Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Don't mistreat our heroes

Francois Gautier brings attention to poor treatment meted to our war heroes. A nation should treat it's heroes better. Here is his article -

Bana Singh : a hero of our times

Bana Singh was born on 6 January 1949 and now lives in R.S.Pura nearJammu. He joined Indian Army's Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) on 6 January 1969. After training at the High Altitude Training School along with his battalion at Gulmarg, he was posted in Siachenin April 1987. Pakistan had already occupied a vantage point called Quaid Post named after Mohammad Ali Jinnah. This is the most important and highest post in the area. From the top of this post theentire Saltoro range is visible, including other posts like the Amarand Sonam which get food and other materials by Indian helicopters. OnApril 18, 1987, the Pakistan army at Quaid post began firing at theIndian troops. A Junior commissioned Officer and five soldiers were killed at Sonam. It became necessary to gain control over the post for the safety of the men and supporting helicopters. It was therefore decided to recapture Quaid Post.

On 26th June 1987, Bana Singh got the green light to lead his platoon up the 90° slope with iced walls, after two previous attempts failed with heavy casualties. This is how he remembers it: "Though it was daytime, because of the heavy snowing we could not say if it was day or night. The Pakistanis must have been knowing that something was going on because our troops were firing at them from the base camp (todivert their attention). When we reached the top, there was a single bunker. We had been trained for such a fight. I threw a grenade inside and closed the door. At the end, a total of six Pakistanis were killed. We brought back their bodies which were later handed over to the Pakistanis authorities during a flag meeting in Kargil. Some must have escaped towards the Pakistani side, perhaps over the cliff. I think that I have bayoneted three or four persons, I don't remembernow."

For this act of valor Bana Singh was awarded Param Vir Chakra. and was presented the Param Vir Chakra on January 26 1988.The Quaid Post was renamed as Bana Post after its liberation by Bana Singh. Today some twenty years after liberating Quiad Post and earning a PVC, Bana Singhis sad man, because of the indifferent attitude of the J&K government who pays him paltry Rs 166 per month whereas neighboring state ofPanjab, HP and Haryana pay much higher amounts to PVC winners. (in Punjab a PVC winner gets Rs 12,500 every month, in Haryana it is Rs 10,400 and in Himachal Pradesh it is Rs 10,000). How can a nation retain its independence if it does not reward its defenders suitably? Does it behove a great country like India to treat one of its greatest present day heroes, one of the three living PVC recipients, so shabbily? This is why we have decided to bestow our first Shivaji-FACT award of Courage to Captain Bana Singh and are trying to raise money to hand him over as well a substantial prize money.

The Shivaji-FACT award of Courage, which will be handed over by H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 12th March 2008 in Mumbai on the occasion of theopening of the Shivaji exhibition (see below),

" A Hero for ModernIndia".
Venue P.L. Deshpande, Maharashtra Kala Academy, Prabhadevi, Mumbai

Date 12th March 2008.

Time: 4.30 pm.

4.30 pm - Arrival of Chief Guests His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarand Chief Minister Gujarat Shri Narendra Modiji, Shri UddhavThackerayji, Shri Gopinath Mundeji
4.40pm – His Holiness chants a mantra at the venue
4.45pm – His Holiness and Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, ShriUddhav Thackerayji and Shri Gopinath Mundeji light the lamp in turnsto inaugurate the exhibition
4.45 to 5.00pm - the Chief guests view the exhibition.
5.00pm - Chief guests proceed to auditorium
5.05pm - Vande Mataram
5.10pm – Francois Gautier gives the welcome address
5.15pm- Film 'Heros of Kargil' to be screened
5.20 pm- All the Chief guests are requested to sit on the stage.
5.25pm- Shri Gopinath Munde will address the audience.
5.35pm – Shri Uddhav Thackerayji will address the audience
5.55pm- Hon Chief Minister Gujarat Shri Narendra Modiji will addressthe audience. Topic " Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj- a Hero for ModernIndia"
6.10pm - His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji will address the audienceSession will end with a guided meditation by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sonia’s spin doctors fabricate terror threat story

Worried that the recent security threats issued to Narendra Modi & L K Advani may add to the BJP’s advantage, Sonia’s spin doctors have been creating stories of terror threats to her.

CNN-IBN carried a story on how a large stash of explosives & arms was recovered not too far away from Sonia’s scheduled visit in Kashmir. Read this to know how this wasn’t exactly ‘large’. But then, CNN-IBN (Rajdeep Sardesai) has never made any attempt to hide their loyalties. There would be no sense in targeting Sonia, the terrorists seem to realise that. Hence no real threats yet. Perhaps her soft policies on terror & Muslim appeasement have something to do with that.

