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Posts Tagged ‘Vatican’

The Problem With Hindus

July 27, 2010 11 comments

While Mother Teresa raised millions in the name of India and its poor, the money was unaccounted and no published accounts are available for public scrutiny.

Rudeness, arrogance, disrespect

The intellectual arrogance displayed in the interview below by the Late Mother Teresa is simply breathtaking. Her rudeness and disrespect for the host society leaves me wordless. In a society where ‘many, many, many Hindu people share with’ her, she finds it beneath her, to respect her hosts.

This, may not be Mother Teresa’s problem – but it may, well be, The Hindu problem. People living in India no longer know the difference between religion and dharma. People of Bharata-ah no longer remember when religion was maya and dharma was supreme. Giving equal position, respect and consideration to religions and dharma is the India’s problem today.

Mother Teresa’s advice – We regressive, dirty-brown, idolatrous, backward Hindus can and were never be a happy lot. Unless we embrace Jesus!

Jeeez-us.

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner @ theage.com.au)

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner @ theage.com.au)

Extracts from Mother Teresa’s interview

Q. Here in Calcutta, have you created a real change?

A. I think so. People are aware of the presence, and also many, many, many Hindu people share with us. Now we never see a person lying there in the street dying. It has created a worldwide awareness of the poor.

Q. Beyond showing the poor to the world, have you conveyed any message about how to work with the poor?

A. You must make them feel loved and wanted. They are Jesus for me. I believe in that much more than doing big things for them.

Q. Friends of yours say you are disappointed that your work has not brought more conversions in this great Hindu nation.

A. Missionaries don’t think of that. They only want to proclaim the word of God. Numbers have nothing to do with it. But the people are putting prayer into action by coming and serving the people. Everywhere people are helping. There may not be a big conversion like that, but we do not know what is happening in the soul.

Q. What do you think of Hinduism?

A. I love all religions, but I am in love with my own.

Q. And they should love Jesus too?

A. Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose. (via : Interview with MOTHER Teresa: A Pencil In the Hand Of God Of God By EDWARD W. DESMOND, Monday, Dec. 04, 1989).

From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic

From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic. Cartoon by RK Laxman, Times of India.

Is it my Satanic mind

But Mother, or should I say Saint Teresa now, I have one question. It must be that ‘Hindu’ Satan putting this question in my corrupt ‘Hindu’ mind, which has not embraced Jesus.

You see the Christian world has been doing something they call consumer ‘optimism’ surveys. For  few decades now, these ‘Hindu’ Indians have been a rather optimistic lot. And the West, which has embraced Jesus (at least more than these Hindus have) are much more pessimistic.

Can I have some divine guidance from you.

Your statement somehow also reminds me too much of a similar statement by the alpha-dog of the Colonial pack – Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, FRS who ‘despaired’ for the ‘Hindu’ Indians , led by a half-naked fakir … and men of straw (mostly Hindus). Especially, since we Hindu-Indians are a “beastly people with a beastly religion

Being a Saint, the Mother must be right. She rightly loves her religion more. She also prescribes that we backward Hindus should also love her Catholic-Christian religion more.

Unless the Indic mind changes – and changes fast, Mother Teresa’s wish may come to pass.

 

An encounter in Athens

July 21, 2010 9 comments
Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates (1787) by Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748–1825) at Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York - Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates, the greatest of all oral communicators, was freaking out over “the very latest communications technology, written language based on an alphabet” though as Powers concedes, “writing wasn’t completely new”. Socrates believed that scrolls would erode thought by permitting people to forget what they had learned because they’d be able to look things up, that “they wouldn’t feel the need to ‘remember it from the inside, completely on their own.’ ” Worse, writing wouldn’t “allow ideas to flow freely and change in real time, the way they do in the mind during oral exchange.” (via Born to Check Mail By LAURIE WINER, Published: July 9, 2010, Book Review – Hamlet’s Blackberry – By William Powers – NYTimes.com).

Indian yogis in Athens

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born. Was that a coincidence? After all, Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly, Krishna Dwaipayan Vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

Mentioned by Aristoxenus and recalled by Eusebius, Socrates’ encounter with an Indian yogi however, is not well-known. Mentions of the Athenian encounter between the Indian yogi and Socrates are a rarity in modern history. Socrates was accused of

disrespect for the gods whom the state recognizes, of introducing new divinities and of corrupting the young

Socrates was condemned to death by poison. Compare this to Indian ethics which forbid violence against the intellectual class – the Indian brahmins, priests, and rishis.

One question!

What were the alien gods that Socrates was promoting? What was it that Socrates was teaching that ‘corrupted the Greek youth’. The alien gods and teachings that Socrates was accused of promoting – were these from India?

Why would the ancient Greeks be anti-Indian?

Pliny’s moralizing verdict on the Roman trade with India,’ borders on being an anti-India polemic. Pliny’s India writing’s remain a significant academic memory even today.

Why the anti-Indian polemic?

Indic ideas that threatened the world

Indian teachers and intellectuals were sent to all corners of the world. The spread of Buddhism in Asia is well-chronicled. In 2nd century AD, Origen, a Christian pioneer, attributed the spread of Christianity “The island (Britain) has long been predisposed to it (Christianity) through the doctrines of the Druids and Buddhists, who had already inculcated the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead”

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com)

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com) Click for larger image.

