Monday, December 12, 2011

The Harvard Fatwa

Subramanian Swamy is an Indian politician that has been waging an incessant battle against corruption, especially against the infamous USD 40 billion 2G Spectrum telecom license scam orchestrated by the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and to prosecute the Indian politicians who have hidden away their ill-gotten wealth in secret Swiss bank accounts. Not surprisingly, Swamy remains a high-profile target of the corrupt and the powerful. Ironically, the ones to fire the first shots at him have been the secular leftists of the famed Harvard University, where Swami has once been an associate professor of economics, and where he continued to teach summer courses until last year.

On July 16, 2011, Swami wrote an op-ed in the online newspaper, DNA India, where he addressed the threat of Islamic terrorism directed at the Hindus and India. He predicted a Taliban takeover of Pakistan which would be followed by an escalation of terrorism directed at India since the successor to Osama bin Laden has already announced that India is the top priority. Swamy rubbished the “bleeding heart liberal” claim that “terrorists are born or bred because of illiteracy, poverty, oppression, and discrimination,” and the liberal advocacy “that instead of eliminating terrorists, the root cause of these four disabilities in society should be removed,” by pointing out that “Osama bin laden was a billionaire,” and that “in the failed Times Square episode, failed terrorist Shahzad was from a highly placed family in Pakistan and had an MBA from a reputed US university.” Swamy also ridiculed the argument that “terrorists cannot be deterred because they are irrational and willing to die” by pointing out that “terrorist masterminds have political goals and a method in their madness. An effective strategy to deter terrorism is to defeat those political goals and to rubbish them by counter-terrorist action.”

Swamy proposed means to deal with Islamic terrorism by pointing out that every goal of terrorists must be strategically defeated. Some of his advocacies are:

1. Abrogate special privileges such as governance by Islamic Hadiths in civil cases that Muslims enjoy in India and enforce uniform civil code of law; abrogate Article 370 that grants Kashmir special status and sustains Islamic terrorism.

2. If Pakistan continues to back terrorists, India should assist the Baluchis and Sindhis to become independent of Pakistan.

3. Remove the mosques that were built after forcibly demolishing the Hindu temples, and rebuild Hindu temples in their sites.

4. Mandate every Indian to sing the national song Vande Mataram, which personifies India as the mother goddess, and which song many Indian Muslims refuse to sing under the pretext that praising the motherland in sacred feminine terms is against Islam. Every Indian should also learn the Sanskrit language as it embodies India’s heritage.

5. Hindus as well as non-Hindus can vote provided they all acknowledge their heritage as descendants of Hindus.

6. A ban on proselytizing of the Hindus.

Swamy’s op-ed was opposed by Islamists and leftists, who also petitioned Harvard to have his summer courses removed, under the pretext that his op-ed was inflammatory towards Muslims, while his powerful political opponents in India whom Swamy has been prosecuting for scams clamored for his arrest using the same op-ed as the pretext. Initially, Harvard refused to capitulate, and vowed to defend Swamy’s right of freedom of speech only to make an eventual u-turn to remove Swamy’s summer courses. It is as if freedom of had been abrogated by a cabal of leftists!

Diana Eck, who advocated issuing a fatwa against Swamy’s courses said that “Swamy’s op-ed clearly crosses the line by demonizing an entire (Muslim) religious community and calling for violence against their sacred places,” and reminded that “Harvard has a moral responsibility not to affiliate itself with anyone who expresses hatred towards a minority group.” Sugata Bose, who also favored the fatwa, stated that “Swamy’s position on disenfranchisement (of the Muslims) is like saying Jewish Americans and African Americans should not be allowed to vote unless they acknowledge the supremacy of white Anglo Saxon Protestants.”

This is extremely troubling for numerous reasons which we will discuss next.

1. One may very well disagree with Swamy’s views but freedom of speech is not contingent upon the acceptability of what is spoken. If an academic fatwa may be issued against a faculty for expressing certain opinions it is tantamount to, citing Harvard professor James Russell’s words, “Stalinism without Stalin” because it forces academics to conform.

