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  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29306271 ndia's maiden mission to Mars has "entered the Martian neighbourhood", its space agency says, 48 hours before its planned arrival in orbit. Launched last November, the spacecraft - known informally as Mangalyaan - will complete a 300-day journey to reach the orbit on Wednesday. If it succeeds, India will become the fourth country in the world to claim a successful Mars mission. US, Russia and the European space agency already have probes there. "Our navigator's calculations shows that the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has entered the gravitational sphere of the influence of Mars," the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) tweeted on Monday. Science journalist Pallava Bagla told the BBC the gravity of Mars had now "started acting on the orbiter and it would gather more speed" ahead of its planned entry into the orbit of the Red Planet. Regional space race Later on Monday, India's space scientists successfully started the spacecraft's idling main engine for four seconds to test their efficiency. The probe is being tracked by scientists and engineers in Bangalore The engine will be fired to slow down the spacecraft, enabling it to be captured by the planet's gravity and place it into Martian orbit. The 1,350kg (2,976lb) spacecraft is equipped with five instruments including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas - a possible sign of life, a colour camera and a thermal imaging spectrometer to map the surface and mineral wealth of the planet. The mission will also analyse the thin Martian atmosphere. Separately, the US space agency Nasa's latest Mars satellite arrived successfully in the Mars orbit on Monday after its 10-month journey. India's Mars Mission is being seen as the latest salvo in a burgeoning space race between the Asian powers of India, China, Japan, South Korea and others. At $72m (£43m), India's Mars mission is comparatively cheap, but some commentators have still questioned whether a country with one of the highest rankings for childhood malnutrition in the world should be spending millions on a mission to the Red Planet.
  2. Why We Need to Abolish Death Penalty Why We Need to Abolish the Death PenaltyAugust 27, 2015 by Gurdhyan Singh & Aratrika Choudhuri Source: www.tribuneindia.com More than 160 nations, Member States of the UN, have either abolished capital punishment or do not practise it. The death penalty has no place in the 21st century, especially in a civilised democracy. Why does India still insist on depriving its citizens of the fundamental right to life? A protest in Srinagar against hanging of Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon. India must review its stance on the death penalty PTI WHAT says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!” As Albert Camus says, capital punishment is perhaps the “most premeditated of murders.” Victor Hugo, in his condemnation of capital punishment, has perhaps best illustrated this fundamental dichotomy, underlying the imposition of death penalty in a civilised democracy. Taking of life, even when backed by legal process, is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another. Echoing Hugo’s sentiments, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon categorically stated that “the death penalty has no place in the 21st century.” The UN Special Rapporteurs on judicial executions and torture, Christof Heyns and Juan Mendez, asserted that there is “no proof” that the death penalty has a deterrent effect, and many executions have resulted in “degrading spectacles.” Therefore, wisdom prevailed with the global community where more than 160 Members States of the UN, with a variety of legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds, have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it. Why does India, an admittedly democratic republic, still insist in depriving its citizens of their fundamental right to life, as exemplified by the execution of Yakub Memon? Yakub was convicted of “criminal conspiracy to carry out terrorist act” in the devastating Mumbai blasts, where thousands of families lost their loved ones. The Indian judicial response to Mumbai blasts culminated in the Supreme Court's unprecedented early morning hearing on July 30. The Court in this hearing rejected Yakub’s application seeking suspension of his execution and reaffirmed his death sentence. Yakub's execution compels India as people to revisit the issue whether death penalty is sustainable in a modern democracy. In 1980, the Supreme Court of India, in Bachan Singh vs. Union of India, observed that, “the normal rule is that the offence of murder shall be punished with the sentence of life imprisonment. The court can depart from that rule and impose the sentence of death only if there are special reasons for doing so. Such reasons must be recorded in writing before imposing the death sentence.” The Supreme Court further also acknowledged that this requirement of “special reasons” was very loose and would allow courts to impose the death penalty in an arbitrary and whimsical manner. The Court, however, declined to