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AFZAL GURU AND YAKUB MEMON – A TIMELINE OF POLITICAL VENDETTA

Afzal Guru was a Kashmiri.  Kashmiris are Indians. His complicity in the attack on Indian Parliament was established, as admitted by Supreme Court, on circumstantial evidence. While admitting that the evidences were only circumstantial, the Court confirmed the death sentence awarded to him. He was hanged on 13th January 2013.

On 17th January 2007, a bench of the Supreme court unanimously ruled that “there are authorities for the proposition that if the evidence is proved by circumstantial evidence, ordinarily, death penalty would not be awarded”Afzal Guru

Quoting that authority, the Court commuted the sentences awarded to a man accused of rape of a minor girl and her gruesome murder.

What is pronounced by the Supreme Court is law unless it is turned down by another pronouncement. If there is a pronouncement reversing that ruling, I have not heard of it.

On 16 November 2006, President Pranab Mukherjee returned seven cases of mercy petitions for review. His predecessor, Pratibha Patilpratibha Patil, had commuted death sentences of 35 criminals – those who raped and killed five-year olf girls, teenagers, Four of those pardoned had jointly gruesomely massacred an entire family of seventeen. Earlier than that, when mercy petitions were forwarded to President APJ Abdul Kalam, he asked the government  why it was that only people from the marginalized sections of the Society faced capital punishment. President APJ Abdul Kalam, Patil’s predecessor, was against capital punishment although prompted by the cabinet, he rejected the mercy petition of Dhanonjay Chatterjee, a security guard who raped and killed a little girl while she was alone in the building. Some of his writings show that he regretted the decision forced on him.  Circumstantial evidence points to the possibility that the most popular and non-controversial President who ever occupied the Rashtrapati Bhavan was not given a second term was bolstered by the political necessity to hang the man from Kashmir with nothing but circumstantial evidence produced by an incompetent and corrupt police force

On 16 November 21012, President Pranab Mukherjee, returned for review by the Home Ministy  government’s Pranab Mukherjeerecommendations  to reject the mercy petitions of seven accused, including that of Afzal Guru When the recommendations came back without a change, the constitutional law made it necessary for the  President to reject the petition. The  life and death of men and women hung on the thin thread of legal niceties. Those who raped killed were pardoned; but those who might have taken part in killing by circumstantial evidence were to hang.

None of those who took part in the killings of hundreds in Bombay (other than Yakub Memon was hanged; Bal Thackeray who exhorted Hindus to kill Muslims was honoured all through his life and death. Those who were responsible for the 1984 genocide of  Sikhs roam free. Rioters who caused the death of Muslims and Hindus in 2002 under Mr. Modi’s govenrnent too escaped the noose by a wide margin – though a few including a minister in Modi Government  were convicted. The state Chief Minister Mr.Narendra  ModiModi My governments only religion is Indian first, now the Nation’s Prime Minister  said that he entertained no guilty feelings; he would have felt sad even if a puppy were to get killed.

There were loud cries for and against hanging Afzal Guru. Intellelctuals and eminent lawyers were against it. Time reported: “Khurram Pervez, a social activist in Srinagar. “Still he became the hero … [Guru] has lived in [the youth’s] heart as they have themselves witnessed everything. His death has only cemented the belief of hatred and radicalization among Kashmiris.”

Prakash JavadekarHowever, 74% of those from India who sent in their entries to a poll conducted by NDTV wanted Afzal Guru hanged.

Hindu-extremist Bharatiya Janta Party’s spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said:

Those who are supporting Afzal by demanding that he should not be hanged are not only acting against public
sentiment in the country but are giving a fillip to terrorist morale

(Times of India, 23 November 2006)

The afternoon before hanging, Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Afzal’s home State, was informed onOmar Abdullah phone by the then Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde that the convict would be hanged and that the death warrant had been issued. Abdullah told Shinde that it was a political execution. The Congress government had in mind Hindu votes in the general election that was due next year. It did not help. 74% who voted for Guru’s hanging also wanted more hanging – it is not unlikely that many of them had Yakub Memon in mind. For the better or the worse, Congress ploy didn’t work Sushil Kumar Shindethis time.

On 9th February 2013, Afzal Guru was secretly hanged and buried. At that, he had jumped the line by 28 convicts who were awaiting the noose. There was a big hurry. Hindu versions of Islamic extremists were baying for his blood.

On 6th March 1992, a huge horde of Kar Sevaks (roughly, hand-volunteers) mounted the dome of an ancient and little used but already controversial mosque, Babar Masjid, with axes, pick-axes and other implements and weapons and Babar Masjid demolitionbrought it down. The act was encouraged by the speeches of LK Advani, a leader and permanent Prime-Minister-in-Waiting, senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, Chief Minister of the State Kalyan Singh, former Rani of Gwalior Vijay Raje Scindia, firebrand-in-saffron-clothes  Uma Bharati, and Sadhvi (Saint) Ritambara. Perhaps speeches and a chariot-expedition (Rath-Yathra) by Advani ADVANI-VS-RSS-1 across the Country gave the maximum fillip to  the dangerous act.

