April 23, 2005

Stoning Lalu Yadav : Open Letter to Members of Parliament

This is a letter by K.G.Acharya to MP's
-------------------------------------------

Sir,

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Railway Minister has made
very serious allegations against Narendra Modi and
L.K. Advani as a sequel to some persons throwing
stones at his car near the sight of the railway
accident in Gujarat. Lalu met the Prime Minister and
the Speaker of the Loksabha and raised the issue in
the Parliament. He said that it was a pre-planned
attack to kill him and demanded the dismissal of the
Gujarat government.

Some national leaders including (Sownia’s right hand
man) Ahmed Patel of the Congress, Union Defence
Minister Pranab Mukherji and Sitaram Yechury of the
Communist Party joined Lalu in criticizing Modi and
the Gujarat government.

Common man wonders, after all, what was the incident
so serious that many national leaders should forget
all nation’s issues and join Lalu in his outburst.

Somebody threw stones at Lalu’s car and its glass was
broken.

Is it more serious than the Pakistan President should
arrive in a PIA plane with the Tricolour inverted?
Could Lalu say that the insult of the nation’s flag
was pre-planned? Could Mukherji say it was deplorable?
Even after Musharraff’s visit terrorists have been
found with AK –56 guns attacking our security
personnel. Recently Bangla Desh attacked and killed
some of our security personnel. Did the above national
leaders speak a word against these and similar
anti-India acts of Pakistan and Bangla Desh?

Is it not surprising that the above leaders wish to
forget Pakistan’s attack on India’s Parliament, that
on the Red Fort, hijacking of Indian Airlines plane
and continuous support to terrorists by giving them
training, RDX and many other weapons of mass
destruction?

But then why do they remind all the peoples in the
world of the tragic events in Gujarat, which were
never more serious than the massacre of 3 thousand
Sikhs in Delhi or the exodus of 4 lakh Kashmiri Hindus
from Kashmir?

Lalu and his anti-Hindu brigade are forgetting that by
their continuous criticizing the state of Gujarat,
near the border of Pakistan, they are strengthening
the already strong Pakistani lobby in India?

Pakistan wants to have a friendly government in
Gujarat so that they can send lakhs of infiltrators
into the country through the softened border, as
Bangla Desh has been doing. Patriotic persons must
note that Musharraf had warned that in the next war
against India, Pakistan will fight not only along the
border but also very much within India’s territory.
May I request the readers to read within lines?

Yours faithfully,
K.G.Acharya

April 22, 2005

EU must stand up to US to achieve Iran nuclear deal, says Rowhani

EU must stand up to US to achieve Iran nuclear deal, says Rowhani

Netiran, Apr. 20th, 2005, netiran politices desk
Word Count : 1011

Britain, France and Germany must resist any US pressure to prevent the collapse of the European Union's bid to negotiate long-term arrangement on Iran's nuclear program, according to Iran's Supreme National Security Council chair Hassan Rowhani.
"They must stand up more to the US. This is the biggest political test for Europe. If the negotiations fail and the dossier goes to the Security Council, this is indeed a great failure for Europe," he said.




Rowhani issued his warning in an edited translation from Farsi of an interview with the Financial Times, which was published fully on the paper's website Wednesday.

It was held ahead of the latest EU3-Iran negotiations in Geneva, which are due to be followed by a more high-level review in London on April 29.

The chairman of Iran's security council also warned that for the EU to support any referral of the case to the UN would represent a violation of the agreement reached in Tehran in October 2003.

"For our dossier to be sent to the Security Council would be a great failure on the part of Europe, IAEA and multilateralism as a whole," he said.

This, Rowhani said, was because the EU3 in the Tehran statement 'clearly pointed out that Iran dossier should be handled in the context of the agency'.

"If they have issued that statement (on referral), they have breached the Tehran statement. And we have officially said as such to them. Because they have to observe Tehran statement, because the basis of what we are doing is the Tehran statement," he said.

Despite his warnings, the Supreme National Security Council chairman told the Financial Times that he was cautiously optimistic that progress could be made on a 'number of ideas' presented by Iran in the negotiations.

"We are not at all pessimistic. In fact we are optimistic that we might be able to reach an agreement with the Europeans," he said.

But at the same time, he suggested that the negotiations could end if there was no 'tangible progress' by April 29.

"If we see tangible progress, we are willing to continue," Rowhani said. "We have informed the Europeans of the nature of the progress we must have by April 29," he further revealed.

The kind of progress required was for the Europeans to come back and suggested that the ideas Iran has put forward 'can be the basis for the next step', he said.

"We have put a number of very clear ideas on the table. The ball is now in the European court," Rowhani said. "The Europeans have had more than 40 days to study them," he added.

But he also said that 'if we get the feeling the Europeans are killing time, we would not accept' and that if they decided 'not to show any flexibility about these ideas that would translate into the end of the negotiations'.

"In other words, these ideas are very last possible ideas that we could come up with as compromise options," the security council chairman spelt out.

"The Europeans should tell us whether these ideas can work as the basis for continued negotiations or not."
He added that 'if Europe is inclined towards a final solution and shows good-will, we can reasonably expect a major development with wider ramification'.

The Financial Times quoted western diplomats suggesting that any concessions to Tehran would 'undermine the support for the talks that the Europeans were now receiving from the US'.

Rowhani played down the US dropping its objections to Iran joining the World Trade Organization and agreeing to allow the sale of aircraft spare parts to Tehran as 'symbolic'.

"This is not a signal directed at us. The Americans are sending the signal to the Europeans. Whatever decision President Bush took, came after his talks with Mr Schroeder and President Chirac," he said.

With regard to any rapprochement with the US, the security council chairman said that 'the key to dialogue is held by Washington'.

"A country that expresses an interest in negotiations cannot at the same time talk of regime change. Therefore, the US must clearly announce its strategy," he said.

The Americans, Rowhani said, were 'always contradicting themselves'. He referred to Iran's cooperation in Afghanistan, when 'the Americans thanked us on one hand and then Mr Bush said we were part of the notorious 'axis of evil'."
Hassan Rowhani in Tehran on Wednesday also said Iran will discontinue negotiations if the Europeans prove they are dishonest.

Talking to parliamentary reporters after Majlis unofficial closed-door session, Rowhani stressed enrichment process with no concerns as the axis of Iran's talks with the Europeans.

"The two sides held no discussion over enrichment suspension. The talks are focussed on how the Islamic Republic's ideas can be realized and how enrichment is done without causing any concern," he said.

Asked about whether recent round of talks would be the last, he added the negotiations should go ahead. "We should be optimistic that we will reach results in the near future and (if so) we will continue talks.

"We will quit negotiations when we feel they will bear no fruit and Europe intends to waste time ... this issue has no specific timetable." Rowhani stressed the Europeans have always announced they are negotiating with Iran but practically they have been in coordination with the United States. He expressed hope the Europeans would be able to finall settle the issue.

In response to a question on a gradual increase in the number of centrifuges, the SNSC secretary stated, "we are not supposed to disclose our ideas. Such views may be implemented gradually.

"The Islamic Republic will not decrease its enrichment capability." "Our negotiations are based on ways to materialize objective guarantees. So the results of the talks will be obtained based on firm guarantees," Rowhani stressed.

The SNSC secretary reiterated that Iran initiated the idea of getting a way out of the current deadlock, saying, "in our opinion, an objective guarantee is the same as the additional protocol."

Own up, Minister Laloo Yadav

Own up, Minister

The Pioneer Edit Desk

The Thursday morning accident near Samalaya station in Gujarat, in which the Sabarmati Express rammed into a goods train, left 17 people dead and 127 wounded. The serious concern this warrants must be heightened by the fact that the second distance signal, solid state and route relay interlocking, etc., in operation were meant primarily to prevent accidents of this nature.




Finding out how the accident occurred is, therefore, the first imperative. The Union Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, and the Western Railways General Manager, Mr MZ Ansari, have ruled out sabotage in unison. They have identified the malfunctioning of the signal system as the cause, which does not explain why, according to eyewitness account, the jack bolt was found by the track. Even if one agrees for the moment, ruling out sabotage even before an inquiry has been instituted into the accident raises the question: How was it that the signalling system-that is supposed to be automatic-was switched off? Who did it? It is important to apprehend the signal man and his helper, both of whom are absconding, and question them.



