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Today, 5 August 2019 has become a historic day in our history as something which could not be done in 70 years has taken shape now. Union Home minister Amit Shah has announced that Article 370 which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be scrapped. He also announced that Jammu and Kashmir will no longer be a state and it will be bifurcated into two Union Territories— Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.  read more...
Is ours an ideal democracy!! Hardly so, it is far from being an ideal democracy; where there should be  two equal opponents, like Conservative and Labour party in Britain; like Republican and Democratic party in USA. As for India, for the two major parties here i.e. Congress and BJP there has never been a state of relative equilibrium. There was a time when Congress was all powerful for a long time, BJP had not come into existence then. BJP came into existence and gradually spread its wings and the status now of present election result on 23 May 2019 is that BJP alone bagged 303 seats and 353 seats along with its NDA Alliance. Congress on the other hand could muster only 52 seats; along with UPA, Congress got 91. Other parties won 98 seats. What to talk of equality, Congress party could not win even 55 seats which is the requisite 10 % to become the official opposition. read more...
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Is it at all possible to have the whole society with a single caste or are different kind of people required in a society for its smooth running. In India, the conventional caste system is running, with four castes. In The Geeta, Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the four castes in our society:

Chatur-varnyam maya srishtam; 

Guna karma vibhagshah| 

Tasya kartaram api maam viddhi; 

Akartaram avyayam||

[Srimad Bhagwad Geeta 4/13] 

Meaning: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra; this group of four castes, which depends on the gunas and karma of a person, has been created by me. In this manner, I am the creator of this Universe with respect to creation and karma; but at the same time, consider me to be akarta (non-doer).

We must understand the significance of this caste system; which is a very sensible and scientific system; which is a must for society. In the time of war, Kshatriyas go to the battle-ground to fight; Shudras go along with to take care of all other jobs; Brahmins stay back, which preserves the intellectual wealth of the nation. Vaishya who are busy promoting the economy of the nation also continue with their job of building the nation.

Yes, it is true that every coin has two sides to it. While there may be numerous benefits of the system, some where, some practices do creep in, which can corrupt every system. That is what happened with the caste system; which gave a chance to other religions, like Buddhism and Jainism, to strengthen their roots.

As for the merits of our caste system, those were acknowledged in places where we expected it the least. Lord Henry Herbert Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister of Great Britain, paid a tribute to India, appreciating its caste system, in his speech; after his son was killed in the first World War. He said - Look at those Indians, Hindus, whom we mock. When one caste, rather two castes go to fight i.e. Kshatriyas and Shudras; Brahmins stay back and keep the intellectual bone of the society intact.

H.H. Asquith’s son Raymond was a Barrister, a brilliant young man with a bright future. When H.H. Asquith declared war on Germany on 4 Aug 1914, perhaps little did he realise that it would drive his own sons to war. Only one speech, a brilliant speech of David Lloyd George, inspired as many as 750,000 to join the British armed forces; Raymond Asquith was one of them. Raymond, a great student of Oxford University, a Barrister, who joined politics, was the President of Student Union in Oxford University; destined to become Party President and maybe Prime Minister in time; he died in this war. This is how with indiscriminate admissions in army, intellectual decline starts. When his father was informed of his death "he put his head on his arms on the table and sobbed passionately". He told Margot Asquith: "The awful waste of a man like Raymond - the best brain of his age in our time - any career he liked lying in front of him. I always felt it would happen." Two days later he wrote to Sylvia Henley: "I can honestly say, that in my own life he was the thing of which I was truly proud, and in him and his future I had invested all my stock of hope."

Raymond, the learned man, could be categorised as a Brahmin as per the Hindu caste system, so what was his role in a war? This is what happens in Conscription, the compulsory war service, where with or without an aptitude for fighting, people are admitted into forces at time of war.

Well, the caste system was duly prevalent in India. In the times of Ashoka the Great, after the massive war and numerous deaths in Kalinga; Ashoka, full of remorse took comfort in the religion of non-violence viz. Buddhism. Buddhism spread far and wide in the Indian subcontinent (as discussed in third part in our series of articles on Afghanistan). But, if the whole society becomes Buddhist, where are the fighters to defend the nation? Afghanistan and Sind, two Frontier provinces of India, all turned Buddhist, with no Kshatriyas to fight and protect the nation. With Afghanistan and Sind, depleted of fighters, there was no one to save the nation against the invasion by invaders.

