Tuesday October 24, 2017
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Not a breaking news: Why Indian mainstream media ‘hates’ Hindus

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By Gaurav Sharma

Media occupies a cardinal place in the functioning of any democracy. As a watchdog, it serves a critical role in ensuring the honest working of the government.

The professional essence of this fourth estate is to provide reliable information based on principles of truthfulness and impartiality.

The mainstream Indian media is, however, totally adrift from such a mode of working. Far from making judicious use of the power of information, it highlights every accident, rape and murder as ‘breaking news’ in a desperate attempt to win over TRP’s from its closest competitor.

Apart from such regular cases of motivated sensationalism, the mainstream media, rather the anglicized media, is characterized by a seething alienation towards the majority section of the Indian populace, the Hindus.

While the Hindus have been subjected to rapidly increasing cases of violence, abuse and inhumane treatment both in India and in foreign lands, the Indian media has willfully remained oblivious of their plight.

Deliberately choosing to magnify sporadic and limited cases of minority discrimination, the media has turned a blind eye to more widespread and regular instances of brutality against Hindus.

The Hindu population in neighboring nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka has declined abysmally, a fact which has been either overlooked or subsided by the mainstream media.

In Pakistan, Hindu numbers have declined by a whopping 90 per cent. According to the Pakistani Human Rights Commission, as many as 20-25 cases of abduction and forcible conversion of Hindu women are reported every day. Consequently, a majority of the Hindus have been forced to flee Pakistan.

Also, Hindus now constitute less than 10 per cent of the total population in Bangladesh, down from around 20 per cent in 1972. Cases of violence perpetrated against Hindus, restrictions on the practice of their religion along with exercise of discriminatory property rights abound in erstwhile East Pakistan.

The Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka are a victim of even greater atrocities. Their religious and civil rights have been curtailed largely due to a large scale Buddhisization of the northern and eastern part of Lanka.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives, a leading think-tank noted in its March 2013 report, “Access to temples in High Security Zones and areas restricted by the military, military intrusion into religious practices and rituals, Buddhist and other religious symbols being set up in the vicinity of Hindu religious sites, allegations of destruction of kovils (Hindu temples with Dravidian architecture) and shrines, concerns of conversions from Hinduism to other religions, are the major impediments Hindus are facing.”

Similar cases of forced conversion, or at the very least, neglect of Hindus have resulted in the marginalization of Hindus in Fiji, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Malaysia. Majority of them have migrated to USA or UK in search for a better and more respectable life.

The Indian media has remained a mute spectator throughout this religious persecution, a carnage that has engulfed the Hindus right in their own backyard.

The government is equally negligent of the gruesome subversion of Hindus. Israeli violence against Palestinians in Gaza finds a mention in the Indian Parliament, while a puny utterance of the dismal condition of Hindu refugees seems like a Herculean task for the politicos.

The main reason for such a hypocritical and seemingly biased behaviour, both by the government and the media, stems from a warped interpretation of Secularism.

Secularism means segregation of religious and spiritual matters from governance. However, in India, this entails financial and legal privileges for those belonging to religions other than Hinduism.

Such a narrow perception of secularism is ingrained and embedded in the modus operandi of the mainstream media in the country. For example, while the Godhra riots are castigated as communal violence against Muslims, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits barely finds a mention in the mainstream media discourse.

There is enough evidence to cite that the Godhra riots began as a retribution of the burning of a train which had killed 58 Hindu pilgrims and religious workers.

However, the Indian media chose to showcase the state government under the leadership of the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as complicit in the mass killing of Muslims, a charge which the Special Investigation Team (SIT), under the Supreme Court outrightly rejected.

The demolition of Babri Masjid is another case which was widely sensationalised by the media. However, the desecration of a wide number of temples (208) in Kashmir, which followed the fall of Babri Masjid failed to find a place in the media reportage.

More than 75 historic temples in Bangladesh were destroyed in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid tragedy. Similar large scale attacks on Hindu places of worship in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries could not alter the media’s one-pointed, belligerent discourse on Hindutva.

The media failed or chose to remain silent on Allahabad High Court’s crucial observation discrediting the testimonies of historians and archaeologists who appeared on behalf of the Sunni Waqf board.

Another example of the one-sided media approach towards contentious issues is the phenomenalization of the banning of Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus: An Alternative History. At the same time, the media was mum on author Tasleema Nasreen’s horrendous assailment at the hands of Islamist mobs.