list crimes that may fall in this category. Paradoxically, however, this doctrine has enabled judges to impose death sentences in an arbitrary manner, reinforcing the deeply flawed character of capital punishment in India today. Perturbed by the numerous flawed, judicially sanctioned, executions, 14 eminent retired judges wrote to the President in 2012, pointing out that the Supreme Court had erroneously given the death penalty to 15 people since 1996, of whom two were hanged. The judges called this “the gravest known miscarriage of justice in the history of crime and punishment in independent India.” Former President late Abdul Kalam, acknowledged that one of his most difficult tasks during his tenure, was deciding who deserved mercy or capital punishment. According to a study conducted during his tenure at Rashtrapati Bhavan, all pending cases of capital punishment had a socio-economic bias; the death penalty was mostly given to the poor. India’s argument for death penalty is based on an assumption that its continuance prevents crimes of similar or serious nature, by instilling fear. There is no credible empirical evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrence, as noted in a UN resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2012. The lack of such deterrence is further demonstrated by the fact that the UN International Criminal Tribunals for former Yugoslavia (a region where more than 150,000 people died and about 4 million were displaced) and Rwanda (a country where about 1 million people died and 2 million were displaced), followed by the International Criminal Court, have not included death penalty as a mode of punishment. Even though these judicial institutions adjudicate on the most devastating and brutal crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, rape, and war crimes. India's legislative and judicial framework still resorts to this brutal punishment. Insistence on retaining death penalty will cloud India's emerging clout in the global context — in which India harbours lofty global aspirations. It is way behind other countries in key current legal and moral trends on justice-related issues. For example, the UN Moratorium on Death Penalty (last affirmed in 2012) notes that in a country like India, where trials are lengthy and decades may pass before actual execution of the verdict, those who await execution have died a thousand times already because of their anticipation of the final horror. Similarly, in its 2012 Universal Periodic Review of India, the UN Human Rights Council recommended that India establish an official moratorium on executions and move towards abolishing the death penalty. The Council also recommended that India commute all death sentences into life imprisonment terms. However, India did not accept any recommendations regarding the death penalty, or abide by any international moratorium or resolution that requires it to eradicate death penalty from its legal order. An outdated argument by India is that each nation has a “sovereign right” to determine its legal system, and to punish criminals according to its laws. This is grounded in a false assumption that such a right is absolute. By participating in a global legal system, ratifying treaties and submitting itself for global monitoring, India's “sovereign right” is fundamentally tempered. While this argument may sound politically impeccable in a national context for populist reasons; it displays blatant ignorance of a growing globaltrend towards the abolition of the death penalty. Unsurprisingly enough, in 2014, India, along with 37 other countries, voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for moratorium on death penalty. India aligned with Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the USA. and Zimbabwe. An overwhelming majority of 117 countries supported the moratorium. Despite facing internal volatility, Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia, Croatia, Israel, Myanmar, Rwanda, Serbia, Somalia, Tonga and Uganda joined the European Union in supporting the moratorium on death penalty. Some of these countries, that have undergone incessant war, genocide, mass rapes, sexual violence, and other forms of brutal crimes, at a much larger scale than India, have rejected the use death penalty. This display of solidarity for humanity, irrespective of geopolitical considerations, sends a powerful moral message to countries like India, which are still clinging to capital punishment. It is time to turn away from vengeance disguised as deterring punishment. India's stance should not be defined by the actions or beliefs of the accused, but by the resilience of the human spirit, and diversity of civilisations of this land, where compassion for all is the foundation of the edifice of progress. A Private Member’s Bill for the abolition of death penalty by MP Kanimozhi is on the anvil. Under its objectives, capital punishment has been termed as “irreversible in a justice system susceptible to human failure”, “unjust” and “inhuman”. At the essence of all deliberations on death penalty, lies a fundamental question, as asked by Helen Prejean: “The important question is not, ‘Do they deserve to die?’ but ‘Do we deserve to kill them?’” Gurdhyan Singh, former UN investigator in Yugoslavia & Rwanda, is Founder Executive Director of Global Justice Academy. Aratrika Choudhuri, is a IInd-year law student at West Bengal National University of Juridicial Sciences & Director Projects, Global Justice Academy. Views are personal