Mani, the Buddhist teacher,  and his adherents, known to Christians as Manicheans were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century, feared by the Vatican for a 1200 years. Vatican killed, burnt and quartered all those who displayed any leaning towards Manichean-ism.

St.Augustine was canonised for his conversion from Manichean to Christianity. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. Islamic invaders searched and destroyed statues or boet /buta (meaning statues of Buddha?).

The reason behind this ‘persecution’?

Indian economic system in 500 BC ensured property rights for all – something that Europe could achieve only in the 19th century. Property, wealth and power concentrations in Greece would be threatened by Indic thought.

Travelling salesmen stop travelling

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani.

1000 years after Mani’s death, the Vatican was afraid of his his ‘hold’ over the European populations.

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born.

After all Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly Krishna Dwaipayan vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

This is not to forget the encounter between Socrates and the Indian Rishi.

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani – of whom the Vatican was adraid even 1000 years later.

Were the alien gods and teachings that Socrates accused of promoting, from India? After Pliny’s anti-India polemic remains a significant memory even today .

Indian cartoon raises a storm in the Western world

January 9, 2010 1 comment
Police of Kingdom of 'Dhritarashtra' - When ruled by a Blind King destruction is inevitable
Police from the Kingdom of ‘Dhritarashtra’ – When ruled by a Blind King destruction is inevitable

“Cartoons in Australia are normally done by people who are either clever or witty and this one’s neither,” the secretary of Victoria’s Police Association, Greg Davies, told reporters.

Davies said it was “incredibly offensive and wrong” to suggest police were not investigating the murder and that it was too early to categorise Garg’s death as a race-hate crime.

The Indian cartoonist, R. Prasad, said there was a sense of injustice in India and that the attitude of Australian authorities “amounted to acceptance of racism or authorising similar future crimes as mere opportunistic violence”.

“The cloak of the Ku Klux Klan is a globally known and recognised cultural signifier that represents racism. It also symbolises violence in the name of race or colour,” he added in an emailed statement.

Garg’s killing … threatens to damage diplomatic ties as well as Australia’s 15.4 billion US dollar education export industry.

The Federation of Indian Students in Australia said it was “too early to rule in or rule out any cause for the death of Mr Nitin Garg”.

But spokesman Gautam Gupta urged police to provide statistics on the number of crimes committed by and against Indians and whether criminals have been caught and trialled in previous cases of assaults against Indians.

The editor of the Mail Today claimed that Australian police statistics showed one in 20 attacks in Melbourne was against an Indian student despite them representing just one in every 1,000 people in the city.

“Silence on the facts and figures are not going to help the situation,” Gupta said, adding that there was a rising level of cynicism amongst the Indian diaspora.

In June, police said that 1,447 people of Indian origin were victims of crime against the person — such as robberies and assaults — in Victoria between June 2008 and July 2009, an increase from 1,082 the previous year.

Gupta said the Australian government’s response to the latest murder was seen as “merely diplomatic and an exercise in public relations and image damage control”.

Indian students number 119,000 in Australia … (via Australia slam Indian paper’s Ku Klux Klan cartoon – Yahoo! News).

Such a lovely country – and such lovely people

Just why were Indians raising the issue of crime in Australia? Especially, when crime is so much higher ‘there’ (in India) than ‘here’ (in Australia) was the gist of the long post. Shri Tim Colebatch is rather proud of the low murder rates in Australia. Demmed Indians!

Data spouted by this post ignores some ‘basic’ facts. Murder incidents in Australia are lesser because finding another Australian to kill is so damned hard. In a country of that size, with such a sparse population. And that, my Shri Tim Colebatch, is the reason, why Australian crime rates are lower than in India.

The same post mentions how “India, of course, is a very big country.” But Australia is a much bigger. Three times bigger, in fact. And it has a population of 2.5 crores (25 million) – compared to India’s 110 crores (1.1 billion).

If you compare Indian crime scenario with the Rest of the Western World, you will see a different picture  – completely different. Colebatch does not seem to find it strange when in ‘country of murderers’, “This time last year, I was in India with the family on holiday, and the worst danger we faced was trying to cross the road.”

An Australian paper had telling comment,

According to police statistics for the 2006-07 financial year, the assault rate for Indians in Victoria was about 1700 people in every 100,000. In comparison, the rate of assault of non-Indians in Victoria was about 700 people in every 100,000. (via India paper defends KKK cartoon).

Holy cow … what about racism in India

And maybe this is something that Shri Colebatch, you can share with friend, Rory Medcalf, the Lowy Institute’s program director for international security and a former diplomat in India, who says,

”Part of the problem is that a decision seems to have been taken that there was nothing to be gained with an acknowledgement of racism. That is something the media have fixated on – an attempt to gain an admission on this innocuous point that there is racism in Australia, just as there is in India or any other country.”

After wiping out the entire population of the Australian Aborigines, Mr.Rory Medcalf, thinks that the racism issue is an ‘innocuous point’. The so-called ‘persecuted’ people in India are in a majority, their populations are growing faster than the ‘oppressors’. So, this bit about racism in India, is red herring. Complete ignorance – if it is not trickery.