What followed was spontaneous riots all across the Country (not to mention Bangladesh, where thousands of Hindus were killed, mutilated and burnt – which inspired Taslima Nasreen’s poignant novel Lajja (Shame). In Bombay, where Muslims have a sizeable number, a Lajjaleaderless mayhem of riot and arson started, which resulted in a well-organized retribution launched by Bal Thackeray, already feared in the state of Maharashtra for his gangster-like ways supposedly designed to protect Maharashtrian interests. Nearly six hundred Muslims, and half that many Hindus lost their lives – often in the most heinous conditions. A Commission instituted by the government and headed by former Supreme Court Justice Srikrishna squarely blamed Bal Thackeray, his Shiv Sena and other Hindu zealots. When the line of findings of the Commission became obvious In 1996, the Shiv Sena Chief Minister disbanded the Commission, but Bal Thackeray- I call it Land of Hindusat the instance of the Prime Minister AB Vajpayee (a noble statesman among the communal zealots) was resumed. The report that was finally placed on the table of the Assembly never saw the light of the day.

The worst-known Muslim counterpoise to Thackeray’s Shiv Sena was the D-Company, headed by Dawood Ibrahim, a former policeman. Dawood was perhaps a few steps ahead of Thackeray in extortion and murder and other rackets. It is quite probable that he Tiger_Memonsponsored the Tiger Memon gang (real name Ibrahim Mushtaq Abdul Razak Nadim Memon) team with quite a few Muslim men to execute a massive retaliation. Inevitably, Tiger Memon’s family got involved. Chhota Rajan, a minor Hindu partner in crime with Dawood, separated from the “Company” and was later hounded by the Company. Incidentally, Dawood’s trusted finance manager was a Hindu named Sharad Shetty, whom Rajan  killed after escaping a murder bid by Dawood gang.

The coordinated  bombing of Bobmbay by Tiger Memon’s gang  was of a scale that no SIS or Pakistani militants trained by ISI or BokoMumbai Bomb Blast Haram  could replicate. (Click to watch the video if you have the stomach). Tons of RDX and weapons like AK56, grenades and ammunitions were landed in Raigad on the West Coast and transported by road to Bombay,some 112 kilometres away. Five policemen (All  Hindus) and at least  three customs officers (one a Hindu) facilitated the landing of the move by closing their eyes – in return for 780,000 rupees each. So much for  love of one’s own Country. Those were the ones that figure among the 100 convicted. They were as much accomplices – even worse donsidering their job –  as Yakub Memon, but got away with a few years in prison.

Two days before the actual blast, a man named Gul Noor Muhammad Sheikh (‘Gullu’) “sang like a canary” to the police of what was going to happen. He was earlier  apprehended by the police while he landed in Dubai allegedly after training in Pakistan. Gullu squealed about the impending bedlam – probably naming those involved, and the nature of the operations on the anvil. Police chose to ignore the tip – those who did, which included then Defence Minister Sharad Pawar,  were never questioned.

D-Company (or whoever) did not ignore the squeal. It advanced the date of the bombing from April to a couple of days after the revelation – on March 12, 1993. Ten underlings  were entrusted with the task of placing bombs in 13 strategic places – Five Star hotels, crowded bazaars, Stock Exchange, Passport office and a bank. Grenades were thrown at a Fishermen’s colony, International Airport and a bus. The bus attack  alone resulted in the death of 90 people. The total pogrom that lasted two hours and ten minutes; 257 persons including women and children lay dead; several hundreds were injured.

sanjaydutt-480The impending operation was so well known that film actor Sanjay Dutt, a former drug addict and son of the famous (and noble) film celebrities Sunil Dutt and Nargis, ordered and procured at least two AK-56 rifles, RDX, grenades, revolver and ammunition. When things got hot, Dutt got his underlings to destroy them who obediently did and were caught as well.  129 people were accused and a 100 were convicted for the attack.Dawood wants to surrender

Dawood Ibrahim and his lieutenants in crime escaped abroad – presumably to Pakistan en route Dubai – before the operation. (Watch Yakub’s confession in the interview). At a later date Dawood Ibrahim made public statements that he was a patriot, that though guilty of other gang crimes, he did not organize planting of the bombs. He phoned senior advocate Ram Jethmalani that he was willing to surrender provided he would not be tortured and that he would be retained under house arrest and not housed in a jail. Jethmalani conveyed this to the authorities – including Sharad Pawar. The response was that it was too early; conditional surrender could not Sharad-Pawarbe accepted. Jethmalani was not asked to negotiate the conditions. Thus a golden opportunity to get at the root of the operation and to put an end to the menace of operations by D-Company (which goes on till date) was conveniently,(and quite profitably for many) lost.

Jethalani made it clear that ‘they’ do not wish to bring Dawood to India. Why don’t they demand his extraditions proceedings, he asked. His interview with the ABP News was an indictment on the government of the day.(Click the image for full interview)Jethmalani interview on Dawood surrender

Why was the Don’s offer of surrender not accepted? He held too many secrets. Too many politicians, bureaucrats and police officers apart from film personalities were on his pay roll. At least two upcoming actresses died by suicide or murder; two live in voluntary anonymity. . Dawood continues to finance Hindi films at exorbitant rates of interest, arranges extrortion and decides which builder would buy building materials from whom. When Dawood’s daughter married Junaid, son of Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad, many Indian celebrities, journalists  and politicians were invited but perhaps only sent them good wishes. FBI and Interpol attended uninvited presumably in disguise.