While the terror threat to Modi & Advani is real indeed, Sonia’s is false propaganda. The fact that, she & her entourage (wonder why the Home Minister insists on accompanying her everywhere when he has his own duties to fulfill) continued on the visits seems to indicate that the threat was unreal & they knew about it. This is an attempt to project her importance when, clearly, she does not seem to be a top priority to the extremists. On the contrary, it's in the terrorists's interest to keep her in power.

Dr. Singh’s failure to protect Tigers

Dr. Singh promised personal involvement in saving the Tiger in 2005. In Jan 2008, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has released the latest census totaling the Tiger population to 1,411 today. The report says the population has gone down by half since 2002.

Dr. Singh is no exception to the long list of leaders to have failed Project Tiger. But, his failure is more disappointing than the others. Dr. Singh personally headed the steering committee & hence is directly responsible. It seems, he’s just as clueless here as he is on national matters.

Read this to know how Dr. Singh has only paid lip service to this project. The latest Tiger census is proof enough of the failure. The very fact that Dr. Singh has asked the Chief Ministers to get in the act is an admission of the failure.

Will UPA make India a superpower?

We need a national movement if we are to become a superpower one day. This should become a national objective, like our freedom struggle. The public & the government must join hands if this is to be achieved. It’ll be difficult otherwise.

There are enough examples in world history where nations rose from despair to prosperity. Japan rose from being bombed to become the world’s second largest economy. It leads in the fields of automobiles, science & technology today. Germany rose from its Hitler era, to become a major engineering force & the third largest economy today.

Achieving something similar requires a great deal of leadership foresight & will. The leaders will have to drive this. However, common minimum programs catering to narrow sections of societies will not achieve this. There is a need to unite the nation towards one goal. But, Sonia's & UPA's goals are different, vote bank.

When there is a need to unite the nation as one, we have governments practicing minority appeasement. There is a need to put an end to casteism & religious hatred. But after 60 years of freedom this is still prevalent in India & our leaders have failed to on this account. They have used caste & minorities are a political tool. This is nothing but an extension of the divide & rule policy employed by the British. It's high time we realised that.

Failed schemes, reservations in higher educational institutes, religious subsidies, unconstitutional behavior, lax attitude towards terrorism & internal security are all retrograde steps. Sonia’s UPA governance is a clear manifestation of all this. Sonia & her band of UPA leaders will hardly make India a superpower.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hindu tolerance tested

I was about to do a post on this, how the UPA government is fast blurring the lines between appeasement & governance of the nation. By now, we are well past that point. But, Rajeev Srinivasan has done an excellent post summing up the UPA's conduct so far. Here's the link. Read it. This post of his did not make it on Rediff despite him sending the same across. The objective is really simple for any government, act in the interest of our nation, but alas this is not the case. All the minority politics is only splitting us further apart. This shows a serious lack of self esteem amongst the UPA leaders today, like Rajeev notes in his post.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sovereign conscience

This quality is severely lacking in most of our leaders (& people) today. Else how would you explain inaction on the numerous national issues we face today?

When political figures can instigate this, simply to gain some political mileage, little can be said about their leadership qualities. North Indians or South Indians, they are all our fellow countrymen. Besides, Maharashtrians themselves are spread all over India. In places like Bangalore, you'll find plenty of them along with other "outsiders" who have made it their home & are flourishing, contributing to Bangalore's progress in the process. Without all those "outsiders" Bangalore would not be the thriving cosmopolitan place it is today. Such narrow mindset will not provide great leadership.

The issue of millions of illegal immigrants, especially from Bangladesh still lingers. Perhaps it is not in the interest of certain political parties to deal with them, lest they lose their vote bank. The influx of illegal migrants, in such great numbers, puts immense strain on us. This need to be realized & our national borders should be protected. However, no leader has achieved that. Our borders continue to be porous, leading to infiltration of people & terrorists. Then, there are other important issue like the displaced Kashmiri pandits. We have a home for millions of illegals but can't provide a safe home for our own countrymen.