Meanwhile, the harsh fact is that if the accident was not a result of sabotage, then the reason has to be either poor maintenance or human error. The former would be particularly unpardonable considering that as much as Rs 17,000 crore have been sanctioned in this year's Railway Budget for improving safety measures. Poor maintenance is reflection both of the poor work ethic that has come to grip the Railways, once known for its amazing efficiency, as well as decline in the overall management efficiency.



It is possible to identify several reasons for both-the introduction of too many trains at the time of presenting the Railway Budget every year, mostly to serve political ends, stretching an overcrowded track network to the point of risking safety, corruption leading to the ordering of substandard equipment, and a soaring of overhead costs. Political interference with the organisation's personnel policy, earlier known both for its efficiency and fairness, has led to undeserved promotions, and transfers and postings unrelated to functional requirements and individual aptitude. The result has been a disastrous decline in staff morale which in turn, has not been without its impact on efficiency and work ethic.



The Mirthal accident last year was a warning the Railway Minister should have heeded. Instead of trying to think in terms of providing institutional correctives, Mr Yadav chose to go in for grandstanding by sacking the station managers who were only partly responsible for the mishap. The Railway Minister's role is critical, as he is the ultimate fountainhead of all authority in the Railways. Unfortunately Mr Yadav, engrossed as he is in Bihar's messy politics, has not been giving to his charge at the Centre the attention it needs.



As a result, the state of the Railways, one of India's proudest institutions, is increasingly coming to resemble that of Bihar which he has successfully ruined. Unfortunately he is least bothered about this; nor are his allies in the UPA Government at the Centre who have been waxing indignant over the alleged attack on him at Samalaya and not the inefficiency that led to the accident. In 1956, Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned as the Railway Minister, after two disastrous railway accidents. He owned up constructive responsibility for both though he was in no way responsible for them. But then, Mr Yadav is made of very different stuff.

www.dailypioneer.com/inde...nter_img=1

Slogan-shouting Muslims at panel hearing

Move to include Muslims in BC list opposed



VIJAYAWADA: Members of various organisations representing Backward Classes, on Friday, opposed the State Government's proposal to include Muslim minorities in the list of BCs.

Mild tension prevailed on the premises of the Sub-Collector's office, the venue for the public hearing being conducted across the State by members of the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes, to elicit public views on the contentious issue.

Keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue, the commission members decided to conduct two separate sessions for BCs and the Muslim minorities to elicit their suggestions and objections, if any.

Even while the first round attended by the BCs was in progress, representatives of various Muslim organisations, led by the Vijayawada West MLA. Sk. Nazar Vali, picked up an altercation with the police personnel posted outside for denying them an audience with the commission members.

Enraged by the denial, Muslims started raising slogans. Mr. Vali, however, pacified them after he was let in to submit a memorandum to the commission members.

`Not socially backward'

Leaders of Yadava Mahasabha, the BC Welfare Association, the Akhila Bharata Vidyarthi Parishad and many other affiliated bodies, objected to the move arguing that unlike the BCs, Muslim minorities were not socially

backward. Reiterating that reservations should be given only to economically backward classes, they cited the vast properties of the Wakf Board, the various concessions being extended to Muslim minorities, the large number of educational institutions set up exclusively for the community and other benefits enjoyed by them.

"Of the 93 sub-castes under the BCs, a major chunk of them are languishing in poverty in remote villages which are completely cuff off from the outside world. The Government should think of their uplift," they suggested.

Finding fault with the GO. No. 33 envisaging inclusion of the Muslim minorities in the BC list, they questioned the Government as to why reservations were not being implemented in proportion to the ratio of the population.

The Muslims, meanwhile, contended that if at all anyone deserved reservations based on the economic status, it was their community, which continued to lag behind in terms of development.

The Commission headed by the retired High Court judge, D. Subramanyam, decided to tour nine districts across the State to gather information on the status of Muslim minorities in educational institutions and in the employment sector based on a random survey. "We have completed the hearing sessions in Hyderabad, Anantapur, Kurnool and Guntur. After Vijayawada, it would be held in Visakhapatnam, Nizamabad and Karimnagar," the commission member V. Krishna Mohan Rao, said.
http://www.hindu.com/2005/04/23/stories/2005042317540300.htm

Many NGOs Do Far More Harm Than Good

By RAJEEV SRINIVASAN
India Currents, Apr 22, 2005

Graham Hancock’s damning 1989 expose, Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business, estimated that most of the $60 billion plus that comprised governmental, UN, and World Bank or IMF-type “aid” was siphoned off. Mostly by elites in poor nations, special interests (like agribusiness) in donor countries, but also, startlingly, the aid agencies’ own personnel budgets, which waste as much as 80 percent of the funds for lavish (first-class) travel, salaries, and perquisites.

Unfortunately, the same appears to be true of NGOs. Despite their saintly image in the media, some have connections to dubious groups in India. Some misuse their funds, for instance to pay for trips by their “volunteers” to India, boondoggle “lecture-tours” of the United States by their comrades-in-arms in India, and so forth.

In addition, the aftermath of the tsunami demonstrated what has long been an open secret: many NGOs are merely fronts for religious conversion. Yes, everyone loves a good tsunami. There were sordid tales about how certain “charities” refused help unless the targets of their munificence converted. Compare this to the sterling, selfless work done by, say, All-India Movement (AIM) for Seva.

But ambulance-chasing Christian fundamentalists are a known devil. Indian groups with deceptively appealing siren songs are more insidious. Most of them are started by well-meaning, idealistic, but naive individuals to “do something for India.” But over time, these organizations get hijacked, and become personal fiefdoms for self-glorification, or else unwitting tools in the hands of anti-nationals. In the end, you, the Indian-American donor, may find your hard-earned money either wasted on extravagant overhead, or funding groups you may not approve of.

For instance, Association for India’s Development’s (AID) collaboration with DYFI and SFI, youth and student wings of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), in tsunami relief raises questions about how their funds are used. Some AID chapters in the United States are also subsidizing Asha for Education cofounder Sandeep Pandey’s “peace march” to Pakistan. This is stretching the definition of development and education: these are political activities, which tax-exempt charities are expected to avoid.

These are the kinds of things that go on behind the appealing facades of NGOs. A word to the wise donor: caveat emptor, buyer beware!

Non-Indian NGOs too show bad faith. Amnesty International, headed by a niece of Bangladesh’s dictator, ignores daily atrocities visited upon non-Muslim minority populations there. Human Rights Watch worries about Muslims, but not about ethnically cleansed Kashmiri Hindus. ActionAid and WorldVision have been accused of covert or blatant conversion agendas. Hypocrisy and political games are par for the course.

All NGOs are not created equal: to separate the wheat from the chaff, ignore propaganda and look at track records, especially financial statements.

UPA answer to communal violence: Army rule, Delhi rule

India has a strange way to deal with it's problems. We badly need a bill in parliament to give direct command, control and authority to the central govt. to overide state government's over issues like

terrorism/immigration/deportation/militancy/
naxalism/fake currency racket/jailing terrorists/
securing borders/corruption etc...

These are the issues that is bothering India so much. Using the pretext of federalism, state govt.'s are encouraging terrorism/illegal immigration in India. Even USA has a federal scructure but it has agencies like FBI, Homeland security, INS to deal with security issues. They do not let state governors handle such national security matters.

Instead the UPA govt. in India not only dilutes POTA but comes up with this bill now to encouarge minority aggression over Hindus. There is nothing wrong in over riding the pathetic state leadership's authority in all states but why on communal issues rather than on security issues?

www.indianexpress.com/



UPA answer to communal violence: Army rule, Delhi rule


Controversy Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill 2005 lets Centre over-ride states, virtually enforce Armed Forces Act, even extern suspects


NAVIKA KUMAR


Posted online: Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 0157 hours IST



NEW DELHI, APRIL 22: In the name of ‘‘suppressing’’ communal violence, the UPA Government has drafted a controversial Bill that not only gives the Centre unprecedented powers over states but also equips the armed forces with draconian powers of arrest, search and seizure. It calls for special courts to try cases and arms them with the power to order externment of people ‘‘likely to commit a scheduled offence.’’

The draft Bill, finalised by the Home Ministry is being studied by the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi.