  3. India’s Modi just delivered the world’s worst compliment By Rama Lakshmi June 8 at 4:31 AM Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on June 6. Modi arrived in Dhaka for a two-day state visit to Bangladesh. (Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters)Many Indians woke up Monday to a surge of outrage on Twitter and Facebook against their prime minister, Narendra Modi. It revolved around the words “despite being a woman.” The hashtag #DespiteBeingAWoman was triggered by Modi’s praise for his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, on Sunday during a state visit to Bangladesh. “I am happy that Bangladesh Prime Minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism,” Modi said in a speech Sunday at Dhaka University. It is not uncommon for Indian politicians — and Modi’s colleagues in his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party — to make sexist and misogynistic remarks. But since he was elected to the nation’s highest post a year ago, Modi has carefully constructed a pro-woman image. During an Independence Day speech last year, he spoke about rising sexual assaults on women and accused Indian parents of not raising their sons well. He has promoted programs against female feticide and discrimination against female children in Indian families. But Sunday’s gaffe created a stir. Overnight, the hashtag gained ground. “Even though the remark was meant to be a gesture of praise, social-media users interpreted it as an insult to women around the world,” wrote news portal Scroll.in. “Twitter started buzzing with tweets attached with pictures of women achievers of India; scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization, foreign ministers, sportswomen and more.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/06/08/indias-narendra-modi-meant-to-praise-bangladeshs-female-prime-minister-but-it-was-viewed-as-an-insult-to-all-women/
  4. Women Should Be Raped Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu landed himself in a controversy following his remarks about the Delhi gang-rape victim (editor’s note: she was gang raped by a Hindu gang and then raped with an iron rod, she died later) at an event on Monday. Speaking at an event in Tonk, about 90 km from Jaipur, Asaram Bapu reportedly said the girl was equally at fault for getting raped and could have avoided it had she taken guru diksha and chanted the Saraswati Mantra. According to a report broadcast on CNN-IBN, Asaram Bapu made the following observations about the Delhi gang-rape: “Those who were at fault were drunk. Had she taken guru diksha and chanted the Saraswati Mantra, she would not have boarded any random bus after watching a movie with her boyfriend. Even if she did, she should have taken God’s name and asked for mercy. She should have called them brothers, fallen at their feet and pleaded for mercy. Had she said, “I am a weak woman, you are my brothers”, such brutality would not have happened.” This portion is an article by Sardar Ajmer Singh Do you think that Hindus accept the purity of the father and daughter or the brother and sister relation? Do they really know meaning of Rakhsha Bandhan? The answer is NO. Hinduism accepts physical relationships between brother and sister as well as between father and daughter. According to the Hindus Holy Granths these are valid and divine relationships. Let’s look at examples of these Hindu ‘Holy’ Relationships:
  5. from SIKHNET Time for Truth, Justice and Reconcilaition January 1, 2015 by Gurdhyan Singh Source: www.independentoped.com India: Victims of Violence Deserve Truth and Closure: Time for a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission December 24, 2014 By Gurdhyan Singh St. Paul, Minnesota, USA A QUESTION MARK? What happened to you? What you had gone through Is not part of any religion’s criteria, But sure can be part of barbarism. That’s why your body was raped; When I saw nail marks on your face, Barbaric stamp on your chest, A sharp needle pierced my veins, My heart filled with tumultuous pangs, I started to suffocate From the terror in your eyes. It appears that Your only brother was burnt alive And your father’s greying beard and hair was dishonored In the Chandani Chowk Delhi; Your mother’s heart stopped beating. Perhaps that time the humanity was under curfew And all religions went into hiding into their respective homes, Scared of barbarism, I heard that the city is always mute, But this time The city wailed And cried its heart out But was helpless; In your own home You’re becoming homeless, an orphan, a refugee Is a fundamental question mark? That will we ever learn to live sans advertisements? Otherwise We all will be guilty of our history and progenies. I wrote this poem 30 years back in Punjabi language, as an expression of my pain and agony and a tribute to a victim of the anti-Sikh violence that occurred in Delhi and other parts of India, in the wake