Naxalites have been terrorizing with increasing impunity. This should not be tolerated. Repeated attacks by them have clearly exposed the under prepared law enforcement machinery, yet our home minister is oblivious to these hard facts & seems to live in his own make believe world. The same goes for terrorists across our borders. Our nation gets attacked day in & day out, yet action on our leader's part is lacking. As a matter of fact, terrorism statistics show a sharp increase. Interestingly, our home minister lost the Lok Sabha election in 2004 from the same place he won since 1980, indicating the voters there no longer had confidence in him, yet he landed up being in the second most important position in the union cabinet. However, he won the Rajya Sabha seat the same year.

The border issues with Pakistan & China continue to be unsolved. China is up to it's usual tricks, it even claims major parts of Arunachal on it's maps when the matter is still under dispute. However, this too fails to elicit any significant action from our leaders. Read this from Arun Shourie to know how such monumentally important national matters are treated by the media & leaders alike. There are a few truly concerned leaders trying to raise awareness on this, yet it falls on deaf ears.

The ultra liberal generation of today seems to think that it is not necessary to respect our national anthem or our flag. They question, can patriotism be forced? They question, is respecting the national anthem or the tri-color the only measurement criteria of one's patriotism? Sure, these can't be forced, but anyone who truly loves their motherland will not fail to show his/her respect either. Our freedom fighters, the brave sons & daughters of our beloved nation, laid their lives protecting the dignity & respect of our national flag. Our constitution has laid out certain do's & don'ts to our national flag, the least we can do is respect that. Is it too much to ask to follow our constitution?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sonia Gandhi knows her game

Sonia Gandhi chose the perfect candidate for her Prime Minister. Her choice was controversy free, one who did not have history in politics, one who would forever be grateful, one who did not threaten to establish a power center of his won, one who would fall in line. As for some other ministers (viz. Ambika Soni, Arjun Singh, Shivraj Patil, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Jaipal Reddy, Kapil Sibal, Pratibha Patil among others), there’s little doubt on where their loyalty lies.

It is baffling to know that the man who ushered in economic revolution in India could be so ineffective. The general feeling about him not being the strongest of PMs is owing to his tentative nature of leadership. There’s hardly anything our PM is passionate about, not even the Indo-US nuclear deal or Project Tiger, to which he promised personal involvement. A lot was expected of him when he came to power. But, he continues to be indecisive.

The much discussed economic revolution was brought about by the very same man who is India’s PM today. There’s little doubt about that. And there’s no denying his contribution in that respect. But this wasn’t because of Dr. Singh’s foresight. The economic crisis that faced the nation in the early 90’s had a big role to play in the economic reforms. In 1990, the then PM, Chandra Shekhar Pledged India’s gold when we couldn’t pay our loans. The subsequent P V Narsimha Rao govt. had to re-think our economic policies & concluded that liberalization was the key. Thus entered Dr. Singh who took India’s GDP from a mere 1 or 2% in the early 90’s to a booming 8 – 9% by the mid 90’s. Whatever the circumstances, the progress made, was highly credit worthy. This coupled with his honesty & integrity added to his aura.

But how credible is Dr. as a PM? When he was the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, he threatened to resign, he repeated that during the securities scam of the early 90’s & then again, recently, during the Left opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal. All of them proved hollow, he never resigned. Perhaps he wanted to survive being in power.

Dr. Singh has never failed to assert that his loyalties lie with the First Family of Congress, the Gandhi family. There’s a big correction to be made here, the PM’s loyalty lies only towards the nation & no one else. The high command does not govern the nation. This shows just how clipped a PM is he. The fact that he has the Gandhi family in his mind, ahead of the nation, is hardly comforting. Sonia choosing Dr. Singh as the PM was indeed well though. He isn’t a clever politician, his first election victory was in 2004. He hasn’t developed a coterie that rivals Sonia’s authority. He has proven Sonia right in his conduct as the PM. He has never asserted his will on any matter, has never opposed any policy or scheme, has never driven any agenda that wasn’t convenient to Sonia’s. Is loyal to her & her family (Rahul & Priyanka). Has never pulled his weight behind anything. Follows the UPA diktat of going slow on terrorism, appeasing Congress’s vote bank to the hilt. All of these are quite evident from the reservation policies, special treatment accorded to the minorities and such measures that are counter productive.

Sonia’s choices for the various ministries are also indicative of how she has made sure power lies with her. With having placed her loyalists in the ministry, the reigns lay with her. And being the UPA chairperson allows her to drive all matters on her agenda & yet not be accountable to the nation on account of her not being in the ministry. She has a lion's share in the UPA's disappointing tenure.

