Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2015! by Fr Cedric Prakash sj

-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

In a few hours from now, we will ring out another year and bring in 2015! For many of us, 2014 was not the year we wished or prayed for; but when one looks back and begins to count one’s blessings, there is much indeed to be thankful for. The dark areas, the grey ones, the sad and painful ones, in ways very unique have also brought us closer to God and have helped us realise that our hearts are truly restless until it rests in Him.

2014 has been too painful wherein the world has witnessed how peace, non-violence and love were so easily sacrificed on the altars of war, violence and hate. We have seen it in various parts of the world particularly in Egypt and in Syria; in the massacre of over 130 innocent children in Pakistan, which will forever be etched in our memory; in the senseless slaying of more than 80 adivasis by Bodo militants in Assam, a reality that was closer home. It has been a painful year indeed!

So what do we look forward to and what can we hope for in 2015? There is plenty indeed! January 1st is observed by the Catholic Church as the ‘World Day of Peace’. Special prayers and liturgical celebrations are conducted all over with a focus on peace. In 1968, when Pope Paul VI introduced the World Day of Peace, he wrote, “The world must be educated to love peace, to build it up and defend it.”  There could be no truer words than these. 2015 then brings to us a very powerful reminder of how each one of us can become instruments of peace.

Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Peace 2015 provides us with a challenging theme, ‘No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters’.  He calls for a global mobilisation to combat human trafficking and slavery of every kind. He asserts, “That many people think that slavery is a thing of the past but this social plague remains all too real in today’s world with child labour, forced prostitution, trafficking for organs and a variety of forms of forced labour.” Further he appeals to every consumer to shun goods that have been produced by exploiting workers and states, “Every person ought to have awareness that purchasing is always a moral and not simply an economic act.

The Church in India observes this day on January 30th – (the day on which Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated) as a tribute to the apostle of non-violence who fought against discrimination. Pope Francis in his message for the day, reminds us that, “Fraternity requires us to reject any inequality which would allow one person to enslave another. Our purpose is to build a civilisation based on the equal dignity of every person without discrimination”. Strangely and sadly however, Nathuram Godse, the person who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi is being flaunted by some as a ‘patriot’; this needs to be opposed by all citizens who truly cherish the values for which Gandhi lived and died for.

2015 is also dedicated as the ‘International Year of Light’ and the ‘International Year of Soil’ by the United Nations – a fitting reminder that all of us are called to be lights in a world that is often overcome by darkness and to truly be a soil, fertile enough for values to sprout and to bear fruit in abundance.

In the concluding statement of his message, Pope Francis gives us the roadmap – a plan of action for each one of us for the new year,  “We know that God will ask each of us: What did you do for your brother? (cf. Gen 4:9-10). The globalisation of indifference, which today burdens the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters, requires all of us to forge a new worldwide solidarity and fraternity capable of giving them new hope and helping them to advance with courage amid the problems of our time and the new horizons which they disclose and which God places in our hands.”

May we all truly ensure and celebrate a peaceful 2015!
31st December, 2014

Resurgence of Godse Worship by Ram Puniyani

Resurgence of Godse Worship

Ram Puniyani

Times are a changing; and changing fast. During last many decades most Hindu nationalists have kept the appreciation of their hero, Nathuram Godse under wraps. The programs appreciating his politics did use to make small news here and there some time; but as such it was a muted act not much publicized and generally kept as a low key affair. During last few years Pradeep Dalvi’s play in Marathi, Mee Nathuram Boltoy (I, Nathuram speaking), attacking Gandhi and upholding Godse, drew packed houses in various places in Maharashtra. Many people had also protested against staging of this play off and on.

With the new dispensation coming to power (Modi Sarkar, May, 2014) many a communal assertions, acts and intimidations are up in the air. It seems these acts are being silently appreciated by those in power. This inference is logical as none in the positions of power have either reprimanded or opposed these Godse acolytes. The main reason is that due to the compulsions of power they do not openly support the Godse appreciation clubs. They also do not condemn these voices as they too belong to the Godse ideology of Hindu nationalism. This Hindu nationalism in popular parlance is projected as ‘Nationalism’, keeping the Hindu prefix in the silent mode.