India accepted the conditional extradition of one of the gangsters, Abu Salim. Abu SalemThe conditions were  that he would not be tortured nor face capital punishment. He was convicted for his direct involvement in Bombay blasts and several other murder cases – but escaped the noose. He lives in relative comfort in Arthur Jail and had married a woman – who claimed to be his ardent fan – while in jail.

18 months after the blast, Yakub Memon returned to India. His story, later corroborated by B. Raman, then of the Indian intelligence organization R&AW, is that at Kathmandu in Nepal  he was assured of a fair deal and was coerced to surrender. When he landed at Delhi,with his family he was arrested by the police who took credit  which, every court knows, is their wont. Yakub claimed in an earlier interview with Madhu Trehan that he had no contact with his older brother Tiger Memon; he could possibly not have spoken to him for more than a hour at a stretch  in his life.What is more important, Yakub made startling disclosures about Pakistan’s direct complicity in the crime that resulted in the death of 257 innocents.
Yakub- I had concluded that Pakistan was involved The interview is interesting.

Yakub is said to have confessed to participating in the blasts to a police officer, which he later retracted on the ground that it was made under torture. The Supreme Court in its long judgment commented adversely on confessions to police, quoting the eminent former judge,VR  Krishna Iyer. Krishna Iyer in an article published after his retirement termed POTO (Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance) under which Yakub was convicted as State Terrorism that would lend legitimacy to (private) terrorism.

However fair the jurisprudence of a court might be, a government can thwart the moral nature of a  judgment, which is what happened in the case of Yakub Memon. After deliberating for a few hours in an apparent display of extreme fairness in the wee hours of the morning of  30th September, the Court ruled that there was no reason why Yakub should be given further fourteen days for preparing for his hanging. So by design or coincidence, the man was killed by the State on his fifty-third birthday. He had, certainly by design,  supercAPJ Abdul Kalam opposed death penaltyeded some three hundred fifty persons on the death row in the Country. His hanging was done three days after the death of  APJ Abdul Kalam, the former scientist-philosopher-teacher-President who had appealed to the Law Commission to abolish death penalty on the ground that  “Man can’t take away life given by God”. Ironically, a few Hindu godmen  bayed for Yakub’s hanging and smacked their lips with glee when the deed was carried out.

Yakub was pushed ahead of a queue of some 350 convicts who were awaiting the noose. Two of the convicts who were due to be hanged were spared the noose because they had served more than 2o years. Surinder Kohli, who raped forty children or more (figure given out by Nithari villagers) was not hanged because the President did not reject his appeal within 3 years. Moninder Singh Pandher, the man who made Kohli procure those children for his first use is still walking free because FBI could not find any evidence against him. My driver from Nithari believes that FBI would burn in God’s crucible. He believes, like his fellow villagers, that Rupees twenty-eight crore exchanged hands before FBI suddenly came to that finding.

Murli-Manohar-Joshi_1Hindu reported : Retired Justice Amir Das, who inquired into the massacre of 58 Dalits in Lakshmanpur Bathe village in Jehanabad in 1997, has stated on record that BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and C.P. Thakur, were responsible for instigating members of the Ranvir Sena, an armed private militia of landowning upper caste men, to commit the murders”. The entire lot of murderers were aquitted; thec-p-thakur_3 instigators continued as top leaders of the current ruling party, BJP.

Referring to the appeal of over three hundred intellectuals to the President not to hang Yakub, Sakshi Maharaj, a ‘Sadhu’ (divine person) in saffron clothes said : “Those who oppose Yakub Memon should go to Pakistan“.

If anybody suspected that Yakub’s hanging had something to do with religious bias, that was nailed with that pronouncement.

Sakshi Maharaj (His name means Witness -Cook. Sakshi means witness;  Maharaj is an honorific accorded to Brahmin cooks) is now a member of Parliament in Mr. Modi’s party. This is what the renowned Insakshimaharaj-narendrmodi-fulldian Express had to say about him:

Along the way, Sakshi Maharaj has had several criminal cases lodged against him. He is an accused in Babri Masjid demolition case and named in the murder of Sujata Verma, a BJP leader, in 2013 at Etah along with his brother and two nephews. He was in Tihar Jail on rape charges but later acquitted. In 1997, his name had figured in the murder of BJP MLA Brahmdutt Dwivedi, who too hailed from Farrukhabad“.

So you know who hangs, and who doesn’t. Afzal Guru’s hanging alienated Kashmiris even further than before – their gradual alienation has been the result of unimaginative policies starting  from 1962; this one topped the list in bitterness.. Guru’s family’s got the information two days too late; they were not even allowed to see his body which was buried in secret.

Yakub’s family can at console themselves that they were told of the impending hanging, and were allowed to bury the body beside his father’s grave.  ..

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MAN, THOU ARE NOT GOD’S CHILD

 

If you are a father like I am

Your love and promise of protection for your children are unconditional.

You’d  love your children whether or not they love you back.

You’d never discriminate between your daughter and your son.

Your love for them is not measured by the praise they shower on you from time to time.

You’d try and  put food on their plates even if they don’t thank you for it.

You’d protect them with your life even if you are not sure they would acknowledge your sacrifice.

If your children do something serious, you will admonish  them – not put them in fire..

If  a child falls sick, you find the best way to cure , not wait for her/his prayers.

If you ever think of punishing your child, that would be for reformation, not for  retribution.

Your punishment would be short, minimal and physically harmless. Never for eternity.

