complex where a Shivling was claimed to have been found during a court-mandated videography survey (Source)
- On May 17th, the hearings commenced on the matter in Supreme Court in front of the bench comprising Chandrachud J and Justice P.S. Narasimha
- On the other side, on May 17th, the Varanasi CIvil Court ordered the removal of Mr. Mishra as Advocate Commissioner for the survey under the pretext that the footage of the video survey had been leaked. (Source)
While the case is sub-judice and the Supreme Court has directed the Varanasi District court for further action, what we see happening in Gyan Vapi by the Muslim side is abhorrent! There has been a clear attempt to change the facts by wiping out the remnants of temple artifacts.
Though the court committee members have not divulged details of the survey, sources claim that the team discovered soil in the fifth basement of the complex. The team suspects that soil was recently brought inside the complex to obliterate the evidence. Committee members have raised suspicions over the use of white cement to 'destroy' idols on the premises. On Saturday and Sunday, videography of two basements was completed using special cameras. The first survey was conducted near the frill on the ground floor, sources said. The surveyors were not allowed to enter with mobile phones. Snake charmers were also called after learning about the presence of snakes in the complex. (Source)
Meanwhile, the Indian Supreme Court directed the District Judge at Varanasi to first decide on the admissibility of the Gyanvapi mosque suit filed under Order VII, Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code.
Order VII, Rule 11 of the CPC is also known as the ‘law on the rejection of plaints’. Before the court hears the arguments and admits the suit, per this rule it should consider whether the reliefs sought by the plaintiff in the plaint can even be granted by the court.
The courts have set aside 6 reasons why a suit can be thrown out without a trial (Source). These are:
- Where it does not disclose a cause of action – If the plaintiff does not discloses facts that give the plaintiff right to seek relief against the defendant, the facts that are necessary to prove the damage caused to the plaintiff. Case law on this provision – S.M.P. Shipping Services Pvt. Ltd. V. World Tanker Carrier Corporation; AIR 2000 Bom 34.
- Where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;
- Where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so – If the plaint is insufficient stamp under court fees act and the plaintiff fails to supply the plaint with correct stamp value.
- Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law; for Example when the plaint filed looks like to be barred by any statute and gives no right to the plaintiff to file the suit and liable to rejected if the court accepts the plaint is barred by law.
- Where it is not filed in duplicate – In any suit a duplicate copy of the plaint has to be filed and when a duplicate copy of the plaint is not filed it is liable to be dismissed.
- Where the plaintiff fails to comply with provisions of rule 9 – Where the plaintiff fails to comply with the order 7 rule 9
The Supreme Court judgments have taken these stands in different cases. (Source)
This is where the case stands today. How it will proceed and how the judiciary handles this conflict will be important.
What we have in India is a series of intractable situations. A social conflict that is a manifestation of the bigotry and gaslighting from the past to the current times. The dynamic of conflict is not simple. It is multi-dimensional.
Terrell Northrup has discussed the topology and nature of the conflict. Specifically social conflict. (Read "The Dynamic of Identity in Personal and Social Conflict" by Terrell Northrup - Source)
Per Northrup, it comprises 5 components:
- conflicts unfold over time;
- conflict is a multidimensional phenomenon (intrapersonal aspects of the conflict interact with social or relational ones, and both of them are influenced by higher-level political, economic, and social changes);
- conflicts evolve around multiple issues;
- conflicts contain realistic and nonrealistic issues;
- power distribution among the parties plays an important role in conflict development.
Terrell Northrup’s theory of intractable conflict identifies four stages of intractable conflict: threat, distortion, rigidification, and collusion. With the progress of conflict through these progressive stages, the resolution and even de-escalation in the conflict becomes less likely. (Source)
Stage One: THREAT - one group of people perceive another group of people as a threat to their identity
Stage Two: DISTORTION - The first group, that starts the conflict refuses to engage with any new and factual information about the other group. Instead, it works overtime and relentlessly to distort or dismiss it.