The latest in the series of acts-statements by this Godse appreciation clubs is the bhumi pujan (earth prayer-a ritual before beginning of new construction) by Hindu Mahasabha for Godse temple in Meerut (Dec 25 2014). The activists of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha are all set to build the country's first temple for murderer of Mahatma Gandhi in Meerut. There are several demands from the Hindu Mahasabha offices to install his statues. The Hindu Mahasabha has requested land from the Centre to erect a statue of Godse in the national capital. The paperback issue of Godse’s book is already running into second reprint.


The BJP MP Sakhshi Maharaj recently called Godse as Nationalist; of course he retracted it soon; apparently to ensure that the ruling party, BJP, is not embarrassed on the issue. At the same time, BJP’s parent organization RSS has come out with two books meant for internal circulation. These books claim to ensure that RSS viewpoint is reached to its Pracharaks, swayamsevaks. These books are RSS-Ek Parichay (RSS-an introduction) and RSS-Ek Saral Parichay (RSS-a simple introduction), the second of which is written by veteran RSS member MG Vaidya. Mr. Vaidya claims that "a narrative of accusation was built around RSS" so the book to dispel that. Essentially these books aim to dissociate RSS from Godse. While the Prime Minister Mr. Modi is maintaining maun (silence) on the subject the opposition leaders are  strongly criticizing Hindu Mahasabha's and others’ views on the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse.

What is the relationship between Godse and RSS? Was he part of RSS and later left it or was he part of it and also joined Hindu Mahasabha in mid 1930s? As for as official line is concerned RSS has tried to keep its slate clean by stating that it had nothing to do with Godse and he was not a member of RSS when he killed Mahatma Gandhi. Just to recall, in early 1998 Professor Rajendra Singh, the then RSS chief, had stated "Godse was motivated by akhand Bharat. His intention was good but he used the wrong method." (April 27 1998, Outlook)


How do we understand the whole issue? The major backdrop to understand the issue is to see the politics of Hindu nationalism as expressed through Hindu Mahasbah and RSS. These organizations remained aloof from freedom struggle. Hindu Mahasabha (HM), was more interested in the immediate participation in politics, as the flag bearers of Hindu communal politics, and the RSS wanted to concentrate on making a network of ‘cadres’ before forming organizations and infiltrating into different arena of education, culture, electoral politics and state apparatus. There was a lot of overlap in the agenda of these organizations as they were both working for the common goal of Hindu Nation. Nathuram Godse, ‘uniquely’ symbolized the fusion of both these two trends.

RSS could get away with dissociating with Godse or rather underplaying Godse’s association with RSS as there was no official record of members of RSS, and so they could disown Godse at legal level. In 1930 Godse joined RSS and very soon rose to be the bauddhik pracharak (intellectual propagator). Like both HM & RSS he was ardent Hindu Nationalist.

As a strong Hindutvawadi he was extremely critical of Gandhi’s ahimsa (non-violence) and the anti British movements led by him. Godse had very poor opinion of Gandhi’s role in freedom movement. RSS-Hindu Mahasbha kept criticizing Gandhi for his involving all religious communities in the freedom movement. Gandhi kept religion as personal matter and projected overarching Indian identity for all. This was what annoyed the HM-RSS combine, as they wanted only Hindus to be recognized as Indians. Godse’s assessment of nationalism of Gandhi is expressed in a way which identifies nationalism with Hindu kings. He used very peculiar parameters to assess Gandhi, “His (Gandhi’s, added) followers cannot see what is clear even to the blind viz. that Gandhi was a mere pigmy before Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind  (ibid Pg. 40, Why I assassinated Gandhi?) and finally about the winning of swaraj and freedom I maintain the Mahatma’s contribution was negligible.” (Ibid. pg. 87)

He held Mahatma responsible for appeasing Muslims, and thereby the formation of Pakistan.  About his association with RSS and Hindu Mahasabha, he writes, “Having worked for the uplift of the Hindus I felt it necessary to take part in political activities of the country for the protection of just rights of Hindus. I therefore left the Sangh and joined Hindu Mahasabha  (Godse, ‘Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi’ 1993, Pg.  102).

Hindu Mahasabha at that time the only political party of Hindutva, and he became general secretary of its Pune Branch.  In due course he started a newspaper, as founder editor, called Agrani or Hindu Rashtra.  As such Gandhi murder was not on the charges propagated by them (Partition and insistence on paying Pakistan’s dues (55 crore) from the treasury), but due to the basic deep differences with the politics of Gandhi and that of the followers of the Hindu Rashtra.  These two reasons are proffered merely as a pretext for the same.