According to the preamble to the Communal Violence (Suppression) Bill 2005—a promise made by the UPA in its Common Minimum Programme—the Bill is in exercise of the constitutional ‘‘duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance.’’

However, it turns established constitutional principle on its head by allowing the Centre to ‘‘prevail’’ over the state in declaring any area as ‘‘communally disturbed.’’

Once the area is declared ‘‘communally disturbed,’’ as per the Bill, the Centre can deploy armed forces and nominate one or more Central officers—not below the rank of Additional Secretary—to ‘‘coordinate steps taken for dealing with the situation.’’

But it’s Clause 7 to Clause 10 that reads like a virtual reprint of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an act which, ironically, the Centre—after the Manipur protests—has committed to reviewing.

Under the Bill, ‘‘any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any person of equivalent rank in the armed forces’’ can:

• Fire, even cause death, after ‘‘giving such due warning as he may consider necessary.’’

• Arrest, without warrant—and use ‘‘such force as may be necessary’’—any one who has committed a cognizable offence or ‘‘against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence.’’

• ‘‘Enter and search without warrant any premises’’ to make any such arrest or to recover property ‘‘reasonably suspected’’ to be stolen property

• Stop, search, seize any vehicle suspected of carrying any person who is believed to have or has committed or is ‘‘about to commit’’ a non-cognizable offence.

• Power to break open any ‘‘door, almirah, safe, cupboard, drawer or other thing, if the key thereof is withheld.’’

• No legal action, unless the Centre sanctions it, against any person in respect of anything done under the Act.

The Bill also provides for setting up special courts either in ‘‘the judicial zone’’ within the state or outside to try riot cases. This court shall be presided over by a judge appointed by the government with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Clause 21 of the Bill gives the special court an extraordinary power to direct—on being satisfied with a complaint or a police report—those likely to commit an offence to ‘‘remove himself beyond the limit of such area not exceeding six months, as may be specified in that order.’’ Failing which, the people may be ‘‘removed in police custody.’’

Under Clause 28 of the Bill, if it is proved that an accused has given any money to a person accused or ‘‘reasonably suspected’’ of a scheduled offence, the ‘‘special court shall presume, unless the contrary is proved, that such person has abetted the offence.’’

Similarly, the next clause says that if fingerprints of the accused were found at the site of the offence, the special court ‘‘shall draw adverse inference against the accused.’’

On the issue of relief and rehabiliation as well, a subject that has so far been the responsibility of a state government, the Centre, under the Bill, will nominate six of the 10 members of a Relief and Rehabilitation Council.

An Open Letter to Dr Romila Thapar

From : Krishen Kak
Email : krishkak@del1.vsnl.net.in






April 22, 2005

Dr Romila Thapar
Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South
The John W. Kluge Center
at the Library of Congress
Washington, DC

Madam,

You are widely acknowledged as the doyenne of Indian professional historians (as distinguished from those you once wittily labelled "pulp historians") and I write to you in regard to a matter of some national concern. I am not aware whether you are still at JNU or at the Kluge Center - neither website lists you - so I'm sending this as an open letter through the contact form at http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/kluge-contact.html .

Most of us grew up and were educated to believe that the Taj Mahal was a ground-up de novo construction by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan. We - and the whole world - are told that it is his monument to his great love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Couples from the world over come to be photographed before this monument - it is all so romantic, especially in the moonlight.
That there is another view in regard to whether Shahjahan really had this bill-and-coo relationship with Mumtaz Mahal, and that in fact he womanized, committed adultery and incest (KS Lal, "The Mughal Harem", New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1988) may, of course, be dismissed as a Hindu bias since it is expressed by one who is often cited by pulp historians.

More serious was a claim made by one PN Oak that the Taj Mahal was a pre-existing Hindu structure. We all learnt to scoff at PN Oak - without needing to read him - because our history books taught us differently. We might have continued to scoff, had the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board recently not decided to lay claim to the property. Not to be left behind, the UP Shia Wakf Board put in its claim, and the Anjuman-e-Mohommedia followed suit. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board supports the Sunni claim, as does the secular Samajwadi Party's government in Uttar Pradesh (with its minister Mohd Azam Khan wanting to become the trustee of the monument - The Pioneer, Mar 17 & 21, 2005), and our secular national government rightly sees "nothing objectionable" in the claim being made ("Whose Taj Mahal?", editorial, The Pioneer, Mar 23, 2005).

At this point, allow me to establish my secular credentials by denouncing the Hindu claims to Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura as grossly objectionable.


I still haven't read PN Oak's claim - the book is not readily available. According to the BBC, "Fearing political backlash, Indira Gandhi's government tried to have Oak's book withdrawn from the bookstores, and threatened the Indian publisher of the first edition with dire consequences" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A5220 ), but you can for yourself see his main arguments at http://www.esamskriti.com/html/new_inside.asp?cat_name=why&cid=389&sid=64 which also asks "why did the illustrious House of Tatas, in 1905, name Mumbai's first world class hotel, Taj Mahal. You cannot attract guests by naming your hotel after a mausoleum. Friends and foes could not give me an answer till someone told me that Taj Mahal meant Crown Residence. Yeah, that was a good name to give a hotel."

In view of the Muslim claim - and its secular and government support - to the Taj Mahal as wakf property, a clear explication of the historical position by our professional historians becomes essential.

Three inter-related issues raise fundamental questions about the historical authenticity of what we've been taught about the Taj Mahal:

1) Was or was not "the use of captured temples and mansions as a burial place for dead courtiers and royalty... a common practice among Muslim rulers. For example, Hamayun, Akbar, Etmud-ud-Daula and Safdarjung are all buried in such mansions"? Has the term "mahal" ever been used for a mausoleum in any Islamic country? Did or did not the European traveller Johan Albert Mandelslo, who visited Agra in 1638 (only seven years after Mumtaz's death), describe the life of the city in his memoirs, but make no reference to the Taj Mahal being built? ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A5220 )? Or, for that matter, even a single European traveller at that time ( http://home.freeuk.com/tajmahal/17eurrec.htm )? (I make special mention of Europeans, because we may safely assume Hindu accounts are prejudiced ones).

2) Does or does not the Badshahnama, Shahjahan's court chronicle written by Shahjahan's own chronicler the mullah Abdul Hamid Lahori, state that in Agra "the palace of Raja Mansingh, which was owned by his grandson Raja Jaisingh, was selected as the place for the burial of the queen Mumtaz" ( http://www.stephen-knapp.com/badshahnama.htm )? If it does, what is the reason for disbelieving it?

Does or does not likewise the Shahjahannama mention that Shahjahan acquired the property of Raja Jai Singh for the burial, compensating him with another piece of property with a building on it? Did or did not the Encyclopaedia Britannica entries on the Taj from 1875 onwards until 1910 suggest a pleasure palace as the earlier construction? Does or does not Syed Muhammad Latif's 1896 book on Agra mention that the building "was originally a palace of Raja Man Singh but now it was the property of his grandson Raja Jai Singh. His Majesty (Shahjahan) gave the Raja a lofty edifice from the Khalsa estate in exchange of this building and the spot was used for the mausoleum of the deceased empress"? ( http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=231036 ). If any of this is so, what is the reason for disbelieving it? (Again, I make special mention of Muslim accounts and of the Britannica, because we may safely assume Hindu accounts are prejudiced ones).

3) Are or are not many rooms in the Taj Mahal sealed, and still inaccessible to the public? What is in these rooms?

The BBC states that "the only way to really validate or discredit Oak's research is to open the sealed rooms of the Taj Mahal, and allow international experts to investigate."

However, why should we want "international experts" when we have a Dr Thapar. I'm sure patriotic Hindusthanis will settle for these rooms being opened before three Supreme Court judges and you (as representing the professional historian community) with a videographic panchnama being made in all your presence of the interior architecture of these rooms and all their contents. And as Subhash Kak (no kin) suggests, "Radiocarbon and thermoluminescence tests can help establish the dates of the buildings in the complex." However, since Subhash Kak is a pulp historian, perhaps we may dismiss his suggestion as a Hindu bias.