Whez yo sensa huma

Mr.Greg Davies complains how the cartoonist is neither “clever or witty.” Murder ain’t a fit subject to be humourous about. But the Australian attitude to bury their heads in the sand is. Comes from eating too much of ostrich meat, I presume. And I think this sarcasm is not getting through to Mr. Davis.

Multi-culti balti Australia

Australia, Britain have carefully sold a lemon to their populations about how tolerant they are. Which is bit of a joke. Unlike France, Switzerland which are rabidly xenophobic – and have made a virtue of their hatred for the hijab, burqa, minars and minarets. They don’t do the multi-culti-balti dance. For all its multiculturalism, Australia, how many Africans did Australia admit last year? How many Muslims? What percentage of Australians are Muslims? And to think this is what passes of as multiculturalism in Australia?

Keep on rocking in a Free World

Kippenberger was right after all ...

Kippenberger was right after all ...

Some time back, a German artist, Martin Kippenberger’s creation of the crucified frog was moved to a less visible location, displayed at the Museion, the newborn museum of contemporary art in Bolzano, after His Holiness, The Pope decided to condemn this sculpture.

This sculpture,

“Zuerst die Füße” (first the feet), the sculpture dated from 1990, which measures about a meter and represents a crucified frog holding in its right hand a mug of beer and in its left hand an egg. In this work Kippenberger represents a society that appears perfect but is actually hypocritical.”

When the Islamic world protested about Danish-Mohammed cartoons, there was a huge outcry in Western cities about freedom of speech. When the crucified frog is moved to a ‘less visible location’, there is no protest.

Maybe Kippenberger was right after all.

Vatican uses short codes to blame Hinduism for Hitler’s Holocaust

August 13, 2009 6 comments
Are you forgetting these halcyon days?

The Vatican forgets these halcyon days?

the Vatican’s 1998 apology, “We Remember.” That long-awaited document expressed regret at Christian mistreatment of Jews over the centuries but pinned the fault on some of the church’s sinful “members” while holding blameless “the church as such.”

The Vatican’s champions say it had no choice: “the church as such” is ecclesiastical shorthand for the church as bride of Christ, which partakes of divinity and must thus be without blemish. “We Remember” further contended that the Holocaust was the product not of Christianity but of a “neo-pagan” regime that had renounced the faith, but Carroll portrays Hitler as the heir to such church-sanctioned haters as St. John Chrysostom and Torquemada. (via The Church as Sinner – TIME).

Deflect ... blame ... cover up ...

Deflect ... blame ... cover up ...


Hitler … Aryan .. Pagan …

Some few years ago, the Vatican came out with a much awaited ‘apology’ for its involvement in the Holocaust. Since Hitler, though technically a Catholic, was a staunch believer in his Aryan lineage.

This the Vatican uses as an escape hatch to pin the blame on ‘neo-pagan’ beliefs. Combine Hitler’s Aryan supremacy theory, India as the citadel of ‘pagans’ and non-believers, makes Vatican’s language a short hand for Hinduism and India.

Just how did the Church think, it could palm off Hitler’s genocide onto Hinduism – and India which is the citadel of ‘paganism’. Are they forgetting the Abbott of Citeaux?

Another red-wash

“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own) instructed the Abbot of Citeaux to followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade.

Did the Church look at its own history? The Ustashe killings, the Albigensian Crusades, at the Hussite Wars, at its blood soaked history, at the numerous humans who were burnt at the stake, torn apart – all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Blame the victims

And after 1500 years, blame pagans for it. Pagans, if the popery forgets, were the victims of the Church’s expansionary zeal – and Hitler’s. Maybe the ghosts of the Native Americans will whisper the truth in Vatican’s ears – who were also annihilated by brave Christian soldiers?

Threat to bomb Indian community centre in Belfast- Hindustan Times

July 14, 2009 3 comments

The Indian Community Centre in Belfast has received a threat letter from Protestant extremists asking immigrants to leave Northern ireland or face bomb attacks.

Besides the Indian centre, the threat letter has been sent to the Belfast Islamic Centre and the Polish Association, reports from Belfast said.

The letter, threatening of racist violence, from the youth wing of the Ulster Defence Association warned: “No sympathy for foreigners, get out of our Queen’s country before our bonfire night (July 11) and parade day (July 12).”

“Other than that your building will be blown up. Keep Northern Ireland white. Northern Ireland is only for white British.” (via Threat to bomb Indian community centre in Belfast- Hindustan Times).

When the Roma Gypsies were attacked and assaulted, ‘knowing’ readers responded that it was the fault of the Roma Gypsy!

After all, how can you blame other people? Apparently, the logic why the Roma Gypsies are disliked is, because,

“people dislike a group that don’t pay taxes, don’t integrate into the community, don’t speak the language of their guest country, and are seemingly the origins of most petty crime in any area they descend upon, and yet this same group demand the community supports them, demands that specialist teachers are provided for their offspring, demand they have unfettered access to the same services as the rest of us but don’t pay their way.”