What does Godse mean when he says that he left RSS? Is it true? This truth behind Nathuram’s leaving RSS, is clarified by his brother Gopal Godse. In an interview given to ‘The Times of India’ (25 Jan 98); Gopal Godse, who was also an accomplice in the murder when tells us the reality behind Nathuram’s statement that ‘he left RSS’. Gopal Godse says “The appeasement policy followed by him (Gandhi, added) and imposed on all Congress governments’ encouraged the Muslim separatist tendencies that eventually created Pakistan…Technically and theoretically he (Nathuram) was a member (of RSS), but he stopped workings for it later. His statement in the court that he had left the RSS was to protect the RSS workers who would be imprisoned following the murder. On the understanding that they (RSS workers) would benefit from his dissociating himself from the RSS, he gladly did it."

So this is the logic of Godse saying that he ‘left’ RSS. The dual membership (RSS+Hindu Mahasabha) was not a problem. Thus the murder of Gandhi was steeped in both the streams of Hindutva politics, RSS and HM.  His editing the paper called, ‘Hindu Rashtra was quite symbolic.  This murder had a broad sanction of the followers of HM and RSS, as they celebrated Mahatma’s murder by distributing sweets, “All their (RSS) leaders’ speeches were full of communal poison.  As a final result, the poisonous atmosphere was created in which such a ghastly tragedy (Gandhi’s murder) became possible.  RSS men expressed their joy and distributed sweets after Gandhi’s death."  (excerpt from Sardar Patel’s letters to M S Golwalkar and S P Mookerjee.). Godse was no freak.  The way Hindu communalists were spewing poison against Gandhi, it was the logical outcome of their politics.  And Godse had the ‘benefit’ of the teachings of both RSS as well as HM. They used the word wadh for this murder. This word wadh stands for killing a demon who is harming the society. In a way Gandhi murder was the first major offensive of the Hindutva politics on Indian Nationalism; in a way it was to herald the onset of bigger strides which Hindutva politics has assumed during last few decades, and this is what we are witnessing today.

So though officially RSS family kept dissociating from Gandhi’s murder by Godse, in private many a members not only uphold the dastardly act, but also have even succeeded in undermining the importance of Mahatma and they do ‘sympathize’ with Godse. This complex trick kept going on so far. Now with Modi Sarkar there is no need to hide the true ideology and thinking of this combine and so the open efforts to glorify Godse!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why 2014 was an extraordinary year for our Republic- Gopalkrishna Gandhi

HindustanTimes Wed,31 Dec 2014
Why 2014 was an extraordinary year for our Republic
Gopalkrishna Gandhi
December 26, 2014
First Published: 21:49 IST(26/12/2014)
Last Updated: 22:16 IST(26/12/2014)