In a storm or a squall, if the earth quakes or floods rise, you first think of your children – not about yourself – even though you know that they may not be thinking of you.

If there is any way you could avert an accident to your child, you wouldn’t stand aside and watch it in playfulness. Nor would you wait for the child to plead for your help.

You will not hold it against your children if they don’t put money  in your box.

You would never, never think of putting them into eternal hell and perpetual torture for the reason that  they didn’t praise your parentage, your sacrifice, and your goodness .

You’d never be your children’s shepherd. Shepherds sell their sheep, eat their sheep, kill their sheep.

You would never discriminate among your children in handing out favours.

You would not  re-incarnate to kill a disobedient  child you created.

God of religion was created by mean, vengeful, dangerous, frightening,  greedy-for-power, wrathful men.

If there is a creator, he has nothing to do with the Christian gods (all three-in-one), Muslim god (Allah the Meanest) nor the Hindu gods (One and yet many) or any other god of any scripture yet written.

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WHY MY BHARAT IS NOT MAHAN

Do you know that:

  1. India has 3.57 crore women less than men?
  2. That despite that wide gap in gender ratio, a woman cannot get a husband without paying dowry in cash and kind?
  3. That nearly every marriage in India is a criminal act because by law dowry giving and taking are both crimes?
  4. That 7,000 baby infants are being killed every day in India?(UNICEF Study)

 

  1. That of every 5000 women killed in the name of family honour in the world every year, 1000 are from India, and 1000 from Pakistan?

 

6 That the only states in India that have more women than men are Kerala , and Puducherry,?

  1. That if you allow nature have its way, there would be more women than men at any given time since women live longer than men by 7 to 8 years? (Don’t you notice far more number of widows than widowers?)
  2. That most Northern states – particularly Punjab and Haryana, where female infanticide is almost a social ritual, women number less by 120 or more among 1000 men?
  3. That women justify female infanticide in the light of their own experience in life saying that they do not want their daughters go through the hell that has been their own life?
  4. That in many Haryana villages, you cannot find a single living girl child and that allowing girl child to live brings social shame to the family?
  5. That if you are a Keralite parent, and give your daughter to a Haryana man (because he comes begging for a bride ), you would be giving her away in slavery and you will never see a granddaughter?
  6. That most police stations refuse to register a bride-burning case?
  7. That Sala (wife’s brother) is a filthy abuse, but Jija (sister’s husband) is a huge praise in most North Indian languages?
  1. That. In Northern India, Sasur – Father-in-law (from the wife’s side) is an abusive word?
  2. That many Hindu babas and Muslim Mullahs and political leaders blame rape victims for the rape?
  3. That nearly all Indian men and women blame the dressing style of rape victims while nearly all rape victims were fully clothed women in salwar-kurtas if they were adults; more than 50% of the victims were children or infants, and nearly 50% of rapes take place within the family?
  4. That widows are the worst treated members in their families ?
  5. That the gender ratio in ‘progressive’ Gujarat was 921 women to 1000 men in 2001; 10 years after Modi’s rule, it is 918 to 1000?
  6. That even today Brahmins in the South make widows shave their heads; that it is perfectly acceptable among some of the tribes in the North that widows become mistresses of their brothers-in-law?
  7. That you will rarely find an Indian film or serial where a man does not slap a woman at least once, but never a film or serial where the woman slaps back?
  8. That honour killing of girls by their brothers (“Sali ko maar ke mein jail jaoonga”) is a matter of pride in many communities.?

 

  1. That men and women holding hands, walking together or hugging in a park or any place can lead to your arrest , but not pooping or piddling on the roadside?

 

  1. That Although sex by mutual consent among majors is legal, if a woman stays in a room in a hotel with a male companion in Kerala, a police inspector might barge in, beat you up or arrest you?

 

  1. That a woman is expected to bear signs of her marriage on her body, but not her husband?

 

  1. That gods and goddesses are stated to have fallen in love, film and TV serial characters can fall in love, but falling in love before marriage on the part of a real-life woman is supposed to bring dishonour to her family?

26. That rape victims are taught that being raped is worse than being dead – and that belief leads to many girls committing suicide?

17. That although Sati has been abolished (by the British against strong protestations by quite a few Indian leaders and members under the legislative assembly), women who self-immolated in the pyre of their husbands – including young Roop Kanwar, who in 1987 was forced under sedation to immolate herself in the pyre of her estranged husband )  are still worshiped?

 

 

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In one sentence only, why do you believe or not believe in God?

My answer to In one sentence only, why do you believe or not believe in God?

Answer by Vishu Menon:

I do not believe that a person so wrathful, stupid, misogynistic, racist, pernicious, sadistic, masochistic, pestilential, greedy-for-blood, murderous, uncertain, unintelligent, powerless and inconsequential, claiming to be the opposite of all these descriptions by religions of all hues, can really exist even among the Islamic State, Ku Klux Klan, Republican Party, Al Qaeda, Taliban. VHP or Gaurakshaks can really exist.

In one sentence only, why do you believe or not believe in God?

Why Rakhi hit the nail

That woman, Rakhi Sawant, was right. Valmiki was once a murderer. Further, Rakhi was destined to say it.

This may be a mere legend, but was among the stories I learnt in class 3.

His name was Ratnakar, profession banditry. He would stand by lonely forest trails, waiting for victims. When an unfortunate one came along, he would loot him, then more often than not kill him.