At that point, Adi Shankaracharya came; he understood the need of the country; Kshatriyas were to be made available to fight and protect the country.

Adi Shankaracharya, a young saint, went to the scholar Kumaril Bhatt, who was already on his pyre. Kumaril Bhatt advised him to go to his disciple Mandana Misra and debate with him.

Mandana Misra believed in the ritualistic interpretation of vedas. Shankara did shastrarth (intellectual debate) with Mandana Misra for many months. Mandana Misra’s wife, Ubhaya Bharti, a very learned woman was to judge the winner. Shankaracharya’s experiences in sadhna, his realisation of the ultimate, made him answer all the questions put up by Misra and he won. Then came forward Ubhaya Bharti, the wife of Mandana Misra; the couple considered to be incarnation of Lord Brahma and Maa Saraswati; who said that Shankaracharya would need to debate with her too before he could be declared a winner as she was the ‘ardhangini’ (better-half) of Mandana Misra and till he could defeat her too, he could not be announced a winner.

She asked him questions on Kama sutra (sexual life) which obviously Shankara, a sanyasi (ascetic), could not answer. Shankara asked her for a six month time. As the legend goes, he entered the body of a dead King, learnt the nuances of physical relations, came back and won the shastrarth with Ubhaya Bharti. The couple accepted defeat. The final supremacy of Sanatan dharma (religion which will always be there) was established through sadhna and gyan (worship and knowledge) of Adi Shankaracharya. It was incredible that a single man, at such a young age, with only a kamandal (reliquary) in his hand, was able to win over the Buddhist philosophy through the shastrarth (intellectual debate).

It is generally seen in history that wherever Buddhism prevailed, Islam had a cakewalk. Spread of Buddhism almost destroyed the resistance of Indian Army to foreign invasion. If normal Hindu society with their regular caste system would have been there, Kshatriyas would have been available to fight, but when all follow the principle of non-violence (ahimsa), what will happen to the country. There was this dire need to groom Kshatriyas now.

Let’s delve into the chapters of History to understand how the roots of Buddhism were shaken by destruction of its temples and monasteries.

Towards the end of fifth century AD, Huna invasion dealt a death-blow to Buddhism in North-Western India. The Hunas destroyed Buddhist temples and monasteries and massacred the Buddhist monks. Now, Buddhism derived its spirit and vitality from the monastic system and to destroy that was practically to destroy the religion. The monasteries were so to speak the garrisons which maintained the influence of Buddhism in surrounding countries and as soon as they fell, Buddhism vanished all around. [pg 496 Ancient Indian History by R.C. Mazumdar.

In the accounts by foreign traveller Hiuen Tsang, (who visited India 629-645 AD) he hardly found any traces of Buddhism in North-Western India. Albeit, what he did find was the ruins of thousands of temples and monasteries; telling the forgotten glory that it once was.

With little fighting spirit left in people, there started a string of Muslim invasions and in a course of a few centuries, Islam became a religion of these places sweepingly.

After the birth of Islam, they went on conquering whole of West Asia, right till Egypt; converted all of them, came to India where they faced lots of resistance.

Sab mit gaye jahan se
Ab tak magar hai baki namo nishaa hamaara
Sare jahan se accha Hindoostan hamara

India could remain intact. Remember the very powerful lagna of India in ashtakvarga, with 44 points in it.

Iqbal was the one to write this patriotic piece; the same Mohammad Iqbal who later was provoked by the Britishers and who became the key figure to contribute in the partition of India.

Well, as for Afghanistan, placed between Asia and Europe, it got swept by invasions, first by Darius-I and then Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 329 BC. In 11th century Mahmud of Ghazni was the one to conquer Afghanistan and in the 13th century, it was Genghis Khan.

Afghanistan was won over by Muslims; in time, it became a Muslim nation with gradual conversions. Afghanistan has so many tribal groups actually, Pashtun population. It was in the 18th century that Ahmad Shah Abdali consolidated so many tribes and he was called the Founder of modern Afghanistan (same Abdali is also known for his eight ruthless invasions on India, where he killed, looted and went back with loads of wealth).

In time, Afghanistan came to be known for its strong fighter pathans. In the 19th century, when Britain wanted to protect its empire from Soviet Union, it wanted to use Afghanistan to its benefit, so that it would act as a buffer between the two countries; this is what resulted in a series of Anglo -Afghan wars.