It has been an extraordinary year. We have had a twice-elected government lose office as easily as one drops a coin. We have had the most controversial politician in India become prime minister with the ease of a heron take wing.
We have had the worst flood in recent memory devastate Jammu & Kashmir; we have had the people of that state turn up in unexpected numbers to vote a new assembly. We have had a popular chief minister with a massive mandate go to jail on corruption charges; we have had her state — Tamil Nadu — return to the business of life untousled by the gale. We have seen a mass anti-corruption crusade catapulted to power in Delhi, only to bite the dust within months of its leader abandoning its Delhi office.
We have seen an Indian, unknown to most of his fellow-citizens, win the Nobel Peace Prize for his work among children in bondage; one out of every three reported rapes in India continuing to be that of a minor.
At 37, an Indian doctor becomes the youngest ever surgeon general in the United States; India remains at one doctor: 2,000 persons, among the lowest in doctor to population density in the world. India bursts upon the fiery world of Mars; it remains frozen at position 135 in the UNDP’s world human development index.
But startling as this list of improbable things is, that is not what has made 2014 an extraordinary year for me.
What made it so is the change I have seen at our — India’s — basic core. The change has been symbolised in statements made by three Union ministers, bless them, all of who are very intelligent, impactful, women.
To take them up in order of their startling power, the first was born in the heat of election campaigns. And it needs to be put on record that she offered an apology for it. All is fair in love, war and elections but even so, as of one year ago I would not have thought that I would hear and see a Union minister borrow a phrase from the dictionary of obscene words. True, she was on an election campaign when emotions rise and taste sinks but for her to have employed a known invective while coining a new one was extraordinary. The original alternation between ‘halal’ and ‘haram’ to distinguish what was unlawful from what was lawful was now replaced by one which distinguished what was Hindu from that which was not, conflating the sacred-in-religion with the sacred-in-law. If a sectarian fanatic had declaimed this, I would have been neither surprised nor disturbed. But here was a Union minister who has subscribed to the secular Constitution speaking. That, for me, was extraordinary in modern India.
The next one came in a comment on the 2013 floods in Rudraprayag caused by the melting of the Chorabari glacier and the bursting of its banks by the river Mandakini. The minister was quoted as saying one of the reasons for the floods was that men had defecated on holy soil. In other words, the floods were a divine chastisement. If a person believing in ritual pollution and purity had said this, I would have been unaffected. But speaking here was a Union minister, part of a government that wants the world to invest in India’s modernisation. That, for me, was extraordinary.
The third startler was about the Gita, the ‘Song Celestial’, as Edwin Arnold has described it in his famous translation of that remarkable segment of the Mahabharata. The book, the minister proposed, should be our national book. Now, like most countries, we have a national animal (tiger), a national bird (peacock), a national flower (lotus). We do not have a national book and it is good we do not because, as I heard Professor Amartya Sen explain recently, only dictatorships that want to cap thought have ‘favoured books’, and we are not a dictatorship yet. The Gita, despite its universal appeal, is indistinguishable from Hinduism. Coming not from a Hindu divine but a Union minister, this idea was extraordinary.
The three statements formed a triptych of religious assertion inconsistent with our Constitution, incompatible with our inner ‘core’ as a secular Republic. They were a shaking of the Indian banyan by its central bole, the loom by its axle-frame. They were extraordinary.
And in tow, as it were, came the suggestion that ‘learning Sanskrit should be made compulsory’. The idea of making Sanskrit compulsory had little to do with Sanskrit and everything to do with the power to make things compulsory for those who may want to resist the compulsion.
If there was any possibility of these ideas being treated as individual wishes, ‘one-off’ ideas, the re-conversion — ‘ghar wapsi’ (returning home) — plan has made it clear they are more than that. The proposals for new legislation on the subject of faith-change have come alongside pictures of persons seated like scolded school children in front of a sanctifying fire, being ‘re-admitted’ to the Hindu ‘fold’. Fold? A wrestling hold in an akhara, more likely, to immobilise the one ‘held’ into abject submission. And we are assured that any caste can be chosen by the ‘returnee’. Annihilation of caste at one go! Extraordinary, how Vivekananda, Phule, Gandhi, Ambedkar and Periyar missed what the Vishwa Hindu Parishad sees with such lucidity.
The most important ‘improbable’, however, came in the shape of adulation for Nathuram Vinayak Godse. “He was a patriot”, it was said, and his murdering an unarmed man of 79 years an act of indomitable courage. He deserves a statue, it was suggested, and the Hindu Mahasabha’s role in the assassination, re-visited.
All this made the year just ended quite extraordinary for our Republic.
May one hope for a less extraordinary ‘new year’?
We must, for a year that marks the centenary of the return from South Africa of a very ordinary man who Subhas Chandra Bose christened ‘father of the nation’.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi is senior fellow, Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University
The views expressed by the author are personal
- See more at:

Monday, December 29, 2014


-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

No one can deny that Narendra Modi is very adept with ‘hunting with the hound and running with the hare’ - the latest being the ‘bogey of conversion’ which is raising plenty of heat and kicking plenty of dust all over. A clever ploy indeed!

A peep at some of the actions and utterances done in very strategic ways will provide one with an inkling of their meticulous plans to defocus from the real issues which grip the country and simultaneously target the minorities through systematic denigration.  So the ‘hindutva’ agenda hogs the limelight day-in and day-out.

Nathuram Godse, the one who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation overnight becomes a hero and a patriot; Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS Chief calls for the establishment of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (nation); a Union Minister, Niranjan Jyoti turns abusive saying that in India, one is either ‘ramzadon’ (those born of Ram) or ‘haramzadon’ (illegitimately born); the HRD Minister through a circular states that Christmas Day (December 25th) should be a working day for schools (and then denies it); the Government however continues to insist that it is not a holiday for Government employees.