There is a larger point. You know that we were all taught the Aryan Invasion Theory, and it is professional historians led by you who've clarified the unlikelihhood of an invasion. You know we've all been taught to acknowledge Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru as being responsible for the British leaving India, but it seems that Netaji played a more significant role (Anuj Dhar, "Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery", New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2005 - however, in fairness, Dhar may not be a professional historian). Now the UP Sunni Wakf Board raises a demand that brings up again evidence apparently sufficiently strong to seriously question whether the so-called Taj Mahal, whatever the original building may have been, was in fact built by Shahjahan.

None of this evidence is new, but I've not been able to find anywhere that it has been properly and professionally rebutted. In the absence of such rebuttal, I'm sure you'll appreciate the danger allowing it to pass unchallenged will pose to our secular polity.

May I, therefore, as a concerned citizen, request you, as the country's most senior professional historian, kindly to make a public statement to settle this controversy, as well as lead a petition to our President to have all rooms in the Taj Mahal opened before you and three Supreme Court judges to settle, once and for all, the truth about this national treasure.

I look forward to receiving through the Kluge Center (that'll have my email address) at least an acknowledgement from you.

Yours respectfully,

Krishen Kak

Can Hinduism survive such an onslaught?

Can Hinduism survive such an onslaught?

By J.G. Arora
--Author is the former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax.

His E-mail address is: jgarora@vsnl.net



A unilateral war against Hinduism is being waged by anti-Hindu forces
to wipe out Hinduism from the face of the earth the way other native
cultures and religions have been obliterated from the world.

It is tragic that Hinduism, the faith proclaiming universal brotherhood
and one-ness of humanity is the target of vexatious attacks, and is
threatened with extinction.

Indian sub-continent including the present day India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and even Zabol in Iran was Hindu land till
Muslims attacked the sub-continent in 8th century. Hindus lost Afghanistan
to Muslims in 987 in a fiercely fought battle. After many centuries,
Muslims got Pakistan in 1947.

In 1971, East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Though India is a Secular
Republic, Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic Republics and have driven
out most of the Hindus and Sikhs from their land.

And in independent India, Hindus have undergone genocide and eviction
from Kashmir to become refugees in their own country. And even this
tragedy has not stirred India's secular souls.

Besides, Pakistan's ISI and Bangladesh are determined to create one
more Islamic country on Indian soil for which they have sent many
terrorists, Pakistanis and crores of Bangladeshis into India. Moreover, ISI has
planted numerous Madrassas on India's border with Bangladesh, Nepal and
Pakistan.

Missionaries' target

If Pakistan and Bangladesh are focussed to Islamize India,
missionaries are determined to Christianize India. While addressing Bishops and
priests in New Delhi on 7th November, 1999 (which happened to be Diwali,
an important Hindu festival), Pope John Paul II gave a call to convert
Asia to Christianity as follows:-

"Just as the first millennium saw the Cross firmly planted in the soil
of Europe, and the second in that of America and Africa, so may the
Third Christian Millennium witness a great harvest of faith on this vast
and vital continent."

Hindus and India are favourite targets for this harvest of faith.
Missionaries have already conquered North-East India. Every where else in
India, missionaries and their Non Government Organizations (N.G.O.s)
having large funds at their disposal are aggressively busy converting
poorer Hindus to Christianity under pretence of charitable social service.



Reinhard Bonnke, the global evangelist famous for his crusades in
Africa, is reported to have stated that during 20 years of his activity in
Africa, Christian population rose from 2 percent to 40 percent, and now
India tops his conversion agenda.

With each passing day, India is becoming more Islamic and more
Christian; and less Hindu.

The only solution

Though for several centuries, Hindus fought the invaders bravely to
defend their faith and motherland, Macaulay's education has made Hindus
ignorant of their religion, heritage and history; and indifferent to
attacks on Hinduism.

Hindus have to re-invent themselves, become pro-active, and tackle this
attack at political, social and religious levels.

Following steps must be taken immediately if Hinduism
is to survive the ceaseless onslaught.

Genuine secularism

Though a sublime concept, 'secularism' has been wrongly equated with
anti-Hinduism in India. Since in the name of secularism, sectarian and
anti-Hindu agenda is being followed, Hindus and their organizations have
to assert themselves and force the government to act as follows.

Article 30 of the Indian Constitution giving special privileges to
minorities regarding educational institutions is fragmenting Hindu society
since various Hindu sects claim non-Hindu status to get benefit of
Article 30. Vide the Supreme Court's judgement reported as Bramchari
Sidheswar Shai & Others versus State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 Supreme Court
2089), even Ramakrishna Mission, a leading Hindu organization,
unsuccessfully claimed a minority (non-Hindu) status to fall under Article 30.
Justice demands that fundamental right under Article 30 must be
extended to every community, whether majority or minority.



Government control over Hindu temples is another aberration. Since
secularism implies separation of State and religion, government control
over Hindu temples is anti-secular, and deprives temples of their income.
Besides, it is discriminatory since only Hindu places of worship have
been brought under government control.

In a truly secular country, all religious communities must have
identical rights. Accordingly, Constitutional direction as per Article 44
regarding Uniform Civil Code has to be implemented urgently. And none
can have any objection to Hindus being treated at par with other
communities.



Conferring a special status on Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir,
Article 370 has led to genocide of Hindus and their eviction from Kashmir.
To bring Jammu and Kashmir at par with other States, Article 370 has to
be abrogated.

And instead of having passport and visa free Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus
which would open floodgates for Pakistani infiltrators, all steps to
deport Bangladeshi and Pakistani infiltrators have to be taken
immediately. Besides, terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Bangladesh have to
be smashed; and if necessary, an all out war with these nations to make
them see reason has to be undertaken.

Anti-Hindu media

In India, many of print and electronic media are indulging in blatant
anti-Hindu propaganda. They are denigrating Hinduism, spreading
misinformation about Hindu scriptures, dividing Hindu society and hurting Hindu
sentiments. Though deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage
religious feelings of any community is a non-bailable offence punishable
with imprisonment of upto three years and/or fine under Section 295-A of
the Indian Penal Code, Hindu reluctance for legal action has emboldened
anti-Hindus to continue their tirade.

Besides taking legal action against malicious propaganda, and
boycotting anti-Hindu media, Hindus must have unbiased daily news papers and
television channels in various languages to defend Hinduism, and to
enlighten the readers about Hindu religion, heritage and history.



Why conversions?

Any attempt at conversion from one religion to another by fraud,
inducement or coercion is horrible, and must be defeated.

Apart from helping needy sections of society, Hindus and their
organizations have to confront and thwart those who are bent upon converting
Hindus to Christianity by deception, enticement or force. Inflow of
foreign funds meant for subversion and conversion has to be barred.
Conversion by fraud, allurement or coercion must be banned. Besides thwarting
questionable conversion, all efforts to welcome the converts back to
Hindu fold have to be made.

Hindu unity

And only a united Hindu society can tackle anti-Hindu forces.

There is a misconception in some minds that Hindu scriptures sanction
the caste system. Vedas, the foundation of Hinduism, are all-embracing
and stipulate a casteless and classless society. Innumerable Mantras
of Vedas emphasize one-ness, universal brotherhood, harmony, happiness,
affection and commonality of entire humanity. All-embracing message of
Vedas has to be practised and propagated to foster unity in Hindu
society.

Besides, there is an urgent need for a strong global Hindu Forum
covering all Hindu sects.

Four Vedas containing 20,416 verses, many Upanishads, Ramayana with
24,000 stanzas, Mahabharata with 1,00,000 stanzas, and several other holy
books are the sources of Hinduism. Codification of Hinduism in one
book is indispensable to widen its reach. For this codification,
appropriate Vedic Mantras and Shlokas of Ramayana, Mahabharata (which contains
Bhagvad Gita), and Tirukkural etc. will provide basic material.

As per Mahabharata, Samvibhaga (sharing of wealth) is an
important attribute of Dharma. Many Vedic Mantras direct humans to share
their wealth with others. Rig Veda (1-15-8) stipulates, "Let us become
God's instruments and distribute fortune to the poor and needy."
Similarly, Atharva Veda (3-30-7) commands humans to share their comforts
with others. Apart from helping the needy, practice of Samvibhaga will
unite Hindu society. If affluent Hindus utilize one per cent of their
income to help vulnerable sections, expansionist religions will be unable
to prey upon Hindu society.

Besides, every Hindu family has to devote time to defend Hinduism. As
per Mahabharata, Dharmo rakshiti rakshitaha (Dharma protects those who
protect Dharma).