of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s killing on October 31, 1984. The anti-Sikh violence resulted in the death about 3,000 Sikhs, many were put on fire, and their property destroyed. In addition, many women were subjected to various kinds of sexual assaults. Since then, I have read the poem numerous times. I came across, that all victims of violence share one common feeling; the deep emptiness that pervades their whole being, evidenced by their silent calls for help, for compassion. I saw this emptiness, the silent cries for help, in that victim that day. After 30 years, India has not been able to bring healing and closure to the pain and sufferings of the Sikh victims of violence. Other than random and incomplete attempts for compensation and some material benefits, there have not been any comprehensive effective attempts to address the scars and trauma of victims. The Indian government appointed ten successive commissions to investigate various aspect of anti-Sikh violence; all documented testimonies, collected evidence, and made recommendations, mostly legal in nature. The courts so far have convicted about 30 lower level individuals involved in the violence. The prosecution against those at top level is lingering, and always back and forth, without any end in sight. India has encountered similar tragedies in one form or another hence such pain and agony is not recent; the 1947 partition of India, with one million dead, and ten million displaced, reminiscent of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Due to a lack of closure emotional pain of the partition still continues to manifest itself intermittently through poetry, drama, and even in Bollywood movies. In contemporary India, the cycle of violence in India has three variations: one is inter-group violence, often described as communal violence or mob-violence. Second, resorted by various armed opposition groups, and thirdly State violence. All these variations of violence effected people’s lives in a variety of ways as innocents, combatants, police and army personnel, politicians, bureaucrats, poor, and rich alike. In a broader sense, India has been unable to deal with emotional scars and hurt psyche of all those effected by all kinds of violence. There is a subtle denial of large-scale emotional suffering of masses; no therapeutic and cathartic processes have been devised. There has not been a serious national initiative or dialogue to develop any comprehensive mechanism for reconciliation and healing. The only idea recycled by Indian politicians of all hues is limited to the rhetoric of communal harmony, peace and national integrity. There has been few occasional and spontaneous talks of truth commission. For example, in 2011, the J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah remarked “setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe killings and cases of disappearances in the past 20 years would be the strongest Confidence Building Measure.” However, there was no follow-up on the idea even though proposal has a very limited scope. The civil society groups do occasionally make reference to the need for a truth commission. Recently in an article, Mr. Justice Rajinder Sachar (Retd) hoped that the Nanavati Commission’s “terms of reference would be on the pattern of “Truth and Conciliation Commission” appointed in South Africa by Nelson Mandela.” He added that “I still feel that this aspect should be followed by the Central Government because I am of the firm opinion that apart from punishing the guilty, it is important to know the real truth which is hidden in government files — human rights principles and justice to the families of victims demand this course.” The lack of truth and closure results in each group crafting its own narratives, eventually totally holding others responsible for their plight. The feelings of vengeance and the process of dehumanization of others continue to be passed on to next generations. The groups imprison themselves with bitterness and anger from within, and without any emotional outlet, victims continue to suffer. There is a need for a compassion-based process that engages in truth telling, admitting and assigning true culpability, forgiving the culprits, and moving forward towards reconciliation. That will only happen when India creates a national Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission; not only to deal with the past, but also as a preventive measure for future sustainable peace. While the Commission is bound to provoke painful emotions, it will acknowledge and address all painful emotions. The Commission should be tasked to set the historical record straight by preserving historical memories of tragedies in which human rights violations have occurred, and should ensure that these tragedies are never repeated by taking a variety of measures, including truth telling, investigating, prosecuting, applying reparations, and reconciliation. At global level, so far about 40 countries have benefitted from the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commissions in a variety of ways, starting with Nelson Mandela’s South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mandela’s experiment was able