So no more the study of German as a foreign language but instead Sanskrit is designated as the ‘lingua franca’ of the country. D.N. Batra’s textbooks complete with myths, falsehoods and innuendoes are being mainstreamed in the curriculum in Gujarat and in other States.  It is the Bhagwad Gita and not the Constitution of India which should be our ‘national book’. In Gujarat, groups are going about wanting to speak about the Gita in minority institutions.  The hate-speeches from several of the BJP leaders and their cohorts, will make any Indian who cherishes all that India stands for, to wince.  

In the bogey of ‘conversion and reconversion’, these fringe groups conveniently forget that     Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees to every India “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion” and Article 19 the “protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc”. The votaries of hindutva have also thrown to the wind       Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which unequivocally states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

In all this Prime Minister Modi remains completely silent even as others ask him to ‘rein in’ these fringe elements. It is rather unbelievable that the average Indian can be so naive! A good section of the media has either been bought up or has been coopted. News reporters are very careful of how they word an article or a headline (this is understandable since their careers are at stake and it is their bosses who call the shots). But let’s not fool ourselves – Modi and the Sangh Parivar are one and the same. He would never have become Prime Minister if not for them and for their total support to one of their own.

One needs to revisit Modi’s election campaign in the run-up to the 2002 election in Gujarat and particularly his promise to bring in an anti-conversion law once they assumed power. True to his word, on March 26th 2003 (and without any opposition) they passed the ‘Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003’ and five years later in 2008, they introduced the rules that are necessary to govern the implementation of the law. It is one of the most draconian laws of the country which necessitate that anyone seeking to change his or her religion, must first seek the permission of the District Magistrate. The Constitutional validity of this law was challenged in 2009 in the High Court of Gujarat and a judgement is still awaited.

Meanwhile in February 2006, in a Shabri Kumbh programme (supported by the Gujarat Government) in the Dangs District of Gujarat, Modi warned the Christians with a blatant assertion, “It is my constitutional duty to prevent conversions.  Our Constitution disapproves of them, and yet some people turn a blind eye.” Morari Bapu accused the Christians of bringing in plane-loads of missionaries from the Vatican “who come here to carry out conversion activities but when we organise a ‘ghar wapsi’ why should it be termed as bad?”  Both Modi and Morari Bapu clearly endorsed the ghar wapsi programmes which were part of that programme and the later ones orchestrated by Swami Aseemanand.

Once the opposition starts screaming, Modi gets Arun Jaitley to ask in Parliament “should we introduce a law against conversion or only against forcible conversions?” Through his heavy silence, Modi indulges in another manipulative game in order to emerge as ‘a hero’.  Without directly “targeting” the minorities of the country (mainly Muslims and Christians) he will show that he is able to address the ‘nefarious deeds’ of those who have mentored him by piloting an anti-conversion law. So of course, the world will say he has dealt with the Hindu right-wing when in factuality he is just following to the ‘T’ an extremely well-crafted strategy.

What does ‘ghar wapsi’ mean? Is it about Indian culture and may we ask who is culturally the real Indian? From North, South, East or West? The one who speaks Bengali or Marathi, or Tamil or Hindi or any of the other 22 constitutionally recognised languages? Is it the adivasi or the Parsi or the Muslim, the Christian or Hindu? and to which caste, if Hindu? I believe in a God today; if I stop believing that there is a God, do I in any way, lose my Indian identity?  In a democratic country like India why should the Government decide which religion I should embrace and which God I should worship?  Do I have the freedom to choose or adopt a religion of my choice?

The ghar wapsi programmes are “red herrings” – no one knows if these people are actually ‘Christian’ or not and even from where they are brought.  If one goes on the ‘facts’ given to the media by the ‘hindutva’ forces (at least where Gujarat is concerned) one wonders as to why they are not following the law ‘in toto’. Don’t they also have to seek permission from the Collector according to the existing anti-conversion law?  Perhaps they want to prove that this law is very special and very selective in targeting only those who want to embrace Buddhism, Christianity and Islam!

Narendra Modi has been proving that he has absolutely no agenda to govern the country. Perhaps, that is why he wants to have at least December 25th to be called ‘Governance Day!’ All their election promises are slowly falling apart, proving to be a bunch of lies, myths and illusions. With several of those in Government with criminal records and absolutely corrupt – they have pretty little to offer the people of India who are gradually awakening and will surely say sooner or later ‘one can never fool all of the people all of the time’.