One day Sage Narada, the divine gossip, passed that way, strumming on his Veena – a stringed instrument – and singing the name of the Lord.

Ratnakar pointed his sword at the sage and roared, give me all your money!

He expected the sage to piddle in his girded dhoti. Narada only smiled. Nothing dripped below him.

Somewhat peeved at this unexpected reaction, Ratnakar brandished his sword again and repeated the challenge. His voice cracked with uncertainty.

“Young man, I have no money. What little money I earned by begging was demonetised by your Pradhan Mantri. Now all that I have is this dhoti. If I give it to you, you’d get nothing but an old smelly rag.”

As he spoke those words, Ratnakar noticed the radiance in his eyes and the halo behind his scalp. A feeling of fear and reverence washed over him.

“Pardon me, godman, I have sinned. But I do this because I have no other way to feed my greedy wife who wants a silk sari every month and my children who would eat nothing but
Italian pizza and Amul chocolates.”

“That happens to all fools who get married and raise children to burden the goddess of earth. But will they share the consequence of your sin?”

“Certainly. My wife gets the lion’s share of my earnings, you know, with Kancheepuram sari and gold chains and all.’

“There will be searing hell fire for you when you die,” admonished the sage.

“She will bear most of it” countered the idiotic Ratnakar “because she gets the bigger share”

“Better check with your wife.”

“Stay here. I’ll be back in a jiffy with the good news that my wife will be my partner in earnings as well as in hell fire or high water.”

“Go ahead and find out.I can wait. I have all the time in the world. There is no gossip today to share with the gods. “

Ratnakar ran home.. Half hour later, he returned, the knot of hair on his head crestfallen.
Narada looked askance.

“The bitch says taking care of his family is a man’s duty. She says How  he does it is no concern of the wife. If he goes to hell, well, that’s one earning of his evil work that the wife has no need to share. Even the children agreed with the bloody  ingrate.”

“Do you still want my one-and-only dhoti?”

“No, my dear sage, keep it. I no longer want to earn for that woman and her ungrateful brats. Self-realisation comes only when you abandon your wife and children.  I had heard that those who never look at their wives after marriage will become Pradhan Mantris. I am not that ambitious.  Just tell me how you could prevent my being dragged to hell.”

“That’s easy. Sit by this tree-shade and chant the name of Narayan, the Supreme Godhead..”

Ratnakar sat in the shade and tried to chant. “Nar..nar.. ” and gave up. “Too hard to pronounce.”

“Don’t expect me to dub for you. Take the name of Vishnu, then.”

“I have never spoken a compound consonant all my life. Can I simplify it to Vishu?”

“That’s a miserable blogger’s name. Try chanting Hare Krishna. ”

“Please  godman , that’s another compound consonant  too hard to pronounce.”

“Pretty obvious. You sound like a new school dropout Mantri  yourself. Why not try the simplest name of God – Rama?”

The bandit tried, but gave up. Too strange a word to remember, he pleaded

Narada was a patient preceptor. “Tell me, what is the word you most often use while on your job?”

“Maroonga,” said Ratnakar in colloquial Sankrit, which later came to be known as Hindi. “A phrase I can repeat in my sleep.”

“Cool. And what do you say when the job is done?”

“”Mara,, khalash “ meaning dead, finished.

“Good enough. Keep chanting maRa, maRa till you feel enlightened and free of sins.“

As Ratnakar began to chant the familiar word, the wise sage smiled and walked on, grateful for getting away easy with his life, and hoping to find a new divine gossip to spread.

As the murderer kept chanting the deadly word non- stop, it reversed itself and became Rama, Rama, Rama..” The name of the great God who murdered 14000 aboriginals in one night for irritating the sages who usurped their forest land.

Years passed, ants built their largest abode around the chanting Ratnakar. History does not record whether it was the name of the Lord or the smell of the sweat that captivated the ants. In a decade, he was covered entirely and some by the ant-architecture. .

The omniscient sage Narada came by that trail again, and exactly as expected, there was this anthill, shaped like a man sitting on the sacred lotus-pose. From inside the hill, he heard the Rama-Rama chant while ants roamed about minding their business, quite unmindful of the jarring repetition.

Sage Narada beamed with satisfaction. He braved ant bites and opened the seven-foot hill. Slowly the shape of a heavily bearded and wholly transformed sage emerged. His belly was sucked in to his back bone like Ramdev in his best yogic pose, and he looked hungry and thirsty, and yet less corruptible.

“Welcome to the world of sages, Ratnakar. I will now name you Valmiki, man born of valmikam, which means Anthill in the divine Sanskrit.”

The new sage, Valmiki, sighed. “I already feel like writing sacred poetry. But the world will still call me a murderer.”

“Never you worry. Not for a long time. Towards the end of Kaliyuga, when intolerance comes by a premium, and human life value will fall and cow life value will rise to heavens, Indra’s concubine Menaka will take birth as a loud-mouthed B-grade celebtity named Rakhi Sawant, the desire of all men and envy of all moderately chested women. She alone will recall aloud that  you were once a murderer. Having divulged that divine secret that will somehow hurt a jobless lawyer’s religious feelings,  she will vanish.”

I tell you,  the great ancient  epics never tell a lie.

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THE ALIEN GODS : ARE WE COMPUTER SIMULATIONS?