Stage Three: RIGIDIFICATION - Both, or at least one group, is locked into set positions and it is extremely difficult or impossible to change their minds.
Stage Four: COLLUSION - In this final phase, the conflict is maintained because the parties collude in prolonging it. The conflict has become institutionalized, even celebrated, with each side appointing certain members to roles that perpetuate the conflict
The current path that was set by the Nehruvian administration post-independence was a disastrous one.
For, it not just white-washed history, it set into motion an elaborate mechanism of gas-lighting an entire community from forces outside and within. The curriculum, the narratives, the historic lies, and power shenanigans where the elevation of social status was directly linked to conformity with the carefully curated identity that was done to dehumanize the Hindu.
Because no one had the sagacity or the foresight to look at the inherent and subliminal conflict as a complete whole, India instead has the terrible situation of having the society litigate every component of the large genocide, that has been beaten down and denied!
The genocide happened. The plunder, the mass killings, demolition and humiliation of the indigenous culture and traditions are a matter of abundant record. The justifications for all these crimes were also very clear. Religious!
Bigotry was the underlying sentiment.
As opposed to white-washing the crimes - some of the worst in humanity - the leadership should have looked at it in a just and fair manner.
Yes, Muslims in India are part of the nation and the Indian society and should remain so. But the mentality of those who converted them from their indigenous and original faith does not need to be accepted or worse, glorified!
Hatred, bigotry, and dehumanization are crimes.
Side-stepping these by indulging in whataboutery, history-spin, and simple power fascism cannot solve the problems.
De-Islamization of India?
Nazis, under Hitler, committed unthinkable crimes against the Jews in Germany. It is a fact that Hitler had coopted Christian churches in his endeavor to re-structure Christianity itself.
Christians and Churches were hand-in-glove with the whole Nazi experiment.
So, the rise of Nazism and the crimes against the Jews was not just founded on the madness of one man. It was a widespread religious issue. It was a reflection and manifestation of the fundamental fissures between Christianity and Judaism.
When the crimes of Nazis were obvious, there was an upheaval in the Christian society, specifically in Germany.
A Bekennende Kirche—the "Confessing Church" - came into being. It was in opposition to the "German Christians".
The Barmen Confession of Faith, the foundational document of the "Confessing Church" reiterated that the "church's allegiance was to God and scripture, not a worldly Führer."
Interestingly, both - the "Confessing Church" and the "German Christians" remained a part of the German Evangelical Church.
Within that framework, there was a constant struggle, called Kirchenkampf.
The fissures in the Church were not just in Germany but even in England, which was at the forefront of the campaign against the Nazis.
De-Nazification and the religious issues
After the Second World War was over and the Axis powers lost, the Allied powers started an initiative to eliminate the German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of the Nazi ideology.
The blowback from the Churches, even in Britain was obvious.
But the move for de-Nazification was an extensive and deep one.
The idea was not just to wipe the social thinking and narratives but also to get the landscape cleaned up of the Nazi symbols and buildings. Just as it had been done during the work against the Canadian Residential School system.
In post-World War II Germany, Nazi symbols that weren’t destroyed during the war were ordered demolished by the Allied Control Council. Any further creation of Nazi symbols or propaganda was also banned. Germany would later codify this ban into their criminal code. “Any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice, street or highway name marker, emblem, tablet, or insignia which tends to preserve and keep alive the German military tradition, to revive militarism or to commemorate the Nazi Party, or which is of such a nature as to glorify incidents of war, and the functioning of military museums and exhibitions, and the erection, installation, or posting or other display on a building or other structure of any of the same, will be prohibited and declared illegal,” the directive reads. In Berlin, the headquarters of the Nazi secret police, the SS leadership offices, and the Reich Security Main Office were razed in the aftermath of the war. In the late 1980s, the grounds were used as an exhibition to educate people about the horrors that occurred there. This “topography of terror” was opened as a permanent documentation center in 2010. (Source: CNN)
Interesting thing is that despite the sympathy for the interns and the erstwhile Nazi leadership, even the Right-Wing in Germany never opposed the wiping out the symbols and remnants of crimes that were committed.