Afghanistan is also known as Graveyard of Empires. Not sure who coined the phrase; but the country is called so as no other country or power seems to be able to stand in front of it. Britain came forward to use it to its advantage but failed and the result was the three Afghan wars. Then, there was the Afghan-Soviet war for ten long years; when Soviet Union kept intervening in the internal politics of Afghanistan.

This was the time USA made use of Muslim fundamentalism in the Russo-Afghanistan war of 1979 by encouraging and training Muslim fundamentalists against Soviet Russia and created Al Quaeda, Osama Bin Laden and of course Taliban. [Glimmer of Hope in a Strife Torn World by Sh. K.N. Rao]

USA tried to control Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021, after the attack on the Twin Towers, to take revenge from the country but eventually had to leave the country.

Many other countries and invaders had tried to control it in the past and all failed. There is a famous anecdote of Alexander the Great’s mother asking him as to why he took so long in Afghanistan. As an answer, he sent some soil of the country and asked his mother to have it spread in Macedonia back home. The act was done and in a few days, people back home were fighting amongst each other; such is the impact of the soil of Afghanistan.

Come to the facts and we see that the difficult mountain terrain of the place is a major safety feature; the Panjshir valley in North East acts as a major protection block. Whereas the people belonging to Afghanistan are familiar with every nook and corner, the invaders are at a loss to understand the terrain and that is their undoing.

It is worthwhile to have a clear picture of the religions of the world. World is divided into two major categories of religions

- Abrahamic or Semitic
- Brahmanic or Aryan
Semitic religions are the ones which were widespread in the region around Jerusalem. These comprise of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Aryan religions comprise of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. There is no scope of violence inthese religions. Hardly any conversion was involved. Even when a new religion like Buddhism came up, it spread because it appealed to the people; after watching so much war, so much violence, Ahimsa (non-violence) lured people.

Jerusalem is the center for all three major semitic religions. Church of Nativity in the Palestinian town, 10 km South of Jerusalem, is the place of birth of Christ. For Muslims, Prophet Mohammad on his miraculous night journey, moved from Mecca to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem only; from where he started his ascent to heaven from The Dome of Rock. Similarly for Jews too, for thousand of years now, it has been a center of Jewish faith. With all religions in the same place, they fought for power and control.

Many fights happened among Semitic religions, lots of violence was always involved in the name of religion. There are examples after examples which can be cited for the same.

Way back in the 7th century, when Jews did not accept the dictums of Islam, see what M.A. Khan writes in ‘Islamic Jihad’:

“Following this, a trench was dug at the market place; and in Muhammad’s presence, those 800-900 captives were brought to the brink of the trench with their hands tied behind and were beheaded with swords before pushing the dismembered bodies into it.... this cruel massacre can obviously be called The First Holocaust of the Jews” (April 627) [Pg 35 Islamic Jehad by MA Khan]

The actual Holocaust, happened much later. The infamous ‘Holocaust’ refers to the indiscriminate killing of Jews during the second World War. It was the genocide of European Jews, by Nazi Germany and its collaborators where some six million Jews were killed; some in mass shootings, some in gas chambers and gas vans in German extermination camps, some through labour and starvation in concentration camps etc. Around two-third of European population was wiped out.

Then there were Crusades, the wars between the Muslims and the Christians to secure control of holy land Jerusalem; which had the holy sites sacred for both groups. Jerusalem was considered the path to salvation for Christians as Christ was born there. For both the religions, these were the wars with spiritual merit. Eight Crusades were fought between 1096 and 1291; ruthless and violent, these wars spared none who came in the way.

The major divisions of Islam, as per Wikipedia

Dar al Sulah (territory of treaty)
- Non-Islamic lands which have concluded an armistice with a Muslim government. Dar al Harb (territory of war)
- Adjoining non-Islamic lands whose rulers are called upon to accept Islam
Dar al Islam (territory of Islam)
- Region where Islamic law prevails

In the places where Muslims are aplenty, Islam rules are implemented i.e. there is Dar al Islam i.e. rule of Islam and the other religions get the least freedom. For example Saudi Arabia where there are no Hindu temples, whether it is Iskcon or any other temple, none are permitted. Hindus can not celebrate Deepawali; Hindus can not do any pooja at their home, they can’t even keep a picture of their deity in their pocket. No Hindu is permitted to go to Haj as is clearly marked on the boards there.