Sage Markandeya was a virtuous devotee of Vishnu, the Supreme Deity of the Hindus. He had practised relentless abstinence and self-control, lived only by begging alms, and never failed to recite the Vedas and to offer morning and evening prayers. So pleased was Vishnu with his penance, that he appeared before the sage and asked what boon was he seeking for. Since Markandeya knew all the right hymns of praise that pleased the Lord, he first sang them, and when the Lord’s lotus face radiated more than its usual divine brilliance with pleasure, Sage Markandeya said: Just seeing you in person in all your divine splendour is boon enough for me.  Yet, if you insist, there is just one boon I would plead for: Show me one of your yogamaya – divine illusions that make this world look real.

Vishnu was a little surprised.  Being omniscient, he should have known what was coming, but he didn’t. He was also pleased; here was one sage who was clever; seemingly without asking nothing for himself, but actually asking for the greatest of his secrets – Maya, the divine simulation of a non-existent world. Being a merciful Supreme Godhead, Vishnu nonetheless relented. “Go home, my beloved devotee; you will shortly have what your heart desires.”

Not sure how long that ‘shortly’ meant, Markandeya went back to his hut and sat down.  Leaves rustled in the trees, cuckoos sang their shrill monotone, a spotted female deer flitted by, followed by a male one, his desire shamelessly unsheathed.   A lion roared from afar, but that was a routine affair- cuckoos cooed,  deer couples mated, lions did roar in the jungle. They were no illusions – at least not to his mind. Bored with disappointment, the sage went into his customary trance.

He was woken up by a huge roar of an approaching tsunami that swirled up like mountains. He couldn’t believe his eyes, for the ocean was several miles away.  The little stream that swerved around his hut on its way to the divine Ganges River vanished in the deluge.  Soon his cottage was submerged; he went under and gasped for breath, but with some efforts, managed to surface. The flood kept rising; soon the Himalaya Mountains, below which he had built his cottage, were submerged. Not much later the Milky Way, stars, the sun and the moon were drowned. Human and animal carcasses floated on the surface; it seemed as though Markandeya alone was alive, just about managing to keep his face above the rising waves that touched the dome of the sky.

Thirsty and hungry, the sage floated about aimlessly in the heaving waves till he sighted a banyan tree towering above the submerged mountain peaks. When he swam closer to it, he saw a radiant little blue baby sitting on a broad leaf, one of his legs raised and its big toe in his mouth, a peacock feather crowning his head. He instantly recognized Baby Krishna, the infantile incarnation of Vishnu himself. When he got closer, the Baby Krishna took a deep breath and sucked him in. As he fell through the gullet of the Little One, he saw his own hut, dry and surrounded with flowering trees and plants, the clearing in the forest, the hunters and the hunted,  the lovelorn deer couple still in the act of love-making, birds flitting about in the sky, the huge Himalayas, the sun and the stars, the galaxy – the whole universe. When he had taken in the amazing sight, he was pushed out with a strong exhalation. Markandeya found himself sitting at the same doorway of his hut, in the same posture – as if not a moment had passed.

I took this wonderful story from Bhagavata Purana. Something similar had once happened in my life. I spent a whole day with my late mother, trying to make up for neglecting her in the last years of her life, taking her to a movie, then walking with her on our favourite beach of my childhood, but then losing sight of her in the evening twilight just before I could take her for the dinner I planned. When I woke up, I discovered that all this had happened between the time that my wife with a cup of tea in her hand tapped my shoulder to wake me up and then placed the cup on the side-table. Some illusions, I suppose, have a different scale for time. Yet I could have sworn that I wasn’t dreaming. I could still feel the soft pressure of her fingers on the back of my hand from the way she had pressed it in a gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Some illusions are dangerous. Like the time when my wife had a morning delusion that I kissed the maid. After creating a storm and practicing discuss-throw with plates and dishes, she continues to believe that it happened.  The trouble was that she does not believe in illusions the way I do.

17th century philosopher –mathematician René Descartes (1596- 1650), known as the Guru of modern philosophy, wrote that what we believe to be perceiving through our senses could be an elaborate hoax, it could be a demon who created and controlled all that we saw and heard. Descartes (who posited Cartesian Geometry) was a Catholic, presumably he had in mind people who were supposed to be possessed and saw things which others could not see; whose speech and thoughts appeared to be coming from some other beings.

Ruth Montgomery (1912-2001), the New-age writer and spiritual Medium,   in her book “Strangers Among Us” wrote that highly enlightened beings, who had gone through several reincarnations, no longer desiring to be born again and go through a life-long process, walked in on willing host bodies of people who no longer wanted to live as what they were. She listed Mohandas K. Gandhi, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, (Adi) Shankara and many others who had done their good work because it was not they, but the great enlightened spirits that were controlling their action. Mrs. Montgomery, whose books were in great demand, said that they were the work of a group of such enlightened souls. This group promised a new weapon-less and peaceful world in the twenty-first century, but forgot to tell her that she would not live to see how that prophesy turned out starting 2001, the year in which she died. I knew an elderly Zoroastrian lady who was not supposed to be very familiar with English (she spoke to me only in Hindi under normal circumstances) but spoke fluent English with an Irish accent when she was supposed to be under the control of  18th-19th century Irish nun Mother Catherine,  when in a trance. She told me things about myself and my departed son which, as far as I knew, she had no means to know. She accepted no fees for late Mother Catherine speaking through her – so she had no reason for putting on an elaborate pretense.