Remember your history

Hindus need to remember valour of Dahir, Lalitaditya, Bappa Rawal, Raja
Bhoja, Jayapala, Vidyadhar Chandel, Bhimadeva, Govindachandra,
Prithiviraj Chauhan, Lakshman Sen, Pratap Rudra, Hakka (Harihara), Bukka
(Bukkaraya), Kota Rani, Rana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shiva Ji, Hari Singh Nalwa
and many others who defended their faith and every inch of motherland.

Now or never

Lulled into complacence, many Hindus feel that since Hinduism has
survived for thousands of years, it will continue to flourish for ever. But
they overlook the worst ever attack threatening Hinduism now.

Situation is deteriorating very fast. Hindus are growing weaker day by
day. History shows that unchallenged aggressors become more aggressive.

Today, Hindus in India can fight and defeat the invaders. But tomorrow
it will be too late, and Hindus will be crushed in India as they have
been crushed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh which too used to
be Hindu lands.

Unless Hindus confront their tormentors, and take the above-mentioned
measures immediately, Hinduism, also known as eternal religion (Sanatan
Dharma) will vanish from this earth just in a few decades.

Any further delay or reluctance in fighting the attack will hasten
disappearance of Hinduism from the world.

April 21, 2005

Intellectuals Forum for Pro-Hindu Government in India

The Indian American Intellectual Forum, a New York based group, organized a seminar titled “India Under Siege” on March 5, 2005 in which more than 100 intellectuals from tri-state area participated and discussed various problems with which Indian society has been confronted.

Dr. Narinder Kukar, who has served Association of Indians in America as its National Chairman and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, in a hard-hitting speech said that the educated intelligentsia and affluent Hindus have failed India. He suggested that theocratic countries should be debarred from the membership of United Nations because they freely, and sometime even openly, indulge in minority persecution.
Dr. Kukkar vehemently opposed the forced conversions of Hindus in India to other religions. He further recommended that Hindus should devise some ways and means to encourage “homecoming” of our brothers who, during the alien rule in India, were converted to the non-Indian religions.

Dr. Rajesh Shukla, a senior member of Overseas Friends of BJP, said that after the First World War Syria and Lebanon were carved out of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. Lebanon was especially created by European powers to have a Christian-majority state in the Mid-East. At the time of its creation, Christians were 60% and Moslems were 40% of the total population of Lebanon. By 1970, however, Moslems became the majority due to their high population growth rate and infiltration from neighboring countries.

If the Muslim population rise continues unabated in India too, in a very short period of only another twenty-five years from now, Lebanon-like situation could most likely erupt in our country also, unless some drastic preventive measures are taken right away, Shukla warned.

Mr. Niranjan Shah, a retired engineer, educationist, and a columnist for India Tribune said that in the olden days Veer Savarkar and Subhash Chandra Bose carried on freedom struggle from foreign countries. Now, it becomes the duty of 22 million non-resident Indians, who are resourceful and holding high positions in the countries of their residence, to come to the rescue of our Motherland and protect her from the onslaught of our enemies.

In 1947, the British India was divided on the basis of two-nation theory. What is left of our country is already under siege because 85% of its Muslim population that voted for the creation of Pakistan, did not leave for Pakistan but stayed put in India. Had the ‘transfer of population’ suggestion between India and Pakistan, as advocated by the architect of our Constitution Dr. Ambedkar, been implemented Indian would have been in a better shape from the security point of view.

Dr. Babu Suseelan, a professor in Clinical Psychology and the Director of Addiction Research Institute, Pennsylvania, said that during the 800 years of foreign rule in India, Hindus were physically attacked, economically exploited, and psychologically deprived. This has inflicted great damage on our spiritual traditions, temples, social fabric, and Hindu psyche. Not only that. Even after 58 years of country’s independence, Hindus are still under siege in their own country.

If Hindus want to live with dignity and peace, they need to establish a political power structure at district, state, regional and national level. In order to achieve that, it is absolutely essential that Hindus establish the ‘Hindu vote-bank’ in order to be able to influence the decision-making process of political parties.
India is being attacked from within and without. China’s stockpiling of nuclear arsenals in Tibet, Pakistan’s ambitious acquisition of nuclear weapons and missiles and support of Islamic terrorism in India, is a great threat to India’s integrity. Peoples’ War Group, including the violent Naxalite movement has endangered India’s security.

Earlier, welcoming the audience, Mr. Narain Kataria, Founder/Secretary of the Forum struck the keynote of the seminar when he observed that the Hindus had been pushed to the wall in India. It was a matter of great regret that Hindus were being persecuted even in India. “Minorities are taking undue advantage of the system.” “Time has come that we should devise strategy to capture political power in India,” Kataria urged.

Others who spoke on the occasion were: Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of Hindu Society of North America, Anand Ahuja, Esq., Pabitra Chowdhury, Vice-President of the Forum, Prof. Indrajit Singh Saluja, Managing Editor of English Weekly South Asian Insider, Mr. A.V. Raghunath of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham, Mr. Udayabhanu Panickar, Ashok Vyas, Director Hindi News, ITV, Dr. Sudhakar Reddy, Prof. M.G. Prasad and Ravi Karmarkar. Mr. Venkat Sarma proposed a vote of thanks and Mr. Arish Sahani coordinated the proceedings.

Narain Kataria
Founder/Secretary
Indian American Intellectuals Forum
41-67 Judge Street (5P)
Elmhurst, N.Y. 11373
(718) 478-5735

Hindus react to New Pope : Cardinal Ratzinger

N. S. Rajaram On the New Pope
www.organiser.org/01oct2000/agenda.html

BANGALORE, INDIA, October 1, 2000: Navaratna S. Rajaram wrote this essay five years ago dealing in large part with the work of Cardinal Ratzinger, the newly elected Pope:

The Pope and the Vatican have shown their true face. In a just released document titled "Declaration of Lord Jesus" (written by Ratzinger) the Vatican proclaims non-Christians to be in a "gravely deficient situation" and even non-Catholic churches have "defects" because they do not acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. This of course means the Vatican refuses to acknowledge the spiritual right of the Hindus to their beliefs and practices and asserts also the right of its agents in India and other countries to engage in conversion. During his visit to India Pope John-Paul II went further: he demanded conversion as a "fundamental right" though the Vatican does not recognize any right beyond the Pope's authority.

All this claim is based not only on the doctrinal authority supposedly deriving from the word of Christ, but also the supreme authority of the Pope as the spiritual head of the world to which followers of all other "gravely deficient" religions--like Hinduism--must submit. Without this there is no salvation. Who issued this statement proclaiming the supremacy of the Catholic religion and the supreme spiritual authority of the Pope? It was one Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, head of a Vatican office known as the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is probably the most powerful and influential office in the Vatican. And of all the Cardinals, Ratzinger is closest to Pope John Paul II. The public knows very little about this shadowy office, known since 1965 as the congregation for the Docrtine of the Faith. Prior to that date it was known as the Holy Office. And until 1542 it was known as the Holy Inquisition--a name synonymous with terror and torture in the name of God and Christ. Cardinal Ratzinger is called its secretary; in the old days he would be known as the Grand Inquisitor. It was this office that persecuted Galileo and burnt scientist Giordano Bruno at the stake. It was this office again that sanctioned the Goa Inquisition as demanded by "Saint" Francis Xavier, at which were thousands of innocent Indians perished. It is the same office now that is denouncing Hindus as "gravely deficient" who need to be converted to save them.





RSS accuses new Pope of religious intolerance

www.christianaggression.o...&type=news

Press Trust of India
New Delhi, April 20, 2005
Hindustan Times

RSS Chief KS Sudarshan on Wednesday made a scathing attack on the new Pope accusing him of "religious intolerance" and said such mindset leads to conflicts.

He also accused US President George Bush of funding missionaries in India.

Recalling the millennium peace summit of 2000 in New York where 1100 representatives from different faiths signed a document that there should be no bloodshed in the name of religions as they were different routes to one God, he said, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held a press conference shortly thereafter at the Vatican and released a 36 page doctrine 'Dominus Jesus'.

"The doctrine objected to anyone trying to bring their religion at par with the Roman Catholic church and described it as crossing limits of tolerance.