When India is faced with such grave issues like terrorism, minority appeasement should take a backseat & the terrorists must be dealt with strongly. When India faces poverty, schemes like the NREGS are counter productive, they may provide some employment to the poor, but does little to help them gain sustainable employment, helping them gain some skills will empower them. When India faces numerous border disputes, we need strong diplomacy to tackle such issues. When India faces lack of quality workforce (along with poverty), providing reservations for minorities & lowering their merit requirements is counter productive, focusing on quality education for all will help. Practicing partisan politics like caste based reservations, Muslim & Christian appeasement only leads to deepening the chasm between religions.

Sonia’s UPA agenda is clearly not well thought, neither was it developed in the national interest. Surely, Dr. Singh is mature enough to realize this, yet he continues to follow the Sonia plan. If the spin doctors stay away, it’ll be interesting to see how Dr. Singh goes down in history as a PM & Sonia as the Congress leader.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This is not how you serve your nation

The UPA government is fast setting a record for being one of the most counter productive regimes. The only governing factor it seems to follow is short-term-gain-which-costs-India-dear or blame-NDA-for-everything.

The Congress leadership at the center & at the state level is further proof of that. There are a multitude of important issues facing the nation, yet the current leadership has failed to resolve them. The UPA gained majority in 2004 & has little to show for it's governance since then.

Let's talk of the most important issue facing us today- terrorism. While the NDA government's record on this front is debatable, the UPA's goes even beyond that. Read this analysis by offstumped to know the facts. The argument that the NDA failed is not enough, worse yet, it doesn't make any sense when it concerns our national security. If the previous government failed, the current one had a chance to correct that. Yet the UPA has clearly failed to do that. It has not learnt from the past failures. Instead, it decides to go ahead & pay money to the dependents of militants killed in encounters with security forces in J&K. (Read this at the, story appears on Jan 24th 2008 under the heading 'Now, dole for jihadis' kin'). It is just so unfair to our men in uniform who laid down their lives protecting us. Where does the money come from? Right, from our taxes. The blame-everyone-else-for-your-failure attitude is evident from this. The question being raised was of great importance, yet the issue was diverted by giving it another dimension. Hardly a good sign.

The Congress often alleges that the BJP is communal. Well, by that logic what does minority (read Muslim & Christian) appeasement make the Congress. If it were truly secular, it would talk of the entire Indian populace. Rewarding more reservations to a certain minority, extending financial help, now to the Christians, for their pilgrimage when the majority are not accorded the same is exactly the same as communalism. And all this from our tax money.

When the PM himself has been the most disappointing on various fronts, little should be expected from his team. When Dr. Singh took the Prime Minister's oath, there was hope that this honest man would do India proud. Unfortunately, that was not to be. He is fast losing his credibility with irresponsible remarks like these, or his ill fated schemes that only burden the treasury & hence the tax payers, or with failing to save tigers after personally taking up the cause & rampant minority appeasement.

Read this & this to know how Dr. Singh continues to disappoint us. All of India wanted him to do good, yet he failed to lead from the front, inspire his band of leaders & allowed all the noise around him influence his tenure. Sonia Gandhi, being the chairperson of UPA, needs to take the primary responsibility since she drives all the policy matters & sets the agenda for UPA governance. This fact needs to be brought to fore. The UPA's failures are conveniently blamed on all sundry reasons, when in fact Sonia Gandhi is in charge. After all she heads the UPA.

It also doesn't help that Dr. Singh is surrounded by people with no credentials to claim, begining with Sonia Gandhi. None of them have made any significant contribution to the nation.

Any argument that defends the current leaders by pointing out failures of the older leaders is weak, because it does not talk of the failures of the current ones. If the previous governments failed, the current one has not done any better either. In fact, the record is much worse. How does talking of NDA's failures make the UPA better? Besides, such arguments tacitly agree to the current government's failures. India deserves better leaders.

Indian media at it again!

Arun Shourie pours his heart out in this piece here. Read this to know how the popular media is sidelining important issues, issues that concern our internal security, our sovereign territory. What else can be of more importance to anyone than the security of their motherland. The Indian media needs to take such issues seriously, it has a responsibility towards the nation.

Every matter of immense importance is reduced to a UPA Vs NDA contest. Any question seeking an answer on the UPA's performance is met with a well-what-did-NDA-do-in-it's-time retort. If the NDA failed, that doesn't give the current leaders license to fail. On the contrary, they should act with urgency to correct the wrongs. This is very indicative of the current leadership & it's attitive towards our nation. Everything is not a us vs. them competition. Rather, it should be it's-our-responsibility, or it's-my-nation & I should act attitude. However, this cannot be taught, such passions arise from a deep love for one's country, clearly that is not the case with our media or our current leaders.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Where are great Indian leaders?