The bubble of “achche din” will soon burst! Though dark times await many in the country; truth will ultimately triumph!

22nd December, 2014

R Gopalakrishnan: Creativity - Lessons from Jesuits(in Business Standard December 25th 2014)

R Gopalakrishnan: Creativity - Lessons from Jesuits

Innovation produces unintended risks. However, only a scientific temper can advance knowledge
R Gopalakrishnan  
December 25, 2014 Last Updated at 21:48 IST

Ganesha is the Lord who helps overcome obstacles. In threeInnocolumns since Ganesh Chaturthi, I have written about golden rice, genetically-modified seeds and general technophobia to illustrate the point about innovationobstacles. Innovation produces unintended risks; however, only a scientific temper can advance knowledge.

This column will appear just after Christmas. I have returned from the premier and upcoming Goa Institute of Management, which was founded by a Jesuit and is currently run by a Jesuit. I studied at St Xavier's School and College in Kolkata, a Belgian Jesuit institution. The dedication as well as the curiosity, enquiry and erudition of Jesuits have always fascinated me. They seemed deeply immersed, whether it was Physics, Archaeology or even Sanskrit. Over the years, I have tried to understand this Order with specific regard to creativity and innovation. Their origin and evolution bear lessons.

The Roman Catholic Order of the Society of Jesus was founded by Spaniard St Ignatius of Loyola, along with nine companions, around 1540. One of those companions was St Francis Xavier, whose exposition in Old Goa is currently on. St Francis Xavier arrived in Goa in 1541 and held the record for converting the highest numbers during his time.

The early Jesuits realised that the hierarchical Catholic Church was in dire need of reform. The clergy then was poorly educated. The Jesuits were "men on the move", ready to go anywhere on a mission under obedience to the Pope. Education was not the principal goal of the early Jesuits. Soon, the founders realised that intellectual competence was essential to bring about change. During his lifetime, Ignatius opened as many as 33 schools. Thus, the Jesuits insisted on a high level of academic preparation for those wishing to be ordained into the ministry. Knowledge became an enabling pre-requisite. That is how although the Order had got papal approval in 1537 and despite their loyalty, Ignatius and his successors periodically upset the Pope and the church bureaucracy. I reckon this happens to all creative people.

The central tool used by the Jesuits to change people's hearts and minds was the "Ignatius Retreat" or "Spiritual Exercises". This required a four-week period of silence, directed meditations and conversations with a spiritual director. The retreat was aimed at ridding the person of pre-dispositions and biases, enabling the person to make free choices. It was through this technique that Jesuit education burst forth onto the world in the 16th century.

The techniques of silence and meditation are not unique to the Jesuits. They have been practised in yoga for long. Thinker and author Pico Iyer spoke eloquently about The Art of Stillness in his much-watched TED talk.* To quote from him, "Freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize." The lesson is that you need a method to develop an open mind.

Armed with knowledge and an open mind, the Jesuits became very focussed and disciplined about their subjects of study. They learned how to specialise in a subject, yet integrate their knowledge into their theological base. Deep specialisation rested on a philosophical platform of education and innovation.

The results were an effulgence of innovative thinking and learning. Jesuits made such significant contributions to the understanding of earthquakes that seismology was even described as "a Jesuit science". During the 17th century, Jesuits made important contributions to experimental physics. In the glittering Chinese Ming courts, Jesuits were regarded as "impressive for their knowledge of astronomy, calendar-making, mathematics, hydraulics and geography".

Four lessons for modern innovation can be drawn: first, recognise that knowledge is essential; second, adopt a formal method for the development of an open mind; third, learn the art of making free choices and; fourth, specialise deeply on a philosophical platform.

We somehow assume that we require no training in our "natural functions" such as breathing, eating, concentrating and innovating. Yoga teaches us that we do need such training. Maybe it is time to introduce Vipasana into innovation training in companies.

Happy New Year.


I will do all within my power to end slavery within my lifetime.