What could be more logical, when these Roma,

appear anywhere they want, set up their camps, totally dividing entire communities, demand these things, and then get … bleeding heart liberals jumping to their defence when the people (btw – they were the people you guys would have been defending 10 years ago, although,to be fair, you probably patronisingly refered to them as ‘proles’) decide to give them a message, and yet you wonder why they’re hated.

Probably, the Indians, Poles and the Muslims also have similar problems – which they themselves cannot see.

But these enlightened British souls from Northern Ireland can see more and further – then we can.

Roma Gypsies face Northern Ireland ethnic violence

June 18, 2009 24 comments
A frugal Romani Gypsy Camp

A frugal Romani Gypsy Camp

Police said the racist attacks started last week, with gangs smashing house windows and attacking cars. The violence flared again on Monday when youths hurling bottles and Nazi salutes attacked an anti-racism rally called to support the migrants.

Belfast City Council press officer Mark Ashby said the majority of the victims were Roma, or Gypsies, from Romania.

Marian Mandache, from the Romanian Gypsy NGO Romani Crisis, said the Northern Ireland violence was the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks across Europe.

“Starting with Italy in 2007, there have been waves of … racist attacks against Roma,” said Mandache. “Afterwards, there were attacks in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.” (via Gypsies face Northern Ireland ethnic violence).

Hitler was never alone

Hitler’s biggest mistake – he lost the war.

The genocide with which his regime was charged with was also carried out against the Native Americans in the USA, the Australian aborigines, in Congo by the Belgians. Post colonial Governments in Kenya and India have ignored the cover-up of the millions killed by the colonial rulers – in the Mau Mau operations in Kenya or the 1857 War in India.

The Romani Gypsies Sinti have been a favored European target for the last 500 years – by the Vatican, by the Protestant Church, by monarchies and by Republican Governments. In war and and in peace.

Their crime. They civilized (?) Europe. No less.

A 'campaign' to remove Roma Gypsies from camping sites in Britain

A 'campaign' to remove Roma Gypsies from camping sites in Britain

Why Europe continues to demonize and persecute the Roma

Despite the immense contribution by the Roma Gypsies to European culture and life. Is it because: –

  1. They have a different lifestyle – which is migratory and frugal. They do not wish to have permanent homes, too many possessions or jobs. They prefer living in wagons, with skills and trade that they possess.
  2. They have not ‘integrated’ into the White, Christian, European social system. They wish to remain ‘different’.
  3. They stick out like sore thumbs – in a Europe where the Jews have been annihilated, where  descendants of the African slave populations have been exterminated and the Islamic population (past and present) is not tolerated. In such a situation, the Roma Gypsies have not only survived, but have regrown (after Hitler’s concentration camps killed them by millions).

Since when, are these qualities a crime.

Recent history

A few months ago, the Italian police started a campaign of racial profiling and persecution of the Roma – based on an isolated murder of an Italian.

This disproportionate response against a community, to a crime (I am making an assumption of guilt) by a Roma individual, smacks of persecution, racism and pogroms. After all, this is how Hitler and Mussolini too started their campaigns.

In Northern Ireland, the Roma Gypsy number less than 1000. What threat, what problem could they be to the nearly 2 million people of Northern Ireland?

In Britain,

For over twenty years Erith Borough Council continually tried to remove the gypsies from the Marshes. The Council’s eviction policy even made the National Press. In 1948 the Daily Mirror ‘Ruggles’ cartoon strip featured the plight of the Belvedere Gypsy community.

Finally, in 1956 Erith Borough Council got its way. The Council minutes for that year record that “over 700 persons and 280 ramshackle structures have been removed…The clearance could now be said to be complete” thus ending over 100 years of Gypsy history living on Belvedere Marshes.

By 1965, following a campaign led by Norman Dodds, MP for Erith and Crayford, the Government commissioned a national census survey of the Gypsy community living in Great Britain. Sadly, Norman Dodds died in 1965, but James Wellbeloved who became the MP for the same seat took up Dodds’ campaign and finally, in 1968 Parliament passed the Caravans Sites Act. This Act placed a duty on all local authorities in England and Wales to provide sites on which Gypsies could place their caravans and stay, either temporarily or permanently. However this duty was repealed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1995. (from Gypsies In Bexley: A Hundred Years On The Belvedere Marshes By Simon McKeon, 13/07/2006, from Untold London).

Unarmed, and a few of them!

PS

To all those who wanted to pin the blame for this wave of violence at the doorsteps of the Roma, better find a new and better story. It was reported that Indians, Muslims and the Poles were also warned. Leave Northern Ireland, or else.

Zombies versus churails

Could you have an equally successful version with churails and djinns? Perhaps, but Grahame-Smith’s success is also because of the public fascination with zombies, vampires and werewolves. Werewolves come from the Old Norse vargulf, and were feared as actual threats several centuries ago. Zombies originated in Haiti, but the idea of revenants—the walking dead—was very much part of Old English folklore. Vampires, especially the Transylvanian kind, reached the peak of their popularity in the 18th century.

True zombies, vampires and werewolves have not been feared for at least two centuries. But their place in the popular imagination has been maintained by horror movies and novels as well as several generations of gamers. Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series elevated the classic vampire love story to interspecies romance, with a werewolf vying for the hand of the beautiful Bella. (via Nilanjana S Roy: Zombies versus churails).