2. Swamy only called for legally removing 300 mosques that were built by Islamic rulers after demolishing the Hindu temples that stood there earlier. If Diana Eck thinks this is a “call for violence,” would she agree that the earlier demolition of the Hindu temples is actually an instance of organized violence? Is it her expectation that the Hindus can never ask for the restoration of their most sacred places that were violently razed?

3. Since Diana Eck thinks that “demonizing a religious community” is sufficient grounds to remove a faculty, I would like to know whether she supports a fatwa against her Harvard counterpart Michael Witzel who too demonized all American Hindus that asked for a fair portrayal of Hinduism in California textbooks by portraying them as extremists. Not that I support any such fatwa but Eck may want to be consistent lest she should be perceived as wearing her mullah’s mantle only against those that do not fit the proverbial mould of Gunga Din.

4. Quite contrary to what Bose claims, Swamy did not ask for an acknowledgment of Hindu supremacy. He asked every Indian to acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. I see this as a meaningless exercise but the fact is that dar-ul-Islam requires pan-Islamic brotherhood, and this sometimes means that an Indian Muslim bonds with his counterparts in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and sometimes even wages jihad against India, as evident from terrorist attacks such as 11/26 which could not have happened without local accomplices. Every nation requires loyalty to itself first, and since Islam is a political ideology, the only way India can secure the loyalty of Muslims is by having them relate to their Hindu legacy and by severing their imaginary link with the worldwide umma. The ways for accomplishing this transformation of the Muslim mindset can be debated but Swamy’s is hardly a call for Hindu supremacy.

5. In the recently concluded American Academy of Religions (AAR) conference, many leftist academics, while discussing freedom of speech in the context of the Danish cartoon controversy, always qualified their support for freedom of speech with the caveat that it cannot offend Muslim sensibilities. It seems that leftist academics accord freedom of religion a higher precedence over freedom of speech. Well, votaries of this thought such as Eck, who is also a lesbian, must remember that in an Islamic state she would receive death penalty for marrying her lesbian partner. Islam is intolerant of the lifestyle Eck espouses just as it is intolerant of the “idolatrous” ways of the Hindus. I can understand why a Hindu such as Swamy would not want to tolerate the intolerant religion but I fail to understand Eck’s suicidal tolerance, and even advocacy, of Islam.

6. Eck’s warning that Harvard should not associate itself with any intolerant agency is commendable. Is it not true that the Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz in 2005 donated USD 20 million to found an Islamic Studies Center at Harvard? Eck surely knows that these Saudi rulers are the same ones that award death penalty to women for adultery (or even for getting raped), whip them for revealing a strand of hair, and who certainly do not allow the immigrant Hindu workers to carry any images of their divinities. Eck should fervently argue that Harvard return the money to the Saudis and call for the center to be shut down unless she wants us to conclude that in her worldview USD 20 million transforms the “intolerant” into “tolerant.”

One should not make the mistake of assuming that the Harvard fatwa is an isolated incident. Recently, Government of India, in an undisguised effort to suppress all news regarding political corruption, initiated measures to shut down Internet portals that disseminate news exposing corrupt politicians. It is against these politicians that Swamy has been waging a courageous and honorable battle. DNA India was forced to remove the op-ed from its website clearly indicating the involvement of a powerful political hand. Is it the same hand that is behind the Harvard leftists’ concerted effort against Swamy?

Leftists proclaim that freedom of religion is an inviolable right, and this assertion must be accepted as an axiomatic truth claim even though the same leftists do not value freedom of speech as much, especially when what is spoken is not to their liking. This proclamation should not prevent others from asking the legitimate question: Is freedom of religion a right or a privilege? If a religion is intolerant, and seeks to conquer everything in its way, why should society tolerate it? A tolerant society and an intolerant religion are as incompatible as a peaceful woman and her rapist. Islam seeks to conquer the world through jihad and demographic warfare. Non-Muslims have every right to discuss this threat and propose legitimate and reasonable means to deal with it.