The media became fixated with the ban, which was attained through constitutional means but remained oblivious to Tasleema’s plight, after the criticism of Islam forced her to shift home from Calcutta due to violent protests from MIM leaders.

The media bias does not end here. There has been a furore over mass conversions of Muslims and Christians into Hindus, under the creation of a ‘Ghar-Wapsi’ campaign.

On the other hand, the evangelising and proselytizing of Hindus, which has continued since independence and much before that, through billions of dollars of Church grants, escapes the short-sighted glance of the Indian media.

Such religious apathy inevitably translates into selective presentations and motivated reporting that has now become a vital part of the Indian media functioning. By undermining fairness, truth and objectivity, the basic planks of journalistic ethics, the Indian media is doing a great disservice to the nation.

Introspection holds prime import for the Indian media, if it does not want to lose the tiny shred of credibility that covers its naked body.

 

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3 Ahmadi Men Sentenced to Death in Pakistan on Charges of Blasphemy; Minority Communities are increasingly facing the Heat in the Country

“Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes.

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Pakistani students of Islamic seminaries take part in a rally in support of blasphemy laws in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Hundreds of students of Islamic seminaries rallied in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, urging government to remove blasphemous content from social media and take stern action against those who posted blasphemous content on social media to hurt sentiments of Muslims. The placards, in center, in Urdu language are reading as "Authorized Institutions immediately take action on the incidents of blasphemy and remove blasphemous content on social media". (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) (VOA)

Washington, October 15, 2017: A court in Pakistan’s Punjab province has sentenced three men of a minority religious group to death on charges of violating the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were found guilty and convicted by the trial court Wednesday for insulting the prophet of Islam.

The men were tried under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, commonly referred to as the blasphemy law, which recommends either life imprisonment or the death penalty for anyone found guilty of deliberately insulting Islam.

The men were arrested in May 2014 in a remote village in Punjab province after residents filed a complaint with the police and accused the defendants of tearing down a religious poster.

Four men were arrested at the time. The fourth man, Khalil Ahmad, was shot dead by an angry man while in police custody just a few days after the incident.

Saleemuddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told VOA that the charges against the defendants and the court’s verdict were unfair.

“The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already persecuted Ahmadi community,” Saleemuddin said.

“We will challenge the trial court’s decision in high court,” he added.

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan’s state does not recognize them as such and labels them heretics. There are more than a half-million Ahmadis living in Pakistan under the constant threat of persecution.

The Ahmadi community “is one of the most mistreated communities in the country. They have had been a target of blasphemous charges, sectarian violence and target killings,” said Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist in Pakistan.

ALSO READ Military Dictatorship Always Halted Progress in Pakistan, says Pakistan Prime Minister

Ahmadis ‘a threat’

The death sentence for the three individuals came just a few days after Muhammad Safdar, a prominent member of the ruling party and son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly denounced Ahmadi community members as a threat to Pakistan and urged the country’s institutions not to hire them in the military or the civil service.

Safdar’s remarks stirred a debate in the country on the issue of minorities and their rights.

Pakistan Minister of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, without mentioning Safdar by name, denounced the anti-minority rhetoric coming from politicians.

“It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities,” Iqbal said in a tweet.

Abuse of law

“Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. We’ve seen several incidents where angry mobs killed those accused of committing blasphemy without giving them a right to face the trial,” human rights activist Hasan told VOA.

Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes. Due process is often ceremonial, the rights activists add, and decisions are often informed by the growing religious intolerance in the country.

Even if courts do drop charges against defendants, mobs and local residents attack them, and law enforcement authorities look the other way in most cases, the activists charge.

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Members of a Pakistani civil society demonstrate April 22, 2017, in Karachi, Pakistan, against the killing of Mashal Khan, a student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in the northwestern city of Mardan. Police say the lynching of Khan, falsely accused of blasphemy, was organized by other students who saw him as a political rival. (VOA)

Social media posts

Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death last month in Punjab after the court established that he sent a blasphemous poem to a friend via WhatsApp, an instant message application.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said 15 people were arrested on charges of blasphemy in 2016, including 10 Muslims and five members of religious minorities.

In April 2017, Mashaal Khan, a journalism student, was accused of posting blasphemous content online and was beaten to death by fellow students at Abdul Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan’s government is being criticized for strictly enforcing the blasphemy laws.

In April 2017, the government used newspapers and mobile phone services to warn its citizens not to post or upload any blasphemous materials on social media.