Why are Indians so bad at horror films …

Why does the largest film production culture, i.e. India not produce Jaws, Jurassic Park (animals as malevolent monsters; justifying the extermination of huge swathes of wild life, “good that we have exterminated them). Where is the Indian Dracula or Frankenstein? In all its 25 major languages and more than 500 plus dialects, Indians don’t have a national ‘monster’ culture? The writer of this column writes, almost complainingly, how

But few have carried on the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote some of the most chilling ghost stories of all time—Khudito Pashan (The Hungry Stones) being perhaps the best of them. It’s not for lack of talent—for instance, Tarun Tejpal and Ravi Shankar Etteth have both played around with the ghost story. Ravi Shankar wrote at least one classic, featuring a busload of highly unusual passengers in war-ravaged Kashmir. In 1914, a Mr S Mukerji compiled a set of Indian ghost stories

The Ramsay family tried keeping the ‘horror’ flag flying. But most of their ‘horror’ films finally turned out to be romantic comedies – with a token presence of the ‘horror’ element.

The Indic spread

Other Indian themes have crossed languages, geographies, cultures – and spread all over the world. Witness the spread of Ramayana or how Sanskrit defined most languages of the world. After more than 1000 years of aggression, the Desert Bloc has only half the world as its adherents – though they have 80% of the world’s geography. The Indic belief systems still accounts for half the world’s population.

Why indeed does India have a scarcity of ‘monsters’. Even Indian asuras are not really monsters or devils! This columnist speculates that

perhaps something of the belief that ghost stories are for the masses, not for the purveyors of high literature, has rubbed off on to our authors. That, given India’s rich heritage of dakinis, betaals, nishibhoots and other things that go bump in the night, is a sad mistake.

To understand this better, let us look at the world’s most fertile ground for ‘monsters’ …

Medieval – Renaissance Europe

16th century Europe – specifically, Spain and Portugal. The last of the Moors had been driven out of Spain. The Christian standard was flying high. The Papal Bull divided the Earth (for the Europeans) between Spain and Portugal. White Christian rulers of Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand, set historic standards in persecution and extortion. More than a million Jews were killed, crucified, burnt alive; their properties confiscated and distributed. Columbus returned to enslave the American Natives – and subsequently, work them to death.

New chapters in bloodshed were being written by conquistadors like Vasco Nunez De Balboa, Francisco Pizarro, Juan Ponce de Leon, Hernando de Soto, Hernando Cortez, et al. Not to forget the search for El Dorado led by, “above all, that prince of monsters Lope de Aquirre, colour the pages with the darkest hues of bloody emprise.” In South American memory, Francisco de Carvajal, the “demon of the Andes” remains alive. These real-life monsters set new standards in brutality, slavery and genocide.

Europe in the sixteenth century was “obsessed with questions of language, and especially so in Spain and its recently conquered American Empire (emphasis mine). This was driven by

what Marshal McLuhan called “the hypertrophy of the unconscious,” a phenomenon he associated with periods of revolution in media technology: the advent of print in the 16th century created a great need for sensational materials to be broadcast, and this need caused ideas that formerly had been only lurking in the dark recesses of men’s minds to come floating to the surface.

One of the great bestsellers of the 16th century was the Histoires prodigieuses of Pierre Boaistuau (Paris, 1560), a sort of Renaissance Ripley’s Believe-it-or-not containing marvelous tales on everything … Seventeen of the Histoires forty tales are about monsters, a fact that may explain why the book was republished anywhere from ten to twenty two times and translated into Dutch, Spanish and English. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Spanish literature of the Renaissance

From this hotbed of ferment, a representative of this period was Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681), the Spanish writer. Growing up in a Spain, a 100 years after the Conquistadors, benefiting from the twin advantages of fresh memory and hindsight “a century of Janus, facing backward, towards the rise of the Spanish Empire … and forward, toward its decline.” His more than a 100 plays and writings represent 17th century Spain, significantly – and even Europe.

There is probably no word that is more characteristic of Calderon de la Barca’s art than monstruo, “monster.” Rare is the play in which the word does not appear several times … (from Celestina’s brood By Roberto González Echevarría).

Calderon’s play about Semiramis, the Assyrian Empire builder, showed her in a monster mode – her hybrid character the most masculine modes and the most feminine, a monster of destruction and creation”. And Calderon was not alone. The fertile growth of monsters gave birth to a new study – teratology, the study of monsters.

“Monster lore truly becomes “popular culture” only with the Renaissance … Fresh works on the subject of teratology are written by Italians, Germans, and Frenchmen. The foreruuner of the modern newspaper, the broadside were bought at street corners and at fairs by the barely literate masses. The great reformers Luther and Melanchthon used the broadside medium to popularize their propagandistic and anti-Catholic versions of two of the most famous monsters of the Renaissance, the Monk-calf of Freiburg and the Pope-ass of Rome. (from Popular culture in the Middle Ages By Josie P. Campbell).