A call for a Hindu state where Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, as well as other Indian tribal traditions would be protected by the state is legitimate considering that these religions are the collective target of Islam and Christianity for the purposes of conquest through proselytizing. If that were to happen, India would not be the first religious state. The UK, Germany, and many European states are religious states that accord special status to Christianity and even fund the church. These states regularly enact laws to constrain and disenfranchise Eastern religions, the case of the Christian Hungary proposing a new law to suppress Eastern religions being a recent example. America is secular (and secularism itself favors Christianity – but that is a different topic) but the American government funds the church extensively. Many Arab countries are Islamic theocracies and do not tolerate Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism in their land. One never comes across these leftists defending Hindu rights yet they are the first to pontificate to us about the need to be tolerant of Islam or Christianity.

It would be an act of utmost stupidity on the part of the Hindus to be blindly tolerant towards intolerant religions. A few Gunga Dins amidst us might wear the secular hat because it brings them rewards but the rest of us cannot afford to ignore reality. Let us not forget that that these leftists who want to silence Swamy are the same ones who were silent when the church, in collusion with the Indian government, banned the Da Vinci Code in India.

Harvard should pay heed to what one of its own professors, James Russell, wrote about freedom of expression:

“As I understand it, liberalism has to do with freedom. As a boy I marched for civil rights: that meant equal opportunity and integration, not affirmative action, Black separatism, and the licentious advocacy of violence. When as a college student I fought for gay rights, I wanted homosexuals to be able to express the love we naturally feel without fear of violence, ridicule, or condemnation; (…) It has been distressing to witness the Left's misguided take on foreign affairs morph into full-blown, murderous anti-Semitism, coupled with an utterly illogical worship of political Islam, which is anti-homosexual and misogynist just for starters. But the Left has always flirted with totalitarian violence and has indulged in an easy demonization of America that relieves one of the need to think with greater complexity and depth about the problems of our world. Most of the 101 academic rogues of Horowitz's list would probably describe themselves as liberals, but nothing could be more illiberal that their censorious intolerance. They abuse their position of authority and the captive audience of the classroom to impose their views on students (…) They abuse academic standards to hire and promote those who think as they do.”

I thank Swamy for not being a conformist idiot (using that word in the sense Nietzsche did) like Eck or Bose and for daring to think with clarity. The issues he has raised are pertinent. I may disagree with some of his methods but I do support his right to freedom of expression. Unlike the Harvard leftists, I am confident that the might of my pen is capable of challenging Swamy where I disagree with his methods, and that I do not have to resort to censorship.

Shame on you Harvard mullahs!

24 comments:

  1. Very well researched and well written article. Good job. This was needed.

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  2. Please make a post on how to complain against Harvard's bigotry:


    (a) TELEPHONE CALL
    (very effective)
    Call up Harvard University's President and complain, and ask her to reinstate Dr. Swamy's courses.
    Dr. Drew Faust, President
    Telephone Number: +1 617-495-1502

    (b) FAX
    (significantly effective)
    Compose a protest and demand letter
    Dr. Drew Faust, President
    Harvard University
    Office of the President
    Massachusetts Hall
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    Fax Number: +1 617-495-8550

    (c) POSTAL MAIL
    (medium effective)
    Send the protest/demand letter in postal mail. See (b) for further details.

    (d) E-MAIL
    ( ineffective as such protest e-mails go to the bit bucket )
    Send E-mail protest
    E-Mail: president@harvard.edu

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  3. FIRE, a civil liberties group with a focus on academia, cautioned in its letter to Faust that the group is “concerned about the threat to freedom of expression” that may come about from that attention.

    PLEASE KEEP THEM UPDATED ABOUT ARTICLES ON THIS BLOG FOR SUPPORT

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/7/29/fire-letter-subramanian-swamy-summer-school/

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  4. Superb writing, i agree with your views....

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  5. Antonio Maino through different channels made huge donations to Harward when Rahul Gandhi was studying there. Many of those leftist idiots are on her payroll now.

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  6. Dear Venkat,
    Two words.. "Awesome Rebuttal".