Space scientist and science fiction writer David Brin (born 1950) recalls  a Chinese parable about an emperor who believed that he was a butterfly dreaming that he was an emperor. According to Brin, says Space.com, “it may be the year 2050 and people are living in a computer simulation of what life was like in the early 21st century — or it may be billions of years from now, and people are in a simulation of what primitive planets and people were once like.”

In 2003, Nick Bostrom (born 1973), the young faculty of philosophy in Oxford University published a paper titled “Are you living in a Computer Simulation?” in Philosophical Quarterly first proposed the Simulation Hypothesis as a scientific concept.  The kernel of his argument was based on the assumption that It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium: silicon-based processors inside a computer could in principle do the trick as well.  Thought process, ran his argument, could be substrate-independent. He foresaw that humankind could attain a stage where it could use planets and other celestial objects into powerful computers. Inconceivable as it might seem to a layman, the paper aroused considerable interest in the scientific community. When you have a massive computer like the universe itself, creating universes could be child’s play. Who knows there is none out there who has the power of a whole universe compressed into a laptop capable of simulating one or more parallel or discrete universes, or that someone out there somewhere is not doing it already ?

Ray Kurzweil (born 1948), director of artificial intelligence in Google and inventor of several digital devices,  agrees  with what modern physicists call a Simulation hypothesis. We might not be really real, but being simulated on a powerful computer by an alien – though not necessarily a God of any religion – who even could  be a five-year old in an advanced universe somewhere  out there.  How do we know we are not?  .

Who else supports  this insanely fantastic suggestion? To name just a few famous scientists, Thomas Warren Campbell (born  1944) , the author of the book, “Theory of Everything,” (My Big TOE : Awakening) which deals with a unified theory that combines all the physical theories that explain the working of this universe we occupy –Such other eminent scientists as Hans Moravec (born 1948),  faculty member at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, and an expert on artificial intelligence, but also a futurist, and author of much acclaimed Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind suggests that if someone is simulating us just as we simulate a machine, or write a book, or simulate the emotions of a character in a movie, that could be ominous. At the top of his thought-provoking  paper, Simulation, Consciousness, Existence, he wrote:Like organisms evolved in gentle tide pools, who migrate to freezing oceans or steaming jungles by developing metabolisms, mechanisms, and behaviors workable in those harsher and vaster environments, our descendants, able to change their representations at will, may develop means to venture far from the comfortable realms we consider reality into arbitrarily strange worlds.

(Reproduced ad-verbatim)

Ominous, it really is, because whoever is simulating air crashes, murders in wedding banquets and little children burning or  drowning, obviously does not react to the pain and grief of the simulated beings any more than an author of a novel or a movie script who describes such pain and misery feels any sympathy for his characters. Those who ask if there is a God, why is so much pain present in this world would get their answer that, for God (or the child-alien) who is toying with you on her computer feels no such pain or sympathy for the characters she creates. Do you weep for the characters in a video game that get shot, stabbed or blown to smithereens? You, as an audience, might shed tears for a tragedy that happens on the movie screen, but the producer wouldn’t; he would hope to make more money from those tears.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (born 1958), the seriously jovial director of Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City, and the anchor –presenter  of the popular television show Cosmos hosted  the Isaac Asimov  debate in April 2016 on the subject whether we live in a universe of artificial simulation.

Professor Sylvester James Gates ( born1950)  , theoretical physicists for work on supersymmetrysupergravity, and superstring theory or  Lysa Randall (born 1962), faculty  of Harvard University on particle physics and Cosmology, did not think it likely that we could be living in a simulated universe. Young Iranian  Zoreh Davoudi , Post-doctoral research associate at the Center for Theoretical Physics – MIT, has been working on a project to simulate a universe with her guide and associates, but is constrained by limitations of computing power and other technological factors.  The most powerful computers available today can simulate a universe no larger than an atom. That gives you an idea of the computing power required to create (simulate) a real universe.

Philosopher David Chalmers  (born 1966) believes that there is 42% probability that we could be living in a simulated universe while Max  Erik Tegmark, Professor of Cosmology at MIT discounts that probability to 17%. Chalmers considers consciousness as an undercurrent narrative of a 3-D movie we are watching all the time, (a holographic projection) that not only shows images and sound, but also smell, feel, emotions and memory.

Professor Brian Randolph Greene, (born 1963) of Columbia University, who teaches Physics undergraduates on theoretical physics and String Theory, devotes a chapter in his book,  “The Hidden Reality – Parallel Universes and The Deep Laws of The Cosmos” expends a chapter lending conviction to the possibility that we could indeed be the creation of someone in another universe playing a game with us by Metrix simulation. Greene speaks of parallel universes where there could be several you’s residing in several universes at the same time. If all of you were exactly identical, you could only be simulations. How would you know who is the copy of whom?