The current Indian leadership (and many from the past) is hardly inspiring. Moreover, it has no legacy it can boast of if & when it steps down. It had (has?) a great opportunity to serve the nation & go down in history with high praise. For that matter, every leader had this opportunity. Yet they chose to serve their own narrow interests.

We aren't short of great men, but all the great leaders were undone or sidelined by our partisan politics. Congress itself had great leaders within itself. Lokmanya Tilak, Sardar patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri (who gave us the slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan") to name a few, yet they were sidelined. The Nehru-Gandhi leadership is hardly inspiring. Their contribution to our freedom struggle cannot be denied, however, they weren't visionary leaders. The duo had this politically correct nature of leadership. Had it not been the case, we would have had Sardar Patel as our first premier. P V Narsimha Rao proved to be one of the best Prime Ministers we had, but he didn't have popular support within the Congress. And all those scandals didn't help his cause either. We have always lacked strong, visionary leaders that were heading our governments. If we had strong, decisive leaders who would not be bogged down by international pressure, but would argue in our national interest instead, we would not have had the many lingering conflicts we continue to have with our neighbors.

The current leadership is headed by an honest economist whom all respected. He is attributed with the economic liberalization of our country. But whether we was the right choice for the Prime Minister's chair is greatly debatable. He was chosen knowing that few would contest his candidature. He seemed perfect for a controversy free mandate in a coalition. Otherwise how would you achieve a majority mandate in a coalition? He has proven ineffective in tackling the many serious issue facing our nation viz. terrorism, poverty, infrastructure, internal security, border issues etc. He comes across as soft & indecisive on these issues. It may very well be due to the fact that, control lies elsewhere. He seems to not have the free hand to run his government. However, it is hard to understand, why a self respecting man like him continues with this ineffective government. Why is he bowing to pressure from his coalition partners & not doing what's in the interest of our nation? Would it be then appropriate to say - an honest economist does not maketh a great leader. Well, calling him an good economist will be difficult when you learn that, under his leadership, a whopping 12,000 crore rupees! have been spent on the 'National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme', which has failed. Only 3% of the registered received the promised employment of 100 days. The average was 18 days.

The story continues with other leaders. Our home minister believes in staying away from his duties. He seems content in just completing his term. There has hardly been any contribution on his part. We are faced with increasingly brazen terrorists attacks, but his leadership has proved ineffective in tackling it. He could have acted tough on terrorism & secured our fellow countrymen. The issue of illegal immigrants continues to exist. But alas, partisan politics prevents action.

Our defense minister's only claim to the post seems his 'clean' record so far. Our finance minister, a brilliant man that he is, only believes in taxing the salaried class more (fringe benefit tax, withdrawl tax etc).

The UPA government only seems eager to discredit or point out the failures of the NDA government. At every juncture, this government never misses an opportunity to accuse the previous office bearers. If only the UPA government stopped this & did what was necessary, it would have done good for the country. Pointing out mistakes is fine as long as you correct them, but that is not the case here. Merely listing the shortfalls of the previous government does not add credibility, but action does. Lip service has never achieved anything, action has. If the previous governments are to blame for all our problems, then by that logic, the Congress has been in office for 50 of the 60 years. Five decades of it's 'Garibi Hatao' policies have not yeilded any results. In fact, there has been an increase of 75 million people that fall below the poverty line in the last six decades. Who should then shoulder the blame? This shows the huge gap between plans & results. Just how ill conceived they are.

Four years ago, our current leaders took office with the oath that they'd work for the common man's good. All they seem to have achieved is drown the real issues amid rhetoric & blame someone else for their failures. I hope the next set of leaders is able to filter all the noise around them & lead India to the top of the world.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Are we responsible citizens?

When I was in school, we were told that we were the future citizens of my beloved motherland & had an important role to play. We were told to be responsible in playing that role. We are all still very much Indians, don’t get me wrong, but only on paper.

We all rise each morning, go to our MNC jobs, or to our businesses, put in countless hours, on our way back we relax at some restaurant, café, lounge, bar or some such place & retire for the day. Most of us dream of leaving the country & settle elsewhere, which is not a bad thing as long as you continue to contribute to your motherland (not necessarily financially). You can share your learning / experiences so others can benefit. Of course, not everyone follows this itinerary.