Some of Calderon’s plays dealt with the proselytization of the Native Americans – like his play, La Aurora En Copacabana (Dawn in the Copacabana), described as a play about “the conquest and conversion of the Indians in Peru”

The success of the conquest, therefore, is attributed to (Christian) faith which is valued as mans greatest gift to the world … Thus (Christian) conquest becomes a form of colonisation with the purpose of imposing religion and culture on a land “que habitan inhumanos” (512) and is in need of redemption and education. Finally, the play tries to harmonise irreconcilable contradictions which lie at the bottom of colonial discourse. (texts in brackets and italics mine).

With this idea, must be seen something important. That is the important element of “the escape of the monster.” In the … Monster Theory, Joel Cohen has remarked that the monster always escapes. Now combine the three elements – the newly acquired colonies of America, the proselytization (or otheriwse, the genocide) and the escape of the monster. These were the ‘monsters’ of colonialism.

A very interesting play by Calderon was La vida es sueño (Life is a dream). It tells the story of Segismundo, the Prince Of Poland, who was destined to be a monster. To forestall the prophecy, Segismundo was imprisoned by his father from the time of his birth. In adulthood, released from prison to test the prediction, Segismundo fulfills the prophecy. As a analyst of Calderon’s work summarizes,

Affirming a “better reality,” Segismundo’s message speaks as well to all of Europe: the “new European man” is the real monster. (from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

200 years after Calderon, HG Wells, in the The Island of Doctor Moreau, foretold Joseph Menegle’s experiments rather well.

Onshore genocide – The Roma Gypsies

Apart from the Jewish persecution, less known is the the persecution of the Roma Gypsy, which continues till date. In Europe, kidnapping children was considered legal for most of 1500AD-1750AD. On one condition – you had to kidnap Roma Gypsy children! More than 25,000 children kidnapped. No problem. Everybody sleeps peacefully at night. Switzerland was doing this till 1973!

Roughly, between 1500 to 1750, it was legal in Europe to hunt human beings. Yes! Just like hunting for deer in India, or hunting buffalo in Africa or fox-hunting in Britain. Yes! You could hunt human beings. As long as the humans you hunted were Roma Gypsies. In Europe you could be hung to death if you committed the crime of being born – between 1500AD-1750AD! Born as a Roma Gypsy!

Europeans, in the their age of Enlightenment and Renaissance, (1500-1750) could just pick up human slaves – yes, own them like cattle and furniture, if you found one! As long as they were Roma Gypsies. Later you could also sell them for profit!

Ship owners and captains in Europe’s Golden age, (1500-1750) could arrange galley slaves for free. No wages, no salary. You just had to feed them. Use them, abuse them, flog them, kill them, drown them. You could do anything – as long as they were Roma Gypsies.

What set off the Roma Gypsy Genocide

In 1420, a 60 year old man, blind in one eye took charge – and took on the might of the Roman Church and Roman Emperors.

Jan Zizka.

Over the next 12 months, he became completely blind. In the next 15 years, Zizka (and other Czech generals) defeated, many times, the combined armies of Germany, The Roman Church and others. His military strategy was studied for the next 500 years. Thereafter, the myth of military might of the Church was broken forever.

Jan Zizka allied himself with the Taborites (the radical Hussite wing). Zizka made Tábor in Bohemia into an armored and mobile fortress – the Wagenburgs.

Interestingly, a 100 years after the Hussite Wars, the European persecution of the Roma Gypsies began in full earnest. And during WW2, the Vatican joined with the Nazi collaborators, the Ustashe,  to extort gold and the genocide against the Roma Gyspises.

Military success

Zizka ranks with the great military innovators of all time. Zizka’s army was made up of untrained peasants and burghers (townspeople). He did not have the time or resources to train these fighters in armament and tactics of the time. Instead they used weapons like iron-tipped pikes and flails, armored farm wagons, mounted with small, howitzer type cannons.

His armored wagons, led by the Taborites, in offensive movements, broke through the enemy lines, firing as they rolled, cutting superior forces into pieces. For defense, the wagons were arranged into a tight, impregnable barrier surrounding the foot soldiers – the Wagenburg (the wagon fort), as they came to be known. The wagons also served to transport his men. Zizka thus fully initiated modern tank warfare. Zizka’s experience under various commanders was useful. At the Battle of Tannenberg (1410), Zizka fought on the Polish side , in which the famed German Teutonic Knights were defeated.

Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan

Roma Gypsy Wagon Caravan

Coming back …

Who were the major users of the wagons in Europe then (and now?) Answer – The Roma Gypsies.

Who were the people who could pose spiritual and ecclesiastical questions to the Vatican? Answer – The Gypsies, with their Indian heritage, were not not new to spiritual dialectics (contests, discourse and debates). For instance, Mani, and his adherents, an Indic teacher of Buddhist thought, known to Christians as Manichean thought, were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. European minds were occupied with the questions raised by the Hussite reformers.

Some think they (the Waldensians) had held them for centuries; some think they had learned them recently from the Taborites. If scholars insist on this latter view, we are forced back on the further question: Where did the Taborites get their advanced opinions? If the Taborites taught the Waldenses, who taught the Taborites?