It said non-Christians cannot get salvation as they don't consider Jesus Christ as the son of God and even non-Catholics would find it difficult to get salvation as they don't consider the Pope as their head", Sudarshan said at a function to mark the second anniversary of devotional television channel Sadhana.

"Such mindset that we are superior to others leads to conflict (Sangharsh),", he said.

The RSS chief alleged that President Bush was trying to propagate Christianity at Government expense.

"Through an executive order, Bush, who is a re-born Christian, gave tax rebate of 80 billion dollars to Christian missionaries in 2002 and set up a special two billion dollar fund for Africa and India, which can be utilised without any question being asked," Sudarshan said.

He also alleged that Christian evangelists Pat Robertson and Billy Graham, who were close to Bush, wanted to convert both India and China to Christianity.

Alleging that a survey project 'Joshua -I' was carried out between 1991-2001 to identify the requirement of Churches in every village and town of India, he said, "CIA also helped in that project and money is pouring in to separate Dalits from Hindus and divide the majority community"



Hindu Organization Reacts to New Pope
www.shastras.org/PressRelease11.html

TROY MICHIGAN, April 19, 2005: Navya Shastra, a global Hindu organization of scholars, practitioners and priests with members in over ten countries, has congratulated the Catholic Church for selecting Joseph Ratzinger--now Benedict XVI--as its new Pope. However, the organization expressed concern over Ratzinger's stance towards Hinduism. "Ratzinger has described Hindu meditative practices as 'auto-erotic' and has stated that the Hindu doctrine of karma is "morally cruel," said Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "clearly he is misinformed about the central practices and tenets which bind the world's 800 million Hindus," he added. At a time when religions must work together to spiritually regenerate an increasingly secular planet, such doctrinal narrowness and lack of understanding of other traditions will only serve a divisive function. "What is needed now is ecumenism and mutual trust," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "we hope that the new Pope comes to understand this because religious difference and competition is causing mounting global conflict," she added.

April 19, 2005

Only one more Pope?

Nostradamus also prophecized the same.
I hope they all are true this time.
______________________________________________________

I p191 (cVIII-46)

During the period that the Antichrist begins to flex his power, the
current pope will be assassinated when he goes on a trip away from
the Vatican. The two cardinals nearest to the pope will realize the
danger to their church after the death, and they will close
themselves up in the Vatican to try to protect themselves.

The current Pope is desirous of world peace and is working against
some established power parties within the Roman church. A point will
come when the special interests inside the church who want to hold
onto their power and wealth will misadvise the Pope in such a way as
to place him in a dangerous situation which he is unaware of. The
assassination will lead to social unrest and rioting in Rome. The
next pope will not last long. There will be only two other popes
after the present one.

I p192 (cII-97)

The pope and several of his entourage will be assassinated in late
spring when the roses bloom, at a European city that is at the
junction of two major rivers.

I p194 (cII-15)

The present pope will be assassinated shortly prior to the appearance
of a comet that will be clearly visible from the sky of the Northern
Hemisphere. His concern for the human condition, leading him to
treacherous travel arrangements, wil be his downfall. The next pope
will be assassinated by the Antichrist because he won't submit to
his demands. The assassination allows the Antichrist to install his
"tool" into the office.

f. Second-to-last pope "swallowed" by Antichrist's schemings
===

I p193 (cI-4)

The second-to-last pope instated after the assassination of the
current one will have a short reign. Due to political blunders and
mistakes he will pave the way for the final pope to be a tool of the
Antichrist. His reign is an omen of the final downfall of the church.

I p 196 (cII-36)

Before the Antichrist comes to full power it will appear that other
leaders are above him and in control of the power structure other
than him. In reality the Antichrist is using them as stepping stones
in his quest for world power. During this period he will have
traitorous cardinal working for him, spying on the second-to-last
pope. One of the cardinals will steal information from him and alter
the pope's personal correspondence, so that it has different
connotations. It will make the situation appear inordinately worse
than it is in reality, causing the pope to react inappropriately.
This way the populace will be more likely to see him as incompetent
and destabilize his authority, possibly by being assassinated. The
cardinal will be troubled by his betrayal because of the obvious
dissension it causes the Church, but he is allied with the Antichrist
and will rationalize away his backstabbing.

g. The treachery of the final pope
===

I p 197 (cIII-65)

The last pope will be elected shortly after the discovery of the tomb
of an ancient Roman whose philosophies greatly influence western
thought, something like within a year's time. This is the "poisonous"
pope that is actually only a tool for the Antichrist who will bring
about the ultimate destruction of the Catholic church.

I p 200

The last pope will probably be French, with a swarthy complexion and
blue eyes. There will be an air of mystery to him. He will have a
physical deformity of some sort, like a slightly hunched shoulder or
clubfoot, a congenital defect in the bone. (It won't be caused by
injury, he was born with it.) His mind has been scarred by the
deformity and the cruelty and callousness of people toward others who
are different.

He entered the church at a young age out of bitterness and desperation
because he knew he would never get a girl to love and marry him. His
parents were involved with the Nazi movement in France and his
schoolmates taunted him with names like "Nazi lover". This pope could
have been kindly if it weren't for his childhood environment and
experiences, but instead was warped into cruelty from pain, and he
wants to "get back" at the world for his suffering while young. This
is a weakness that the Antichrist exploits.

This pope will want to show his enemies, "look at me; I'm powerful; I
can do it; I'm better than you." After he attins the power he
desires, he will be indirectly responsible for the murder of innocent
people because of his alignment with the Antichrist. He will not
murder anyone himself, but will open up avenues for the Antichrist to
do so, particularly those who hurt him when he was young. This
future pope now appears to be kindly on the surface because it is
advantageous for him to be perceived that way, but the sinister side
of his personality is deeply rooted.


I p 202 (cII-76)

The final pope will betray his Church by revealing extremely crucial
and sensitive information directly to the Antichrist, information
that the Antichrist could never have obtained even through his spies
in the church.


h. Demise of the Catholic Church
===

I p193 (cX-70)

Ruin will befall the Catholic church because of its leaders' ambition
for illegitimate power. The leaders will become vainglorious and
think that they can handle whatever they desire to grasp, and it will
be their downfall. Their ambitions will be chilled when they fail and
the church will be subject to great upheaval, with the Pope
ultimately being dethroned. Catholics will become alienated and
disillusioned with the powermongering, will no longer support the
church, and the sphere of influence of the Church will greatly
diminish.

I p 209 (cV-25)

The base of the Catholic Church in Rome will be destroyed in an
accident, as if the city sank into the sea. This will somewhat
coincide with events in the Middle east and some people will connect
the two, but in reality it is a coincidence. However the Arabs will
quickly take advantage of the situation even though they didn't cause
it. The restrictions of the Vatican will cause the church to crumble.
They may rally, but it will be a blow they will never recover from.

The downfall will reveal why the church finally collapsed after
surviving so many centuries. The accident will be a combination of
natural and human-triggered disasters. The force will involve the sea
and a great energy force from the sky descending and dissolving the
landscape. It will be termed a natural disaster because it's beyond
the capability of anyone on the earth to produce the force. No one
can find any cause so it is labelled an "Act of Nature". However, the
more important event of the time, which people will be distracted
from noticing, is the Antichrist's invasion of Turkey.

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/nostradamus/part2/

------------

Only one more Pope?

April 18, 2005

According to a prophecy made in the 12th century, there would be only 112 popes left. Whoever is elected Pope in the next few days will be the 111th.

After that, according to the prophecy, there will be just one more pope. And then Rome -- and the Catholic church -- will be wiped out. In the words of the prediction, 'the city of seven hills shall be destroyed, and the dreadful Judge shall judge the people.'

The man who made this prediction was St Malachy, an Irish bishop and clairvoyant. While on a visit to Rome, St Malachy is said to have fallen into a trance and seen a vision of all the popes to come. Writing in the year 1139, he described each of them in a single, sometimes cryptic, but ultimately apt, Latin phrase. And so far he has been remarkably -- even eerily – accurate.

For example, he described Pope Paul VI, who held the position from 1963 to 1978, as Flos Florum, which means 'Flower of Flowers.' Paul VI's coat of arms, as it happened, featured three fleurs-de-lis, or iris blossoms.