There are no Nazi sites in Germany in the sense that there are plantation sites in the United States. The only equivalent sites that now exist in Germany are concentration camps.* On the site of Buchenwald, where as many as a quarter of a million inmates were held, a museum dispels any notion that the citizens of the nearby cultural capital Weimar were unaware of what was happening in their midst during World War II. The idea that tourists would visit such a place seeking smiling women in dirndls—much as some visit American plantations looking for ladies in hoop skirts—is obscene. Not even members of Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Germany party would suggest glorifying that part of the past. (Source: The Atlantic)
The underlying sentiment of de-Nazification was no one should visit a place and have any sympathy for the Nazis.
Glorification of Nazism, denying the Holocaust and disseminating Nazi propaganda, both off- and online, is prohibited in Germany and considered a crime under its penal code. (Source)
Interestingly, Section 86a of the German Criminal Code (called Strafgesetzbuch) outlaws "unconstitutional organizations". Under this law, the courts have outlaws Nazi, Communist and Islamic symbols (Source-ISIS symbols).
In principle, real power struggles notwithstanding, the Christian clergy were not exempt from the whole denazification process.
The objective during De-Nazification was very clear - to throw out the mindset which manifested the crimes committed by Hitler's men.
In India, however, the reverse happened. The state and establishment worked hard to eliminate any attempt to even speak up against the genocidal crimes.
Do you see the extreme wretchedness of the system?
Despite the evidence, the generational burden, and the current continuation of the old narratives and arguments, Hindus have been silenced.
Targeted, hunted, plundered, and mass-murdered, Hindus were not even allowed to grieve or know or understand their history. They were forced and gas-lighted into making heroes out of the very wretched people who had worked hard to obliterate them and their culture.
The footage of the video from what was found in Gyan Vapi came out in public.
When the video of Shiv-lingam in the fountain at the Gyan-Vapi complex came out, with the information of what was being done by the Muslims in that body of water, Hindus were shell-shocked.
The Shiv-lingam was in a ‘wazukhana’ (ablution area).
Lawyers for Hindu petitioners claimed that the Shivling was found submerged in the water of ‘wazukhana’, and it was covered from four sides by a nine-inch wall. The wall, according to lawyers, was erected around the so-called fountain for the benefit of Muslim devotees who come to the mosque for ‘namaaz’ prayers. But it was not a fountain. The wall was erected to hide the Shivling and then water was poured into the huge cavity. Since nobody had entered the pond for several centuries, the Shivling lay submerged in water. But in the presence of advocate commissioners appointed by a local court, the Shivling was discovered and the entire process was videographed. (Source)
The place has since been sealed. (Source)
India's Truth and Reconciliation?
This whole sequence of events and the realization of what was happening at Gyan Vapi is symptomatic of the very mindset that was common to the wretched bigots like Babur, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan, Aurangzeb, and Khilji.
That there is no downside to humiliating, subjugating, and de-humanizing Hindus, this mindset prevails. That there is no criminalization of Hindu genocide, glorification of mass-murderers and criminals who targeted Hindus continues unabated.
India is a society that is in desperate need of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of its own. But who will work in this direction? More importantly, how will the society which has been bastardized by falsehoods and criminal narratives ever find it in itself to come to terms with the facts and do what is just and fair?
Video Corner: Kakbhushundi Lake Trek
The Kakbhushandi Lake is named after the immortal Rishi Kakbhushandi. The story of the Rishi and the events surrounding him and Ramayana and Mahabharat are fascinating. The person who shares this tough but exhilarating trek has done a great job. I can partly understand what he is saying because of the experiences I had at Kailash and Mansarovar.