    I thoroughly enjoyed your quality response, exposing the weak grounds on which Diana Eck, Sugata Bose and others are standing in opposing Subramanian Swamy's free speech.

    I said shame on Harvard, and you went a step further comparing them to Fatwa and Mullahs! LoL..

    You might also want to read my response at Harvard Crimson website, which incidentally is the second best rated comment by readers of that shameful announcement that Swamy's courses are taken away.

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/12/7/faculty-final-meeting/#comment-381359059

    What I find amusing is that Harvard keeps folks like :

    a)Sugata Bose whose book has "secular" prefix for terror group JKLF's Yasin Malik,

    b) Michael Witzel whose sacking is demanded by nearly 3500 signatures in this petition - http://www.petitiononline.com/stopIER/petition.html

    c) Alan Dershowitz, who called for bulldozing buildings!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dershowitz#.22New_Response_to_Palestinian_Terrorism.22_.282002.29

    d) And this Diana Eck, who is spearheading Swamy's course removal, who herself praises a blatantly anti-Hindu painter MF Hussain!
    https://twitter.com/#!/DianaEck/status/79013667668115456 - So a guy who ran away from Indian law, escaping nearly 1000 cases against him for his portrayal of Mother India in nude, is being admired by Diana!

    Sheer hypocrisy on the part of Harvard which is tarnishing its own image to an irreparable extent by selectively acting against Swamy, while keeping others mentioned above. Hope students of Harvard, who stand for free speech, can at least take this message to the faculty and help save the image of this historic institution.

    - Kiran

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  7. Excellent write up.. i particularly echoed your point, on irrational comparison of white american supremacy with swamy's hindu ancestry argument.. Its plain stupid on the part of harvard to have taken this baseless argument as reason for removing swamy's course.

    Its good that you made this stupidity naked enough with your clear writing

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  8. Blazing throughout and rightfully too. Excellent narrative expressed in candid clarity with a terrific and apt title **The Harvard Fatwa**. No other words can substitute this any better. Great work Mate!!!

    With your advance permission, will share the link on Twitter.

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  9. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME..... Great... I like people who can express them freely. You done a great job

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  10. That was amazing.

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  11. Very well written article. Keep it up mate.

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  12. Exposes the Appeasement side of the so-called Modern Liberal Progressive institution called Harvard. Pledging support to Swamy ji in his noble endeavours!!!

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  13. i have just protested at no.0016174951502, thanks for providing telephone number.

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  14. The Harward fatwa led by Diana Eck's bigotry is symbolic of what is ailing with this world. Eck being the cornerstone of the faculty of "divinity", or so it looks when she is leading the charge against Dr. Swamy, spurred on by the guardians of a useless pseudo-science called theology and divinity. A silly attempt by these half-wits to demolish whatever that remained credible at Harward to be regarded as a temple of learning. The "divinity" professors are all gnawing into Hindu thought like cyberspace cannibals in word and deed, all the while pretending to be guardians of a religion missed by their “book”. These “divinities” know what the sages said better than the Hindus themselves. Now we all saw Diana Eck’s fangs, spitting the same poison of intolerance. But there are lot more of fangs out there that need dismantling. Though the “divinity” professors might earn a pension, it is a faculty that will be banished to the dark side of the moon in the near future. Looking on the bright side of life, I think it was a good turn for us and for Dr. Swamy who would be able to spend more time in India and go after the in-house culprits.

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  15. The so called diana eck is a stooge of... I will leave it to the readers.

    While I cant afford the money and time to call up the number one of the commenters, I wish to convey that this is the fall of Harvard as a diversity and reduction to a 'University'. I will Thank every God that I have reaffirmed the decision to not to send my sons to the University which has taken to Unipolar vision (probably christian Theology). Refer to "The heathen in his blindness" by Prof. Balu.

    Regards,

    Rajagopal

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  16. Fantastic article Kalavai Venkat !

    The questions are,

    "is swamy the first faculty of an educational institute to be thrown out for speaking against terrorism?"