His successor, John Paul I, who was Pope for one ill-fated month before he suddenly died, was described by St Malachy as De Medietate Lunae, or 'Of the half moon.' People were puzzled by the description at first, but after he died they realised that he had come to power at the time of the half moon and died by the next half moon.

The late John Paul II was described as De Labore Solis, or 'Of the eclipse of the sun.' It turns out that he was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse.

These prophecies were first published in the 16th century, and the Vatican tried, for perhaps obvious reasons, to suppress them, but failed.

The next Pope, whose name will be announced shortly, is described in the prophecies as Gloria Olivae, or 'The glory of the olive.' What exactly does this clue mean? We cannot tell as yet. Some believe that it means he will come from the Benedictine order, which is symbolised by the olive. Others argue that the olive signifies Israel. As in the case of many prophets and seers, St Malachy's clues often become clear to us only after the fact.

In the 112th and final prophecy St Malachy refers darkly to a Pope he calls Petrus Romanus, or Peter the Roman. 'In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will lead his sheep through many tribulations, at the end of which the city of seven hills shall be destroyed, and the dreadful Judge shall judge the people.'

As the college of cardinals works feverishly to elect the successor to Pope John Paul II over the next few days, they will have to wrestle with various criteria -- political, organisational, theological and moral. And to make things more complicated, they may also want to make sure that, in order to forestall any further doomsaying, whoever they choose has absolutely nothing to do with the words 'The glory of the olive.'

But with these things you can never really tell: the description often manifests itself only much later. Pope Benedict XV, for example, was referred to by St Malachy as Religio Depopulata, or 'Religion laid waste,' and at first nobody could understand the relevance of this clue. It was only after his reign unfolded, from 1914 onwards, that World War I and the Russian revolution made its meaning terribly, terribly clear.

http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/apr/18anvar.htm

India mute witness to BDR's slaughter of BSF officer

Kanchan Gupta / New Delhi

On Saturday night, an Assistant Commandant and a constable of the Border Security Force, on duty at Lankamura outpost on the India-Bangladesh border a mere 8 km from Tripura's capital, Agartala, were dragged into Bangladeshi territory.




By the time the BSF got them back, Assistant Commandant Jeevan Kumar was dead. He had been shot at point blank range. Injuries on his body indicate he was brutally knifed before being killed. Constable KK Surendran, seriously injured, is battling for his life.



Reports suggest that the two were dragged across the border by a group of Bangladeshis in civilian clothes and then set upon by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel. All the while, the BDR kept firing on the Lankamura outpost. The firing stopped around midnight, followed by a hastily arranged flag meeting during which Kumar's lifeless body and a barely alive Surendran were handed over to the BSF.



The incident revives memories of the slaughter of 16 jawans of the BSF by the BDR on April 18, 2001. Then, Bangladeshi civilians had trapped the BSF jawans into crossing the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. BDR personnel then killed them in cold blood.



The UPA Government is yet to take note of Saturday's incident; even if cursory note, apart from the routine protest lodged by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka, has been taken by the Ministry of External Affairs, it has been drowned by the sound and din of Gen Pervez Musharraf's visit. In 2001, the NDA Government had let the slaughter pass because it did not want to "upset a friendly Government" - then headed by Sheikh Hasina Wajed.



Truce along the India-Bangladeshi border is extremely uneasy at the best of times, with the BDR often resorting to unprovoked firing with the purpose of either stalling work on border fencing or distracting BSF personnel so that illegal immigrants, at times scores of families, can sneak across.



In the past couple of months, the BDR has resorted to heavy firing on five occasions along the 856-km stretch in Tripura of India's 4,095 km border with Bangladesh. Tripura is one of the major entry points of Bangladeshi immigrants.



Ironically, Saturday's incident occurred while BSF Director General RS Mooshahary was in Dhaka, attending a high-level meeting with BDR Chief Maj. Gen Jehangir Alam Chowdhury to work out the modalities of better border management and coordinated patrolling.



Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to attend the 13th SAARC summit in Dhaka, scheduled for early February this year, citing Bangladesh's deteriorating law and order problem as one of the reasons, the UPA Government has been extremely lethargic in confronting the problems India faces from its increasingly belligerent eastern neighbour: illegal immigration, sanctuary for separatists and export of Islamists.



This despite the Supreme Court repeatedly issuing notices to the Union Government on steps being taken to tackle the burgeoning problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh. Last week, seven non-BJP Chief Ministers, including those from North-Eastern states, Left Front-ruled West Bengal and Congress-ruled Maharashtra, voiced concern over illegal immigration at the Chief Ministers' conference on internal security.



With all attention focused on Pakistan, the silence on Bangladesh maintained by successive Union Governments has only emboldened Dhaka. Begum Khaleda Zia's regime knows that India will not protest, not even with a rap on the knuckles. Therefore, BDR can kill BSF personnel with impunity, secure in the knowledge there shall be no punishment for their crime.



The widow and three-year-old daughter of Assistant Commandant Jeevan Kumar in distant Ranchi are of little concern in imperial Delhi.

WOJ- U r getting better at my impersonation. I hope you thought through what this will lead to!

An anti-Gandhi rumour re-ignited Sudarshan fire?

Title: An anti-Gandhi rumour re-ignited Sudarshan fire?

Author: Virendra Kapoor

Publication: Free Press Journal

Date: April 17, 2005



Not everyone in the Sangh Parivar was surprised by Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh chief K S Sudarshan's remarks against Atal Bihari Vajpayee and
his foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya in a recent television
interview.



Sudarshan had often expressed his unhappiness against the former prime
minister, his principal aide Brajesh Mishra, and Bhattacharya in much
stronger words several times in the last couple of years.



The RSS chief had said very much the same things against the trio in
the wake of the Tehelka sting operation, and demanded that Mishra's wings
be clipped. At that time, Vajpayee had survived the RSS onslaught
without giving into the pressure.



Insiders insist Sudarshan's latest outburst was because of the
simmering anger in the higher echelons of the Sangh Parivar that Vajpayee
helped a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family out of trouble.



Sudarshan's confidants are believed to have convinced him that the
predicament of a young member of the Congress' first family at the hands of
US Immigration in New York a few months after 9/11 would have put paid
to his political ambitions.



Instead, goes the story in the RSS circles, Mishra and Vajpayee --
responding to an SOS from the Gandhi family -- got the young scion out of
trouble. They reportedly took up the matter at the highest levels in the
US administration to bail him out of what could have been most
embarrassing trouble for him and his family.



According to the grapevine, the RSS chief was given documents that
purportedly support the above story. It did not help that Mishra had one of
his children living in Italy.



Sudarshan was convinced that but for Mishra, at least one Gandhi would
have been out of political commission for quite some time.



Collateral damage



More on the fallout of the Sudarshan remarks.



It was not Sudarshan's intention to include L K Advani in his
television interview when he advised Atal Bihari Vajpayee to call it a day and
become a senior party statesman.



The RSS boss and one of his advisers, Chennai-based accountant S
Gurumurthy, have an excellent rapport with the Bharatiya Janata Party
president.



It was the interviewer who mentioned Advani for the simple reason that
Advani, 78, could not be kept out of the ambit of the RSS boss' advice
to make way for the younger generation.

RSS' Sudarshan Chakra

RSS' Sudarshan Chakra
- By Siddhartha Reddy
19 April 05.
The Asian Age

RSS chief Sudarshan deserves praise for showing the mirror to the
Vajpayee-Advani duo. If they look ugly in that mirror, instead of
cursing Sudarshan, they and their associates should quit politics.

The RSS has wielded the Sudarshan Chakra, Lord Krishna's ultimate
weapon.

From March 13-15, 1,200 delegates constituting the RSS' highest debating
body, Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, met at Mangalore, a meeting
which Advani attended. A vital decision was announced there, that in
future, the RSS central office will not issue directions about
elections. The sanghchalaks, karyavahaks and pracharaks won't
participate in electioneering. In each constituency, swayamsevaks could
support the BJP, another party or stay neutral. It was a clear signal
that the BJP does not have the RSS' approval. The hint went unheeded, so
Sudarshan went public. Now Vajpayee must resign as NDA chairman and
Advani must quit as the Leader of Opposition and party president.
Hanging around would be shameless.