to steer the country away from more ethnic violence to co-existence. Commenting on the role of the Commissions, Mr. Pablo de Greiff, the first UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, concluded that “Ultimately, commissions have provided recognition to victims as rights holders, fostered civic trust, and contributed to strengthening the rule of law.” Recently, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein noted that “You come to realize that there’s a deeper issue at hand, that there are conflicting narratives. And there is the truth. After all there is the truth as well. And it’s not that you can make up or contrive a narrative. There is a truth that has to be identified, and how do we do that, it is intensely difficult.” Mr. Zeid also added that,“Truth commissions…, can lead the way.” The Commission should draw from experience and global best practices and utilize the services of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and contextualize that with local approaches to reconcile and heal. Every victim of violence, whether of State, terrorist, rebel or inter-group violence, whether Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, lower caste, upper caste, whether a man, woman, or child, should be given the opportunity to tell their stories of suffering. Then, the perpetrators will get a chance to own up to their crimes, and by doing so; they may become eligible for amnesty. Those who don’t tell the truth about their culpability or do not fall within the scope of the Commission should be subjected to the justice system under the Supreme Court of India’s oversight. The Commission will not decide who was wrong or right from a political perspective, advocate for any cause or agenda, or for any -isms, schisms, or ideologies, but rather will act as a platform and process for allowing victims to know the truth, and facilitate collective and individual healing. To execute this, India needs to find leadership with unimpeachable integrity, a demonstrated commitment to justice and compassion; someone who can inspire trust and mobilize the broadest communities, and lead the Commission. Is setting of the Commission going to be easy? No. It is a formidable task but not impossible. However, first of all that there is need to initiate a national dialogue on this issue. Obviously, there are going to be skeptics, partisans and opponents of the process. There are also those who genuinely want to admit culpability and seek forgiveness but are fearful of the consequences. The key to the success of the Commission lies in an authentic dialogue to set realistic expectations, and not be viewed either as magic pill or redundant enterprise. We need to be mindful of the fact that the Commission will not solve all conflicts and all the issues of India, but it will for sure will bring some if not all victims out of their prolonged silent mourning and sadness into a new era of healing and closure.
  6. http://www.ibtimes.com/heinrich-himmler-nazi-hindu-214444 More than 65 years after the fall of the Third Reich, Nazi Germany remains an obsession with millions of people around the world. Adolf Hitler was one of the most prominent historical figures from the 20th century, evoking both disgust and fascination. While other totalitarian regimes from that period -- including Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan -- have largely faded from the public's consciousness, Nazi Germany still exerts a powerful hold on many for a variety of reasons.Among the most interesting and perplexing aspects of the Nazi regime was its connection to India and Hinduism. Indeed, Hitler embraced one of the most prominent symbols of ancient India -- the swastika -- as his own. The link between Nazi Germany and ancient India, however, goes deeper than just the swastika. The Nazis venerated the notion of a pure, noble Aryan race, who are believed to have invaded India thousands of years ago from Central Asia and established a martial society based on a rigid social structure with strict caste distinctions. While scholars in both India and Europe have rejected and debunked the notion of an Aryan race, the myths and legends of ancient Vedic-Hindu India have had a tremendous influence on many nations, none more so than Germany. Perhaps the most fervent Nazi adherent to Indian Hinduism was Heinrich Himmler, one of the most brutal members of the senior command. Himmler, directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and others as the architect of the Holocaust, was a complex and fascinating man. He was also obsessed with India and Hinduism. International Business Times spoke with two experts on German culture to explore Himmler and Hinduism. Victor and Victoria Trimondi are German cultural philosophers and writers. They have published books on religious and political topics, including Hitler-Buddha-Krishna-An Unholy Alliance from the Third Reich to the Present Day (2002), a research about the efforts by National-Socialists and Fascists to construct a racist Indo-Aryan warrior ideology with strong roots in Eastern religions and philosophies. IB TIMES: Heinrich Himmler was reportedly fascinated by Hinduism and ancient Indian culture, and he read the Bhagavad Gita, among other classic texts. How and when was he introduced to Indian culture? Was it prior to his joining the Nazi party or afterwards? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Himmler kept a diary where he not only listed the books he read but also provided extensive comments on these manuscripts. His entries regarding India and Indians were always very positive. Himmler's Indian reading list started in 1919 [before the Nazi Party was formed] with a German translation of a novel called Mr. Isaacs: A Tale of Modern India by Marion Crawfords. Six years later, in 1925, Himmler also praised Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha as a magnificent book. Himmler was also drawn to The Pilgrim Kamanita by the Danish author Karl Gjellerup, which was a contemporary best-seller. In his diary, Himmler commented: A precious narration. The content is the teaching of salvation. Gjellerup's book quoted several verses from the Vedas, including: The one who kills believes that he is killing. The one who has been killed believes that he dies. Both of them are wrong, for one doesn't die and the other doesn't kill. Later, Himmler delivered some of these same philosophies in his speeches to his SS officers. In the 1920s and the early 1930s, Himmler read some popular books about Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet, his actual interest in classic Hindu texts came later, when he founded the SS-Ahnenerbe, the brain trust of the Black Order, a group of highly qualified academics and occultists that attempted to forge the ideology of a racist warrior religion. In 1937, Himmler chose Professor Walter Wüst to serve as the president of the SS-Ahnenerbe. Two years later, Wüst became the curator of this notorious organization. Incidentally, in addition to being one of the leading Sanskrit scholars of his time, Wüst served as the president of the Maximilian University in Munich. In the academic world, Orientalists from this particular university were considered the top experts in their field. Wüst was keenly interested in extracting ideas from the Vedas and Buddhism of the so-called Aryan tradition in order to give National Socialism a religious dimension. One slogan of his was: Also above India hovers the sun-sign of the Swastika. To Wüst, Hitler appeared as the manifestation of a Chakravartin - Indo-Aryan world emperor. Wüst tried to support this particular speculation by verses from classical Indian scriptures. Moreover, in one of his emotion-driven speeches, he compared Hitler with the historical Buddha. IB TIMES: Germany's fascination with ancient India and its culture began in the 19th century, no? That is, long before the advent of the Nazis. Is it correct? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Indeed, Germany had been a true center for Sanskrit studies in the nineteenth century. To be exact, there were scholars and writers in this field who either put the emphasis on the peaceful aspects of Indian culture (e.g. Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling) or pointed out the nihilistic side of Buddhism or Shankara philosophy (like Arthur Schopenhauer). However, with the radicalization of German nationalism, writers began to put more emphasis on the martial aspects of Hindu culture. One of the first who tried to blend the warrior ideology of ancient India with Aryan racism was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an English-born author who lived in Germany and who was later held in a high esteem by the Nazis. IB TIMES: Is it true that Himmler could read and speak Sanskrit fluently? Where and how did he learn such a difficult foreign language? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: We do not have any evidence that he mastered Sanskrit. However, Himmler did not need to read this ancient tongue since he always had Wüst by his side. By constantly interacting with Himmler, Wüst was directly involved in his philosophical and ideological projects, and he could provide an answer to any linguistic questions coming from the Reichsführer SS. IB TIMES: As Reichsführer of the SS, Chief of the German Police, Minister of the Interior and head of the Gestapo and the Einsatzgruppen killing squads, Himmler was responsible for the murder of millions of innocent people. How did he reconcile such brutality with the tenets of Hinduism, which is generally peaceful? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: The image of Hinduism as a totally peaceful religion is a widespread fallacy. In fact, one can find plenty of martial aspects in Hindu culture, which had been emphasized by various individuals even before the Nazi period, during Hitler's reign, and even today by the extreme right wing in Europe and elsewhere. For example, in his introduction to a popular edition of the Bhagavad Gita, Leopold Schroeder, a student of ancient India, wrote that this poem describes the powerful ethics of Kshatriya (Warrior) religion at a time when the warriors and kings of India provided a spiritual leadership instead of the priestly caste. It is very likely that Himmler used this particular edition of the Bhagavad Gita. It was the Kshatriya, the ancient Hindu warrior caste, and its ethical ideals that fascinated the Nazis so much among other elements of Indian history and culture. IB TIMES: Aside from millions of Jews, Himmler was also responsible for the mass murder of up to half-million Roma (gypsies). Was he not aware that the Roma are also of Indian descent? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: He must have known it. At the same time, we should remember that Western racist intellectuals usually divided Indian society into two castes: light-skinned Aryan conquerors (priests, warriors and merchants) and dark-skinned indigenous Dravidians or Chandalens -- the latter expression goes back to a Sanskrit word Chandala - or, 'The Untouchables.' Himmler surely viewed the Roma as a part of this outcast group. IB TIMES: Bhagavad Gita partially focuses on the adventures of Arjuna, the world's greatest warrior. Did Himmler fantasize that he was a 20th-century Arjuna fighting for the glory of the Aryans? Did Himmler view Hitler as his god Krishna - like a reincarnation of god Krishna? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: When speaking about the Aryan culture proper and the old German or Nordic gods, Himmler clearly viewed them as parts of the same spiritual ideology. In this sense, Himmler was indeed fighting for the glory of the Aryans. Thus, Himmler was convinced that the thunderbolts mentioned in both Indian and European mythologies were references to the super-weapons of Aryan Gods, who possessed incredible knowledge of electricity. However, we do not know whether Himmler identified himself with Arjuna or not. At the same time, considering the fact that he did indeed compare Hitler to Krishna, it is quite possible that he cast himself as the character of Arjuna. On one occasion, Himmler recited to other people the following passage from the Gita, in which Krishna says to Arjuna: Every time when man forgets the sense of justice and truth, and when injustice reigns in the world I become born anew, that is the law. Having read these words, Himmler added: This passage is directly related to our Führer. He did arise during the time when the Germans were in the deepest distress and when they did not see any way out. He belongs to these great figures of light (Lichtgestalt). One of the greatest figures of light reincarnated himself in our Führer. Based on this statement, one can assume that perhaps Himmler viewed Hitler as a manifestation of Krishna and himself as Arjuna. IB TIMES: Did Himmler envision the SS as a modern version of the ancient Kshatriya Hindu warrior caste? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: This was really a sensation what we discovered in the archives: In 1925, shortly before he became a member of Hitler's SS, Himmler read about the Freemasons and anti-masons in Their Fight for World Domination by an Austrian writer named Franz Haiser. Strange as it may sound, the greater part of the book deals not with Freemasons but with the Indian caste system. Haiser praised this caste system as the most reasonable and the most sophisticated social model. He also glorified the Kshatriya (the Warrior) caste as the natural leaders in society. Haiser also compared the decline of the caste system in India to the decadence of Western culture. As a way to prevent this decline, the author proposed the creation of a well-organized, international and racially pure elite order of warriors that he called the All Aryan Union (all-arischer Bund). In addition, he advocated for an all-Aryan world revolution and for the emancipation of the Kshatriya from above. Haiser derided the so-called lower races as crows, rats, sparrows, louses and fleas and also endorsed the reintroduction of slavery. He envisioned a society in which the Kshatriyas would not be permitted to mingle with other races. In addition, he drew attention to the Hindu cosmology of global eras: the Yugas, the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and the Indian law code of Manu, which he interpreted as a guidebook on how to keep the Aryan race pure. After familiarizing himself with all these ideas Himmler wrote excitedly in his diary: A wonderful book [...] I agree with most of it. One needs such books. They encourage those who instinctively feel what is right and what is wrong, but do not dare to think about it because of their false education. Kshatriya caste [is what] we have to be. This is the salvation. Two years later, in 1927, as a twenty-seven year old man, Himmler already came to occupy the high position of the Stellvertretender Reichsführer SS. Much of the agenda articulated in Haiser's book could be found later in the ideology and the structure of the Black Order. Himmler was also familiar with the writings of the Italian philosopher Julius Evola, a fascist prophet of the Kshatriya ideology. IB TIMES: Is it true that Himmler always kept a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in his pocket and read passages from it every night? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Yes, this is true. In fact, it has been well documented by Felix Kersten, his Finnish masseur, that Himmler liked to indulge in philosophical monologues in his presence. The Reichsführer SS called the Gita a high Aryan Canto. Kersten also reported that Himmler read the Vedas, especially the Rig-Veda, the speeches of the Buddha, and the Buddhist Visuddhi-magga. Himmler made frequent references to karma, especially when he was talking about providence. He also believed in reincarnation: With one life life is not finished. What good and bad deeds a man has done has an effect on his next life as his karma. IB TIMES: Discuss Himmler's fascination with Yoga and what he sought to gain from this practice. MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: The practice of Yoga was already well known during the Nazi regime -- but we do not know whether Himmler did Yoga exercises or not. We only know about his plan to introduce meditation practices and spiritual retreats for the elite members of the SS in a special center located at Wewelsburg, a medieval castle. Himmler confided to Felix Kersten: I admire the wisdom of the founders of Indian religion, who required that their kings and dignitaries retreat every year to monasteries for meditation. We will later create similar institutions. IB TIMES: Did Himmler (and other top Nazi leaders) use the Bhagavad Gita as a kind of an ideological blueprint for the Holocaust and World War II? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Several historians believe that Himmler's notorious Posener Speech in front of a hundred SS officers in 1943 was highly influenced by the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita. In this particular speech, Himmler stressed that if the destiny of the nation called for it, every member of the SS had a duty to conduct drastic measures brutally and without pity and without regard to blood relationship and friendship. This utterance brought to mind the instructions Krishna issued to Arjuna, demanding from the latter to attack his kin and kill them. In the same speech, after mentioning unworthy human beings who were going to be murdered (an indirect reference to the Jews), Himmler assured his listeners: These deeds do not inflict any damage on our inner selves, our souls, and our characters. In the same manner, Krishna assured Arjuna that the latter acts would not pollute his higher self by completing his murderous duty: Whatever I do, it cannot pollute me. [...] The one who merges with me, frees himself from everything, and he is not bound by his deeds Thus, Himmler encouraged the members of the SS to conduct their murderous acts, unemotionally in a cool detached manner just as Krishna instructed the charioteer Arjuna. On the whole, the Posener Speech was focused on the spiritual dimensions of war and the conduct of the warrior, which is the chief element of the Kshatriya philosophy of Hinduism. The German diplomat and undercover U.S. agent in Nazi-Germany Hans Bernd Gisevius concluded: There is no doubt that for Himmler the Bhagavad Gita is the book of the Great Absolution. IB TIMES: During the war, there was a community of Indian nationalists living in Berlin. The most prominent among them was Subhash Chandra Bose, who met with many top Nazi officials, including Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goering and Hitler himself. Is it true that Himmler was generally interested in helping Bose to achieve independence for India, whereas most of the other German leaders only used Bose in a ploy to stoke anti-British sentiments in India? MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Unlike other Nazi leaders, Himmler and the curator of the SS-Ahnenerbe Walther Wüst, provided some ideological support to Bose's political agenda. Wüst spoke about the need to work closely with Bose and contemplated holding a German-Indian congress of Indian scholars representing both countries. Yet, except for these utterances, neither Himmler nor Wüst did anything specific to support Indian nationalists. Bose delivered an emotional speech for British soldiers of Indian origin, who were captured by the Wehrmacht in Africa and who were held in Germany as POWs. He said to them: Hitler is your friend. He is the friend of the Aryans, and you will return to India as the liberators of your motherland. The Indian Kshatriya legacy was not the only Oriental culture that attracted Himmler and his ideologists when they were working to construct their racist Indo-Aryan warrior religion. In addition to Hinduism, the Reichsführer SS was also interested in the militant Samurai Zen philosophy of Japan as well as the occult scriptures of Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, one of the goals of the famous SS expedition to Tibet headed by Ernst Schaefer in 1939 was to find in the Lamaist monasteries scrolls containing secret Aryan teachings. See: www.trimondi.de
  7. A must watch documentary on the caste system. It is absolutely sickening from what I just watched. And even though I am a strict hindu and brahmin, if this is the treatment of metted out to Dalits then they should leave hinduism immediately. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM85zVt6xCU Sorry, the adding of the link did not work for me.
  8. "Bloody hell" These were awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IohwMp6im1A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=invCtzmdMs0
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