Though it is not so in all primarily Muslim neighbouring countries, there is a huge temple being built in UAE, Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the same. This is a lovely example of tolerance and respect for other religions.

Dar al Sulah is the rule of compromise followed when they are in minority like in Australia, where they are just 2.6% of the total population (as per a report of July 2017). Reports of tensions between Muslims and Non- Muslims are reported but managed well by the country.

As for China, thousands of mosques have been reportedly demolished in the past years. China rules and controls with a strong hand.

Where the population of Muslims is substantial, they revolt and also aim at increasing the number.

Population surge facilitates the rule of a particular community. A solid way to get control of a place in time is to increase your population in that place. Increasing the numbers is possible to do with polygamy; multiple wives and numerous children. An extreme example has been taken from Wikipedia:

“Muhammadu Bello Abubahkar Masaba Bida (28 January 1924 – 28 January 2017), also known as Mohammed Bello Abubakar,[1] was born in Nigeria. Masaba is known for having stirred up controversy in his hometown Bida, Niger State due to his extensive polygamy, and for being outspoken, he was charged under Sharia law and sent to prison in 2008 for refusing to divorce 82 of his wives.[1] Islam limits the number of wives a Muslim man can have to four, mandating they must be all treated equally.[2] He married 120 wives, divorced 10, and fathered 203 children. At the time of his death in 2017, some of his wives were believed to be pregnant.”

When we talk about the World, Muslim population in Europe is steadily increasing. As per TIME in 2015, Muslim population is given as:

France 7 Million
Germany 4.5 Million
UK 2.7 Million

When we see it with reference to the total population of these countries, the percentage is rising fast and that is the cause of concern for Europe.

It is also perceived that when there is this enormous rise in the number of people in Europe, Europe will convert to Eurabia. Eurabia is a portmanteau of Europe and Arabia. It is a word coined by British author Bat Ye’or and is described in her book named Eurabia; showing a stage when Muslim population will increase uncontrollably in Europe and the natives will surrender to Islam finally.

Back to Semitic religions, there were many more fights. Besides Holocaust and Crusades, there was another war spanning full thirty years, not between two religions, but between two groups of the same religion. This was the 30 Years’ War (1618-1648), a brutal religious conflict fought primarily in central Europe between the two sects of Christianity. At that time all the Kingdoms in Europe were under the Holy Roman Empire, with Pope as its head. Renaissance came and Church was questioned. Protestants had risen against the Catholics and the Pope, they followed Lutheran headed by Martin Luther King. However, as the Thirty Years’

War evolved, it became less about religion and more about which group would ultimately govern Europe. It remains one of the longest and most brutal wars in human history, with more than 8 million casualties resulting from military battles as well as from the famine and disease caused by the conflict. []

Arnold Toynbee in ‘Christianity among the religions of the world’ writes:

‘It is true that Christianity and Islam did not originate, as the religions of the Indian group did, in philosophical surroundings, or in a philosophical atmosphere. They originated, both of them, among people who were rather removed from a philosophical education or a philosophical approach to the problems of life.’

Then there were also numerous fights fought between the two major factions of Muslims viz. Shias and Sunnis, the list of wars is endless.

There was conversion and proselytisation in the Semitic religions. Proselytisation is also conversion but it involves force. It involves breaking the places of worship of other religions, breaking their idols to show your own supremacy. Then, there is also evangelizing, which means telling the people about your religion, encouraging them to convert to your religion.

Aryan religions have no record of conversion. If at all conversion happened in Hinduism, in what caste can we accomodate conversions?

Swami Dayanand Saraswati of Arya Samaj did start converting at one point of time, ‘converting back’ I should say. He allowed the Hindus converted to other religions to reconvert back to Hinduism through his Shuddhikaran (purification) movement. All through centuries, orthodox Hindus, known as Sanatanis had not allowed reconversions. Swami Dayanand Saraswati made this possible and brought about this great change.