Think of this. Moore’s Law is by no means a rigid mathematical theory, but only an observational suggestion,  postulates that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years. Transistors are the switching devices that create zeroes and ones (0,1) used to store data, create data, type words, read words, do calculations, draw graphics, take and store photographs, record music and video and generally do all the cerebral-like processing that a computer does.  The brain of your computer – microprocessor – is a network of millions of such transistors. In effect, the law means that the computing power, speed and storage capacity could be more than doubling every  couple of years  far beyond the ten-year limit predicted by Gordon Moore (born 1929), co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. This fantastic rate of  growth has not abated;  it has, if anything, been accelerating its expansion process like the expanding universe itself . In 1978, the first desktop computer I bought had a capacity of 2 MB and a memory of 620 KB which everyone thought was fast enough. The server in the office had a 120 MB storage which I thought was incredibly large. Today the 8 GB memory and two TB (Two million MB) hard disk on my laptop often appears to crawl. All the videos of scientific, and religious debates, audible books, Kindle books and music videos that I have on board this laptop would have needed a hundred several eight-inch tapes a generation ago. Alibaba.com  answers  more orders for books, appliances, beauty products, music  and grocery than any God of any religion could be listening to (but not necessarily answering ) prayers in any given moment. God, are these humans powerful!

Now imagine the computing power that a paleontologist in 2050 could be using while researching a thousand  skeletons of the victims of religion-based wars that is raging in the Middle East during the past decade  of our time. Using these  skeletons, and many of the window-dressed journalistic materials available in the archives, he could build an exact simulated life for the dead and gone decade of 2010-2020. Like a forensic scientist who could drop a dummy of the right weight and size on the ground from a twenty-floor balcony to investigate a murder case, he could use this simulation to build a true history of what happened in our foregone times. It is more than possible that the programmers would have designed  adequate artificial intelligence  to create self-awareness  and free thoughts in their simulations. (Are we, by the way self-aware free thinkers? Don’t our thoughts come  ‘inspired’  from an unknown black  hole in our mind – but who inspires those thoughts in the black hole of our mind?). If that happens, – there is no reason why it couldn’t – that paleontologist  three decades from now could be re-creating you, me, George Bush, the victims of drowning in the Mediterranean sea, the head-cutters of Islamic State, their leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi , President Donald Trump and many more in a simulated matrix; we wouldn’t even know that we are only simulations just as we are not sure if we are or are not right this moment.

Even that April 2016 discussion on a fact of life that is important to humanity filled with spirited laughter and pointed jokes at the Isaac Asimov  debate in April 2016 could be a simulation; their virtual conclusion that the Matrix Hypothesis is nonsense could be engineered by an alien lest the simulations become Frankensteins in the long run, just as the Abrahamic God tried futilely to prevent Adam from acquiring knowledge and  becoming equal to himself.

Simulation hypothesis is nothing new, only the terminology is. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna urges Arjuna to stand up and fight, assuring him that the foes –  his cousins, preceptors, uncles , grandfather and  thousands of their  warriors are already dead; he (Arjuna) was only required to simulate the action. Christian Reformist John Calvin (1509-1564)  wrote that whatever is to happen – who would go to hell and who to heaven was  all pre-determined by God, the world is merely going through the motion. Humans have no active  role to play in his life. Prophet Muhammad is quoted to have said in a Hadith that when a human embryo is forty or forty-two days old in the womb, an angel would descend  near it and call out to Allah and ask, “What sex?”, upon receiving an answer and fitting up the appropriate sex equipment, the next important question: “Sinner or Saint?”.  God decides, the angel codes the little one’s fate according to Allah’s pre-determined instructions.

All religions claim that their God is omniscient and omnipotent because the world is a simulation of their creation; he is supposed to know the sequence of things to come because he programmed it.

We could be living computer simulations of a superior intelligence living in some other universe or dimension, or we could be the holographic  characters  of our own thirtieth,  hundredth  or  thousandth descendants who are creating us in their past to see for themselves how their ancestors lived loved and died. Are we kidding ourselves? Is this a mad-hatter’s dream?

Not at all. That Vishnu – not necessarily a God, but a whizkid with a toe in his mouth and hands on a computer keyboard of weird sorts – who could be playing this maya or illusion on us, had been playing it with our ancestors (or making us believe and ‘remember’ that we had parents and ancestors), feel that we are driving a car to office or keying in this blog on a computer keyboard, planning to cheat the spouse or filing for a divorce, could all be an alien playing us on a  Matrix game board. Your vivid memory of  loving parents who struggled to bring you up and educate you might not be real; it could be planted in your simulated brain.  Our sense of time could be a fleeting microsecond in her computer program. We are made to believe that our clock is designed to delude us about the time; the soft feel of your girlfriend’s breasts could be no carbon fat and protein, but a computer code. Your belief that you are thinking independently inside your brains, your proud claim that you have self-perception and consciousness that your computer lacks, might all be previously programmed into a complex computer program of unimaginable power and speed.

I am not betting on it. My great-great granddaughter might find the truth.

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Another Saibaba – not a godman but a victim of bad men.

This 90%  handicapped gentle Professor of Delhi University is sentenced to lifeArundhati Pity the Nation
He killed nobody. He can’t, even if he wanted to. His crime is helping the helpless – the dirt poor, untouchable indigenous people waging war against oppressive feudalism that commit worse crimes than did the 19th century slave drivers of America

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The Priest and the Atheist

An atheist had a massive heart attack. When he went into a coma, and the doctor said he would soon be gone, his pious wife, always worried about his after life, called a priest.

The priest came and spoke the right words, making invocations to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Suddenly, the atheist sat up.

“I can see fire,” he shouted. “Terrible fire! It says it’s coming for the sinner!”

The priest ran.

The atheist died in peace.

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