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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Are Minority commissions in India stifling the right to speech of the majority?

Recently Subramanium Swamy opined on how Hindus should respond to the Islamic terrorism. He gave quite radical solutions, and quiet right wing ones but most of them are common sense. Except probably the following:

We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus. If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives).

This takes the organizing of an anti-terrorist society to a somewhat xenophobic level. But then, xenophobia isn’t exactly an anathema to counter terrorism which is what the article is about. In fact the only nation that has had some success against Islamic terrorism (Israel) wouldn’t had gone far in that direction if xenophobia wasn’t at work.

State Minorities Commission vice chairman Abraham Mathai wrote a letter to Mumbai police chief Arup Patnaik, urging him to initiate criminal charges against Swamy:

The extreme xenophobic right-wing thoughts expressed in it are quite disturbing and the article is socially irresponsible and completely anti-Islamic. It is also alarming that Dr Swamy is trying to incite Islamophobia using his freedom of expression to propagate hate through stereotyping …

Swamy, a politician, obviously wrote for his political ends. But outburst by the Minority representative here seems politically motivated to me. Swamy’s article isn’t “extremely xenophobic” by any standards. It is a contemplation on how the Hindu majority should organize itself when the state has failed to protect its interests… something that is again kind of obvious. And Swamy’s statement does have some merit: What is the difficulty in publicly acknowledging that Muslims of India have had Hindu ancestors? Is the obvious truth that difficult for majority of our religious minorities? If so, can we really expect any genuine contribution from the religious minorities in national harmony? If they are not expected to act in Indian interest why should they be allowed to become members of Parliament?

Mathai explains further:

As a matter of fact, the Muslim community has as much stake as any in the progress, security and wellbeing of India as a nation. Dr Swamy’s bizarre solution is converting Muslims into Hindus …

Did we miss something here? Even Swamy’s most radical solution (duly quoted above) isn’t hinting at anything like a conversion. An acknowledgment that my ancestors were theists does not make me religious or pious: I still remain atheist. This acknowledgement is the only thing being asked.

What is then the hoopla about? Does Mr. Mathai have an agenda at hand? We do not know it yet. Mr. Mathai is not much of a public figure. In fact, this letter to the Commissioner of Police has probably given him the most attention in his life yet.

Questioning Creationism

Sometimes it takes more mental fortitude to just take a look into the obvious than riddle the brain with genuine mysteries. The reason, I suspect, lies in mental blocks. One such case where many people find blocks is when they are defending evolution. Wanting to be open-minded, they try to look from the creationists’ viewpoint and defend from there. They forget that the alternative theories (creationism or ID) must be questioned as well.

Here I have complied a list of questions for creationists. The purpose is to have them do some soul-searching on their own beliefs and hopefully, see the insufficiency of creationism first hand. I’ll be updating the list from time to time.

Q 1 What is God? How have you reconciled:

  • God’s omniscience and free will
  • God’s omnipotence and limits from paradoxical language? e.g. Can God make a square circle or make a stone so heavy that even he can not lift?
  • God’s omnipresence and undetectablility? In other words: What is the evidence for existence of God?
  • God’s benevolence and tragedies of life? Death, crime against the innocent, natural disaster?
  • God being just and loving at the same time?

Q 2 What is the beginning of God? Especially since you need a beginning of everything in the theory of evolution and Big Bang and what not.

Q 3 How did God create something from nothing? Theists often claim (incorrectly) that Big Bang theory propounds that something was created from nothing. Actually this is a feature in creationist hypothesis, not in Big Bang.

Q 4 Why do creationists use one set of standards for theory of God and another for evolutionEvidence for one and faith for another. Why this leniency for the almighty?

Q 5 How do you explain:

  • Fossils especially of extinct species like dinosaurs. Was allah experimenting with how to make life?
  • Breeding of different breeds of horses and dogs.  Explain that happening while you deny evolution.
  • Genetically modified crops. You are probably eating them on daily basis knowingly or unknowingly.
  • Genetic disorders. How come many diseases run through the families?
  • Why did god create so many sea animals that reside in deep seas?
  • Why did god create animals like duck-billed platypus?
  • Why did God create appendix and other vestigial organs in man?

Q 6  How do you explain:

  • The scale of the universe? Why did god make billions of galaxies each with billions of stars and just to send prophets / have avatArs / sons for just one species of one tiny planet of an otherwise ordinary star?
  • Special place given to man in all theories of creation. Do you don’t see any narcissism in that?

Q 7 Being omniscient Does God know who created him?