Developement of Taliban

Some of the Afghans shifted to extreme Islamic ideology of Talibanism. They are the most fanatic brand of Islam. They are terrible fighters. About how Taliban came into being, Shri K.N. Rao Sir has given an intersting account in “Glimmer of Hope in a Strife Torn World”, a paper he presented in a Cultural Meet in Vishakhapatnam in 2010, which goes thus:
Caliban and Taliban
“Why this has to happen is because USA it was first which made use of Muslim fundamentalism in the Russo- Afghanistan war of 1979 by encouraging and training Muslim fudamentalists against Soviet Russia and created Al Quaeda, Osama bin Laden and of course the Taliban. That Taliban has now turned against USA and is speaking the language of Caliban of Shakespeare’s Tempest.
You taught me language;
and my profit on’t Is, I know how to curse.
The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!
Shakespeare’s Caliban is America’s Taliban threatening USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan and also India. World will have to learn to live with Islamic fundamentalism because it has a very old history since the days of crusades of middle ages when Hassashins existed and the English word assassination is derived from Hassashins.”

Taliban is a fanatic group of Islamic Fundamentalists who destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhist statues way back in March 2001, a magnificent sixth century symbol of Buddhism. Taliban declared that they were idols and were blown up by the orders of Muhammad Omar, an act which was condemned internationally.

In the same year 2001, in the month of September, USA was attacked by plane and so many people died. The terrorists hijacked four commercial planes, crashing two in World Trade Center in New York; one at Pentagon near Washington DC and one in Pennsylvania. More than 2500 people were killed. It was the first time that US had become the target of the terrorists and they just could not tolerate this. They demanded to Taliban to hand over the prime suspect Osama Bin Laden. On Taliban’s refusal, USA invaded Afghanistan to target Al-Qaeda and loosen the power of Taliban on 7 October 2001 in Operation Enduring Freedom. Al-Qaeda training camps were bombed. This war lasted two decades and four Presidents of USA, resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. Two trillion dollars were spent and finally USA had to leave Afghanistan in 2021.

“Indiscriminate violence worldwide by al-Qaeda and like-minded Muslim groups in the name of Jihad or Islamic “Holy war” against the infidels (non-Muslims) has plunged both the Islamic and non-Islamic world into a crisis of security and stability” says ex-Muslim M.A. Khan in his book “Islamic Jihad”.

‘... one must go on Jihad at least once a year .. One may use a catapult against them when they are in a fotress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire on them and/or drown them.’ -- Imam al- Ghazzali, the second greatest scholar of Islam after Muhammad [Islamic Jihad].

‘In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.’-- Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, New York, p.473 [Islamic Jihad]

In the present context, Taliban is especially dreadful for women. The women played cricket in Afghanistan but after Taliban came to occupy the place, the games are not allowed for women; women are not permitted to go out of the house, they can not study or work; they are expected to wear Hijab, stay at home, produce children and increase the population.

Women are particularly scared as they recall the draconian rules imposed in the previous Taliban regime in 1990s. Going to study or work would be a challenge for women if the previous rules happen to be imposed again. Sharia law to be imposed.

- Girls of more than 8 years can not come out without burka.
- Females can not talk to a man of more than 12 years
- Women to not sing or dance.
- Even the posters of women without hijab were painted black.
- People handing over their children to the US military from the separating boundary walls, show the dread 
they feel in the Taliban rule.

People of Afghanistan are so scared that they are willing to part with their small children so that they canlive and are not killed by the militants.

After the forceful acquisition of the country, Afghanis have been trying to escape the country. The whole world saw the heart wrenching pictures of the people crowding around the plane, trying to get into the plane about to fly. The people hanging on to the plane; dropping off when the flight takes off; thumping dead on the ground was a terrible sight to watch. This is the Afghanistan of today.

Now that Taliban has gotten hold of Afghanistan, we do not know how things will shape up but for now there is so much confusion in Afghanistan, with Taliban capturing most of its provinces; President Ghani ran out of the country; American forces withdrew fully from Afghanistan.

All this is happening at a time when India is on the way to becoming a greater power than it is today. It can also be seen in Sarvashtaka points in the horoscope of Independent India in Kumbha, Meena, Mesha and Vrishabh; which are increasing from one rashi to the next; showing the forthcoming ten years of India.

At any rate, it is clear that Afghanistan could become a cause for the third World War. USA and Western powers are opposed to Taliban aligning with China to dominate the world. USA, Western Powers and India are opposed to it. Russia’s attitude is not very clear at the moment but China is very clearly with Taliban and Afghanistan. This is the position at the moment for the possible outbreak of the World War.

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