The government has also reportedly encouraged people to report those who violate the blasphemy law. (VOA)

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Facebook doesn’t Hire Journalists, says Sheryl Sandberg

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Sheryl Sandberg quoted that Facebook doesn't hire Journalists. ians

San Francisco, Oct 14: As people debate Facebook’s role in influencing people during the US presidential elections by Russian ads and fake news on the platform, the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg has stressed that the social media giant is not a media organization, and therefore does not hire journalists.

Sandberg said that Facebook is run by technical workers and engineers and according to her, the company does not produce news content, therefore it can’t be a media company.

In an interview with US-based news website Axios on Thursday, she said, “At our heart we are a tech company. We hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters. No one is a journalist.”

“We don’t cover the news. But when we say that, we’re not saying we don’t have a responsibility. In fact we’re a new kind of platform… as our size grows, we think we have more responsibility,” the executive was quoted as saying.

Business Insider said a firm that is a major source of news and information for people, generates billions in ad revenue and is producing its own original television shows is classified as a media company and Facebook does all of that.

Contrary to her claim, it hired former NBC anchor Campbell Brown in January to head up the company’s news division and work with other journalists to maximise their use of Facebook’s platform.

Reportedly, Facebook does not want to harm its $500 billion valuations by admitting it is a media company. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the US and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid.

Facebook
Facebook Ads were considered during US Presidential Elections. Pixabay

Business Insider said Britain was already considering regulations that would treat it more like a media company.

Meanwhile, on the Russian ad issue, Sandberg said the election meddling on the platform “shouldn’t have happened” and she wouldn’t discuss Russia or Trump.

“We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms… and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them,” she said.

Sandberg said that if the Russian-linked ads were posted by “real people” and not fake accounts, Facebook would have let their content remain on the site. “When you allow free expression, you allow free expression.”

“Facebook owes the American people an apology. Not just an apology, but determination for our role in enabling Russian interference during the election,” she said. (IANS)

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Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Hinduism- the oldest religion in the world is based on certain established beliefs. Read more to find out what these beliefs are.

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justice and Injustice factor of Hinduism
Hinduism of Hindus when compared between justice and injustice

Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.

Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

All Pervasive Divine Power

  • Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Rig Veda – Wikipedia Commons

Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures

  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.

Hinduism – Pixabay

Creation Cycle

  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Hindu Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, Wikimedia

Belief in Karma

  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Reincarnation and Liberation

  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.

penance
Belur, Chennakeshava Temple, Gajasurasamhara, Shiva slaying the demon Gajasura. Wikimedia

Worship in Temples

  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindu dharma
Hindu Sadhguru –  Pixabay

Belief in a Enlightened Satguru

  • Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.

Hinduism, Hindu temple, Krishna idol
Krishna idol. Pixabay

Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things

  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.

The symbol has been adopted by various religions and cultures across the world.
The swastika is a Hindu symbol of spiritual principles and values. Wikimedia Commons.

Respect and Tolerance for other faiths

  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

One response to “Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know”

  1. Please use proper words for our culture. There are no ‘beliefs’ in Hinduism. There are only ‘hypotheses’ of Hinduism. Belief is something a person is required to adhere to, even in the face of disproving evidence. It demands a suspension of rational thought which goes against the basic nature of Hinduism. Please do not explain Hinduism using the same terminology used by Abrahamic religions. Or more appropriately, call Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions as ‘dharma’ to distinguish their inherent nature. Even religious Shinto-Buddhist Japanese say they have no religion when asked. Also, I do not know how you came up with these nine basic so-called ‘beliefs’. I am a Hindu and have never heard of some of them. Please call them ‘some’ of the hypotheses of Hinduism that ‘some’ Hindus agree with. Disagree with ‘tolerance for other faiths’, respect for other dharma – yes, tolerance – not applicable. This word ‘tolerance’ is required by Abrahamic religions which are intrinsically supremacist. Hence they need tolerance to be able to live in a diverse civil society without the tendency to occasionally commit violence for their religion. A dharma like Hinduism has nothing to ‘tolerate’. A Hindu/Jain/Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist/etc. does not care about the religious ‘labels’ and will easily exchange gods/practices/hypotheses with each other if they make sense or are harmless but satisfy some need. Of course, things that are bad deserve criticism and no tolerance (except for basic human respect). How can anyone attempt to define a culture that has always been and will always be in flux as human knowledge increases? It’s time we restored our so-called ‘religion’ to what it always has been i.e. ancient science.

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