Who were the people who could help the persecuted Waldensians, the Bogomils, the Cathars to escape persecution and spread out across the Europe? Answer – The Roma Gypsies – in their wagons. The same Gypsies, had earlier pioneered the Troubadour culture in the Provence Region, which provoked the Albigensian Crusade by the Vatican.

Prokop Coat Of ArmsProkop Coat Of Arms

And who was the King of the Taborites? Answer – An entire clan of leaders who called themselves as Prokop (The Shaven /Bald; The Little and The Great) were the military leaders of the Taborites.

The word and name Prokop have no meaning in any European language – except in Sanskrit, where it means vengeance, retribution, violent justice.

Mythology as History

Jan Hus initiated the Reformation in the Vatican Church. It was Jan Zizka who broke the back of Papal authority. On the back of these Czech successes, was laid the foundation of 95 Theses by Martin Luther in 1517. The British break (1533-34) with the Holy Roman Church happened due to favors by the Papal office to the Iberian Empires – in matters of trade and colonial expansion, and the impediments to divorce of Henry-VIII at the behest of the Spanish rulers.

Today, the Germans and the British are loath to be reminded about the Czech Church Reform initiatives and the defeats at the hands of the Poles and Czechs. Western historiography about the Enlightenment and Renaissance, in Britain, France and Germany, leading to the reformation is ‘mythology as history’.

Of course, the role of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Byzantine Empire in the entire Czech saga is also worth re-examining. Were the Hussite Wars, a proxy war waged by the Eastern Church against the Vatican?

Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

In the 19th century came the monster story was dubbed as Gothic – and this form of story-telling matured as a craft.

A significant array of Gothic writers emerged from Ireland (from Charles Maturin, Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde to the contemporary writer Patrick McGrath), in a colonial situation where a Protestant minority was the colonial occupier. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851), wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley started writing Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, at the age of 18, and completed it one year later. First published in London, anonymously, in 1818 by small London publishing house of Harding, Mavor & Jones – after previous rejections by bigger publishers like Charles Ollier (Percy Bysshe Shelley’s publisher), and John Murray (by Byron’s publisher). The writer’s name started appearing from the second edition of 1823 onwards. The interesting aspect, lost in popular usge, is that the monster is not named – and Frankenstein was the scientist, who brought the monster to life.

In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde was first published. This explored how ‘normal’ (Dr.Jekyll) human beings could become ‘evil’ (Mr.Hyde).

And in 1887, Bram Stoker, an Irish writer published his Dracula. The character of Dracula is based on Emperor Sigismund and his Order of the Dragon, who waged war against the Hussites – led by Jan Zizka. Infamous for his betrayal of Jan Hus, he sparked of the Hussite Wars, in which the Taborites (the Roma Gypsies) used wagons and gun powder for the first time in Europe. He founded a secret sect,  the “Dracul” called the Order of the Dragon.

Of course, these three are the most famous – but not the only ones. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 “Carmilla“, about a lesbian vampire was another monster book of its time. An associate of Mary Shelley, John Polidori created the character of the “The Vampyre” in 1819 – on which possibly Dracula was based.

Most significantly, in 1896, was HG Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, which presaged Joseph Mengele – when Joseph Mengele had not even started on his higher education. A good 50 years before Joseph Mengele’s experiments were discovered by a shocked world.

The wellspring of these works is H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau. In this 1896 novel, a vivisectionist attempts to transform animals into men until the misshapen creatures revert and kill him, the forces of nature overcoming man’s civilizing artifices. From The Boys From Brazil (Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele, alive and well and cloning Hitlers at a secret lab in the Brazilian Amazon) to Jurassic Park (Richard Attenborough alive and well and cloning velociraptors), Wells’ basic formula has become familiar: an island; a Frankensteinian experiment; a Faustian scientist; something gone terribly, terribly wrong. (from Requiem for the Mad Scientist

From the 1700-1800, while Spain was in decline, for about a 100 years, Western literary field did not see too much action on the monster front. The main action was in Haiti, where zombies, the ex-murderers, the living dead became a part of the voodoo cult.

The late Victorian era was one of the most expansive phases of the empire. Britain annexed some thirty-nine separate areas around the world between 1870-1900, in competition with newly aggressive America in the Pacific or the European powers in the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’ after the continent was divided up at the Berlin conference of 1885. (from Late Victorian Gothic tales By Roger Luckhurst)

The last of the true great monster in popular culture came from the East. Soon after WW2, as tales of Japanese atrocities started coming out and as American atrocities in Vietnam started, Godzilla came out of Japan. But a different pressure head was building up, which gave rise to a new genre – detective fiction.

Euro-Pessimism

Between 1800-1950, Western powers killed (directly or otherwise) more than 50 million people in America (the Native Americans), Africa (the Native Africans), Asia (Indians, Chinese, Arabs). This led to a situation that every other person in the West had participated in murder or massacre – unlike the few Conquistadors. Western ambiguity towards Soviet Russia on one side, Hitler on the other was itself a concern. To that add, Gandhiji’s resolute opposition to colonialism and you have a inflammable moral situation.

The deluge of blood and murder caused moral anxiety and was a matter of ethical dilemma amongst common folks. The pressure valve for this was popular fiction. Identifying murderers became a form of proxy, vicarious entertainment for ordinary folks. Enter the super detectives, who pick out the murderer from a room full of ordinary people. Enter detectives like Auguste Dupin, of ‘The Purloined Letter‘ fame, who “investigates an apparently motiveless and unsolvable double murder in the Rue Morgue.”