Make no mistake, this is not a BJP vs RSS battle. The Advani faction,
after getting party control, destroyed the karyakartas' grievance
redressal system. They had to either follow his faction's diktat or die
instant political death. The atmosphere was suffocating, so Sudarshan
intervened.

It's an unprecedented mahayudh, where the entire Sangh Parivar is up in
arms against the group that has hijacked the BJP. The BJP provides the
leaders, while the core karyakartas belong to the RSS. The BJP isn't a
separate entity, but just one petal of the RSS lotus.

Sudarshan is the sarsanghchalak (chairman), a hint from him is enough
for the presidents (CEOs) of the Sangh organisations, BJP, VHP, Bajrang
Dal etc., to resign, withdraw from politics and fade away. So the BJP
shouldn't have issued a statement contradicting the sarsanghchalak.

If Sudarshan and Advani summon a nationwide meeting of karyakartas at
the same time at different venues, every BJP karyakarta with RSS links
will be at Sudarshan's meeting. A national council meet will support
Sudarshan.

Advani and Vajpayee will soon install Rajnath Singh as BJP president, to
ensure a stranglehold of the organisation. The RSS will agree but within
months a new leadership will be crowned.

The UPA government is not exposing BJP corruption. The results of a
combined investigation by CBI, tax, intelligence and enforcement
agencies into BJP leadership's wealth since 1996 would be mind boggling.

Advani's associates manipulate the media and plant demeaning stories
against popular leaders to ensure Advani's vice-like grip on the
organisation. Senior leaders brought up on a diet of discipline and
loyalty suffer in silence refusing to speak to the media, since they
don't want to harm the organisation. People like Ram Madhav bring bad
name to the RSS by following the diktat of the people who control the
BJP.

The RSS functions like a perfect democracy with collective leadership at
every level. On every issue at every level, there is intense, open and
fearless debate. Once a decision is taken, every participant swears by
it. The sarsanghchalak symbolises the RSS' collective will and thought.

The RSS isn't individual-centric. Its priorities are ideology, social
transformation, national security, and Hindu-preservation. To carry
forward its objectives, the RSS picks up individuals from time to time,
provides logistical support, and projects that person as a mahapurush
(great man) and mobilises the karyakartas for him.

It was the RSS that projected Vajpayee as a great centrist leader.
Vajpayee is a dedicated swayamsevak. The entire nation believed that
Vajpayee was good and the RSS was bad. That is not true. The NDA came
into existence because the RSS fabricated the image of Vajpayee's
centrism. Nitish Kumar, George Fernandes and the others understood this
truth quite late. Hence, nowadays they are respectful of the RSS. It was
the RSS that built Advani as the hero of the Ram temple movement. It was
the RSS that projected Advani as a hardliner to appeal to Hindu
hot-heads.

Once the BJP came to power, Vajpayee and Advani removed RSS' influence
from the government and the BJP. They started believing that their
stature was their own creation, that they were bigger than the RSS, that
the RSS was a nuisance, to be humoured occasionally, suffered
perennially and chastised whenever the RSS objected to their personal
political agenda. Advani does not have a base, nor voters. Vajpayee has
an electoral base. But karyakartas dislike both.

The RSS takes phenomenal decisions, sometimes hurting its own political
organisations. If the RSS feels that supporting a party or an individual
who is abusive to the RSS, is necessary in pursuit of its own agenda or
national interest, it does so courageously. In 1971, the RSS backed
Indira Gandhi in the post-Bangladesh war mid-term poll. It supported
Jaya Prakash Narayan in 1975, Morarji Desai in 1977. Pained by Indira
Gandhi's assassination, it unsolicitedly supported Rajiv's Congress in
the 1984 elections, when the BJP got just two seats, with Vajpayee
losing his own. The RSS propped up V.P. Singh in 1989, though he
humiliated the RSS while taking its support. It supported Narasimha Rao
in 1991-92.

It's now time for the RSS to introspect and reform. Does the RSS want to
represent only Hindu thought? Must it not represent a combined national
thought? India belongs to all, irrespective of religion.

The Pakistani establishment wants a Hindu-Muslim conflict in India. If
Hindus and Muslims unite, the Pakistan Army loses a cause. If India
succeeds, then partition becomes meaningless. The Congress, Communists
and their allies want the Muslim vote. They want the RSS to be
aggressively pro-Hindu to shepherd the Muslims into their tents. But the
truth is, no politician on either side of the divide is secular. As long
as there is a divide they cannot be secular. The RSS must erase this
divide.


Let us no longer count the fallen leaves of a bloody communal autumn.
Let us plant the new bio-technology saplings of a secular India. So that
spring, when it comes, integrates every section of our society into one
powerful mainstream.

If a Sudarshan-led new RSS can unite India, it will be performing a
mahayagnya. That must be the RSS' aim from now on.

April 17, 2005

US decision to let Afghans chase Laden was mistake

BERLIN (AP): Osama bin Laden bribed Afghan militias to give him free passage into hiding after the US-led invasion in 2001, the head of Germany's spy agency was quoted Tuesday as saying, in remarks critical of the United States. "The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted Bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora," August Hanning told the Handelsblatt daily. "There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money." The head of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service did not explicitly blame the United States, whose forces used Afghans as their eyes and ears in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taleban after the war, but the context was clear. Shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan the US commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, acknowledged that some Afghans were probably accepting bribes to free al-Qaeda or Taleban fighters whom the US wished to interrogate - although he did not name Osama bin Laden himself.

Military experts warned at the time that many Afghan tribal leaders were working first to consolidate their own power, viewing the American goals of capturing al-Qaeda figures as secondary. The failure to catch bin Laden quickly allowed the terrorist leader - blamed by the United States for the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington - to slip away and insulate himself, Hanning said. "Since then, he has been able to create his own infrastructure in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and has won many friends from the tribal groups there," he said.

German spy chief lists possible al-Qaeda WMDs

13 April 2005

BERLIN - The head of Germany's BND intelligence agency, August Hanning, on Wednesday presented a likelihood ranking for weapons of mass destruction which could be in the hands of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Hanning, speaking at a security conference in the German capital, said he did not believe bin Laden had managed to obtain nuclear weapons.

"We don't think al-Qaeda has made any progress here," said Hanning.

But Hanning expressed more concern over radiological weapons which he listed as a "probably" on his WMD listing.

Turning to biological weapons, Hanning said al-Qaeda certainly had access to basic poisons. Anthrax and plague were ranked as a


"maybe" while ebola and smallpox were deemed "unlikely."

Regarding chemical weapons, Hanning said basic poison gas was available to al-Qaeda but he termed deadly Sarin a "maybe."

Separately, Hanning sought to dampen critical comments he made in a newspaper interview earlier this week aimed at the United States regarding the hunt for bin Laden who masterminded the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

In the Handelsblatt interview, Hanning said the US made a major error in late 2001 by trying to capture bin Laden in the mountainous Tora Bora region of Afghanistan using local militias rather than American troops.

According to Hanning, bin Laden could have secured his freedom by paying off the militiamen.

"I believe it was a mistake that bin Laden escaped," said Hanning at the conference, adding that some media had tried to interpret his earlier remarks as a criticism of the US.

"What the Americans did in Afghanistan was necessary, right and important," stressed Hanning, adding that if the US had not intervened there probably would have been more attacks just as bad as 11 September.

But Hanning concluded his remarks with a warning.

"The war against terror has not been won and this encourages terrorism," he said.

Also speaking at the conference was the German foreign ministry's counter-terrorism chief, Georg Witschel.

Witschel said the new trend of international terrorism was to strike at soft targets such as tourist groups or unguarded commuter trains as in last year's Madrid bombings.

This, he said, was only partly because many other potential targets have been "hardened" over the past years.

More fundamentally, however, it is because terrorists have realised the shock value of hitting such targets is greater and the resulting economic damage is also greater, said Witschel.

Eric Luiijf, of the Netherland's Clingendael Centre for Strategic Studies, highlighted critical infrastructure - including water, power, food - as an increasingly likely target of terrorism.

"Critical infrastructure is a perfect target for asymmetrical warfare," he said, adding that the knock-on effects in Western Europe would be swift and devastating.

Luiijf said electricity was where Europe was most vulnerable, followed by water.

He called on the European Union to harmonise security and protection standards for critical infrastructure and create a single command and control centre both for state and private utilities.

DPA