In leading such a life, what do we contribute to our nation? Most of us just lend lip service & do little about anything. We do get frustrated about a lot of issues, but there hardly is any action on our part.

I recently polled my colleagues. The question was, how many of you voted in the last election? The result showed, merely 2 people carried out this important civic duty among all of those on my office floor. Worse yet, most of them believe it is futile to do so. We owe to our nation to perform every civic duty that is expected of us. If we don’t, we have no right complaining about anything. We must participate actively for we have a stake in our nation’s development. It is up to us to contribute all we can towards the betterment of our nation & the least we can do is to get out & vote. We have had the opportunity to get good education, good jobs/businesses & good lives. We must get to the fore & set an example for all our fellow citizens. The Indian middle class tallies in great numbers & our collective vote can make a huge difference. We should imbibe a culture of being socially responsible. We complain far too much. All the ranting will not help. If we are unhappy with our leaders, we should participate & elect a leader from amongst ourselves.

Most of us don’t even know who are current political leaders are. Some of my colleagues couldn’t name our President or her deputy, or our defense minister. This is a clear indication of our lack of interest in our nation. A major part of our life is spent is worrying about our pay hikes, annual returns, our investments & all things related to our own selves. We are not a socially responsible society. We expect the government to do all for us, but we won’t do anything ourselves. If you think about it, the government does do it’s bit, but we exploit it or the officials abuse it. And we have come to expect it. The one most common question thrown at such arguments is, what does out government do for us? The counter can be, well, what have to done to your nation? Do we do our bit to question the government?

We do not. A lot of today’s problems are our own doing. Be it the flouting of municipal rules, or not following traffic rules, or not behaving responsibly towards our environment. We are all guilty of it. If we, as a society, behave responsibly, our government & our nation can improve. We need to be active in our duties & ask questions when something’s not right & hold our leaders accountable, we need to get out & vote, we need to develop basic civic sense. We, especially the educated ones, need to participate in nation building. Our education allows us to be in a position to influence change. Let’s use it good effect. Let’s use it for the betterment of our fellow countrymen. Our nation needs it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Is Hinduism really bad?

The modern media would surely like you to believe that. Hindu or Hinduism has almost acquired a negative connotation in the media circle these days. But is it really as bad as is made out to be?

Let’s look around with our eyes / minds open & then decide for ourselves. An overwhelming majority of Indians are Hindus. This religion in itself is very diverse & is a collection of various groups with different beliefs & traditions. For example, not all Hindus bury the dead as opposed to all Christians or Muslims. Some Hindus worship fire, others don’t. The wedding customs also vary according to region in India. Yet all of the Hindus live together peacefully. They are largely tolerant towards each other & other religions.

The Hindu religious leaders are known to do a lot of social work. Look at Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. His social work is well known. Amongst many, they include, education, health care etc. The super specialty hospitals run by the Sri Satya Sai Central Trust provide world class health care to all for free. The facilities should be seen to be believed.

Another example could be Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He has been involved in working for the social good for long. He has formed a foundation called ‘The Art of Living’. He has also founded many other institutions in the fields of rural development, agriculture etc. His foundation recently provided free help & stress relieving courses to the anguished farmers in Vidarbha.

We all know that Baba Ramdev is the modern yoga guru & is greatly responsible in raising awareness of yoga among the public. Thanks to his workshops, thousands have now begun to practice yoga & have started benefiting from it.

Even the Hindu places of worship have been greatly involved in the betterment of the people. For example, among many others, Tirupati Balaji Devasthanam, Dharmasthala & the trustee Veerendra Heggade.

None of the Hindu spiritual leaders or organizations has been involved in forced conversions to Hinduism. The only objective behind all their work was for the social betterment, regardless of one’s religion. The ancient Hindu teachings, traditions & the spiritual leaders have all been for the betterment of humanity. The only principles being love, peace & harmony. Yet some believe in religious supremacy & forcing one’s religion on the other.

Sure, there are some not-so-good aspects of the Hindu religion. For example, the sati tradition, the dowry tradition, gender bias etc. But, all of these have been exploitations by some to gain supremacy. These traditions may have been misinterpretations. However, one cannot deny that these traditions did (and do continue on a small scale) exist. But, this is not the only religion that had such traditions. Christianity is known for its hostility towards women. Women have little freedom or free voice in Islam.

When you look at the amount of good work done by the Hindu religious leaders, trusts & the general Hindu way of living, all of the criticism seems like nitpicking. Hinduism only preaches peace & harmony. Let us all understand that.