    "What will happen to any other professor or lecturer who has all the facts and data that would prove the reality of terrorism ?"

    .

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  17. Brother Kalavai Venkat,

    Next 7 generations of yours are now officially barred from applying to Harvard! Which is actually blessing in disguise that helps us stop serving a nation which treats us as 'property' rather than an 'asset'...It's about time we rekindle the desire to re-build our ancient knowledge powerhouses such as Nalanda and Takshshila Universities which can replace these mismanaged and hollow Western institutions. These Western schools selling the ideas of success/fame/riches/progress are NOT real temples of Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of learning) with devotees(read students) anyway. NO Western school teaches or preaches value system which was/is at the core of our traditional Hindu education system before it was systematically attacked by foreign powers.

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  18. Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the ethnic Pakistani Northern Virginia man accused of overseeing a front group for the Pakistani intelligence services -- and using political contributions to lobby Congress for two decades -- pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges Wednesday, of having received millions of $ from ISI/Pak Govt., and used it for anti-Indian lobbying throughout the World, with bases in different Countries, under directions of ISI. Paradoxically, the bliions of $ the US Govt. gives as aid, finds its way to many anti-US activities like Fai's Kashmir front.

    It might be remembered that ISI head Hamid Gul was present at CIA
    Hqtrs. when 9/11 was happening giving running commentary to his boss Musharraf of the entire episode. Even CIA and FBI was penetrated effectively by ISI.

    The fact that Dr.Bose with ISI connections through her Paki husband reveals the depth of tentacles of ISI even in Harvard, considered to be the pinnacle of academic activties and a temple for education. The more so, since Dr.Bose of the History Dept. succeeded in influencing her Superiors and the top officials to cause damage to the reputaion of Dr.Swamy, a visiting Professor of the University since 16 years, for an article published in another Country, India, a sad and dangerous precedent created.

    Adopting the same standards, several academecians of U.S. could be meted out with similar action for publishing articles denigrating other faiths or regions and a pandora's box could be opened!!

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  19. Swamy indeed enjoys freedom of expression
    So, should those who oppose his views
    Harvard has a freedom to decide what courses to continue or discontinue
    Who are we to object ?

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  20. Great job on the article and speaks truth to power. One minor quibble: I don't think the American government funds Christian churches. Please verify

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  21. Dear VV,

    American government indeed funds the church extensively. This funding comes in three forms:

    - Tax breaks: which is taxpayer money given the church.

    - Faith-based initiatives: where the church is funded extensively so that they can take control of the distribution of education, healthcare etc., thereby leading to proselytizing of those that receive those services.

    - Funding of NGO: This is a massive scheme where the church receives billions of $ to target poor societies for conversion.

    Some good references on this dangerous trend are:

    http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_its-time-the-government-shut-the-foreign-funds-tap-for-ngos_1241042 .

    Malhotra, Rajiv and Neelakandan, Aravindan: Breaking India - Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines.

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  22. Dear Venkat,

    What I mean is that the US govt. does not directly fund the "church" for its operations. I use quotes because there is no such thing as the American church (like the Church of England).

    Tax breaks do not amount to a direct funding.

    Faith-based initiatives are a recent phenomenon started by Bush as an executive order, and not part of the US constitution. They allow religious organizations to compete for funds to disseminate social service (essentially like a contract). FBO's constitutionality was challenged although the conservative majority of the Supreme court allowed it to stand. FBOs explicitly bar proselytizing and are supposed to be neutral to religion. One might argue that for practical purposes it is a funding of Christian churches because the vast majority of recipients are Christian churches. However, other religious entities also receive funding. And several secular and non-Christian representatives are included on the advisory council for FBOs (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Office_of_Faith-Based_and_Neighborhood_Partnerships)

    My larger point is that someone can challenge the point you are making that the American government funds Christian churches, and dismiss your entire article, which I think is otherwise brilliant, and beautifully written.

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  23. "VERITAS" MY ASS!

    http://www.bloggersbase.com/politics-and-opinions/harvard-campaigns-tenure-in-support-of-islam/

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