Sign the Declaration with the Global Freedom Network:
United to end slavery.
Committed to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of all humankind, Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery at the Vatican on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
I will do all within my power to end slavery within my lifetime.
Each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man and is destined to exist in equality and dignity, free forever.
Collectively we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.
We can be the generation that ends slavery.
Cedric Prakash
India 29/12/2014

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS: Ordinance on Land Act Unconstitutional and Anti People

National Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316

Ordinance on Land Act Unconstitutional and Anti People
People's Movements to Organise Against its Passage in Parliament
Every Forced Acquisition on Ground Will Face Stiff Resistance

Today's Cabinet decision approving the Ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act 2013, even before the law has been actually implemented on the ground is completely unacceptable and reminds us of the anti democratic and authoritarian streak of this government. In six months of its existence NDA government has already used the Ordinance route three times.
            We fail to understand what is the Emergency at this moment that, NDA government has to take the Ordinance route. This is only being done as a measure to benefit the Corporate Houses and nothing else. 20 Lakh Crore investments are not stuck because of the new land act, since the law has only been in existence for one year.
            The land acquisition act, 1894 was amended precisely to resolve the conflict due to forcible land acquisition, give farmers their due and meet the needs of the industrial development. Today's decision will only increase that conflict since large scale forcible land acquisition for the industrial corridors will be norm, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor alone has plan for acquisition of 3,90,000 Hectares of land. Industrial Corridors, big infrastructure projects, dams etc cause the maximum displacement and environmental damage and the new land Act was to address situations arising out of that.

Amendments to Fulfill Corporate Agenda
            We strongly oppose this move and believe that this government is completely anti-poor and is only interested in pushing forward the corporate agenda. It is a Ambani-Adani Sarkaar – a Company Sarkaar, which is out to sell the democratic rights of the people and democratic traditions of law making in the Parliament in the name of business. The new Act was framed after consulting all the stake holders and over a period of seven years after going through two Parliamentary Standing committees (2007 & 2009), both headed by senior BJP leaders, Shri Kalyan Singh and Smt. Sumitra Mahajan.

            Mr. Modi has displayed least patience for the parliamentary traditions and often remained silent on the key issues concerning the nation and blamed opposition for non-functioing of the Parliament. Matters concerning the lives of millions of the farmers in this country can't and shouldn't be decided by mere Ordinance. These are matters of grave importance and need thorough debate and discussion in this democracy. BJP when in opposition had opposed the Ordinances for law making and now they are doing exactly that, how shameful!

Section 105, Consent and SIA Clause
The government is claiming that the decision is not anti farmer since they are not touching the monetray compensation, but the issue was not only compensation. A piece of land has an interest from many sections workers, share croppers – other than the land owners and they all get affected by any acquisition. So, the changes in the consent clause for acquisition of the PPP and Private projects will impact everyone and not only the land owners. The explanation that an Ordinance became necessary to deal with matters arising out of the Section 105 of the Act is completely false. We believe, it is not only misleading but again obfuscating what the Act mandates. As per the Act, the government was to bring a Notification in the Parliament in year 2014 to extend the provisions of the compensation and R&R to the people affected by land acquisition carried through the 13 central acts, as mentioned in Fourth Schedule.
            The dilution of the need for the consent and conducting of the Social Impact Assessment for all the projects is completely uncalled for and will only make matters worse. These two provisions are central to addressing the issue of 'forced land acquisition' and 'resulting impoverishment” to the communities.  

Section 24, Retrospective Application of the new Act
            Even as we wait for the full details of the Ordinance, we would like to say that the 2013 Act provided relief to so many farmers where land was forcibly acquired or land was not utilised or adequate compensation not paid. The Ordinance is changing that which is completely anti farmer. We all know that there are nearly 10 Crore people displaced by various projects since independence and this government rather than providing any relief is only concerned about the needs of the industry. 

We Will Oppose its Passage in the Parliament
            It remains a fact that intense struggles are going on in various states across the country around the issues related to land acquisition, displacement, development plans and projects. The farmers, fishworkers, labourers, artisans, facing uprootment from not just their socio-cultural environs but also livelihoods, are compelled to get united and raise their voices against unjust displacement pushed by Modi Sarkaar.  The resistance will only become much more vocal now. People's movements from across the country oppose this Ordinance and will organise demonstrations across the country this week and will ensure that resolutions are passed in the Gram Sabhas on the Republic Day that no forcible land acquisition will be allowed by the government for profit and private corporations.

Medha Patkar, Yogini Khanolkar, Meera - Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara - Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava - Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe - NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriel Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh - NAPM, UP; Sister Celia - Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai - Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant - Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Kanika Sharma – NAPM, Delhi
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