Murder in Popular Image

The racist imagery in Tintin.

The 'racist' imagery in Tintin.

A trend started by Edgar Allan Poe, whose first detective novel, Murders In Rue Morgue (1841) soon became an avalanche. Writers like Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple solving murders happening by the second), Georges Simenon (and his Inspector Maigret investigating brutal crimes), Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn), GK Chesterton (Father Brown), Raymond Chandler (Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe) dealt with murder. Alfred Hitchcock made horror thrillers in similar themes.

In 1887, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock series made its debut. Many of Conan Doyle’s characters came from the colonies. Many victims lived in isolated communities. Past (mis)deeds caught up. Crime, murder and malevolence hung in the air like thick smoke. Some of the stories addressed the colour prejudice. The status of England as a super-power was apparent. The intrigue and bloodshed in the India was palpable in stories like the The Sign of Four at the Pondicherry Lodge.

Tintin in Congo

Tintin in Congo

Agatha Christie’s book, filmed as Ten Little Indians, based on the book, initially released (the book) in Britain as Ten Little Niggers (later renamed as Then There None) gives the game away. Agatha Christie probably unconsciously verbalized the White desire to ensure that there should be none of the Red Indians left to tell the tale. The overt racism in Herge’s ‘Tintin in Congo’ made the world sit-up and note the pervasiveness of racism in detective fiction.

Media and academia

Jerome Delamater, Ruth Prigozy, in an essay compilation, ‘Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction’, observe that Jane Marple, along with Hercule “Poirot becomes an equal opportunity detective who really believes that anyone might commit murder”. Dismissing the jaundiced view of human nature,” the writers of this book, while commenting about the detective fiction genre, do not mention slavery at all – and mention colonialism and racism once each.

One writer, Franco Moretti did half the job in book Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms By Franco Moretti. He writes,

“The perfect crime – the nightmare of detective fiction – is the feature-less, deindividualized crime that anyone could have committed because at this point everyone is the same.” He further writes,“Yet, if we turn to Agatha Christie, the situation is reversed.Her hundred-odd books have only one message: the criminal can be anyone …”

Detective FictionIn his entire book he does not use the words like slavery, racism, genocide, bigotry even once. The 19th century, which was based on Western bigotry, White racism, African slavery, and assorted genocides is unrecognised in Moretti’s books.

Running or hiding? Or it a case of feeling squeamish? Perhaps, a case of queasy stomach, Franco?

Another book, The Detective as Historian: History and Art in Historical Crime Fiction, by Ray Broadus Browne, Lawrence A. Kreiser does a better job. This book examines, the detective fiction genre, with some references to slavery and child prostitution.

How was this explained away

As the monsters increased, both in real life and literature, rationalizations were required. A person no less than Immanuel Kant, was pressed into service to deconstruct the ‘monster’, re-invent it and give it a positive spin.

The monster taken up by Kant in an aesthetic sense to refer to those things that exceed representation considers that the monstrous describes an entity whose life force is greater than the matter in which in which it is contained. Thus rather than something that malfunctions during the course of its production, monstrosity is associated during romanticism with “over-exuberant living matter” that extends itself beyond its natural borders in order to affect a much wider sphere. ((from The subject in question By C. Christopher Soufas).

In the twentieth century, Kant’s hypothesis finds an echo when Lord Randolph William Churchill, the ‘Bulldog’ declared

I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place. (from Minorities, peoples, and self-determination By Nazila Ghanea-Hercock, Nazila Ghanea, Alexandra Xanthaki, Patrick Thornberry)

In another instance, Churchill wrote how superior’ Arabs, imposed on the ‘inferior’ negroes.

The stronger race imposed its customs and language on the negroes. The vigour of their blood sensibly altered the facial appearance … (from The River War By Winston Churchill).

The Mystery of the Dying Detective

After de-colonisation, as mass murder went underground, the detective-murder mystery books genre faded. This category was replaced by a new theme – the axis of Corporation-Government-International Conspiracy.

The new category of popular fiction are represented by Ian Fleming, Arthur Hailey, Frederick Forsyth, Irving Wallace, Robert Ludlum, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, et al. More and more contrived, each conspiracy theory writer has been ‘inspired’ by real life incidents.

While Ludlum’s international-conspiracy-plot-CIA-FBI-KGB series have worn thin, the spookiness of Le Carre’s Absolute Friends and Constant Gardner still work as novels representing the West.

Western Twins – Anxiety and Paranoia

To develop this understanding further, there are two classes of films that I wish to draw attention to.

Malignant Nature

Jaws (the shark that eats humans), Jurassic Park (mad scientists, conspiring technicians let loose man eating dinos) Gremlins and Poltergiest (things that go bump in the night). This paranoid fear of nature (and natural laws) seems to be a result of the subterranean knowledge of the way in which ecological damage and pollution is happening. These films produced /directed by Steven Spielberg (who is incomparable because as Time Magazine says, “No one else has put together a more popular body of work”)

Illegal AliensVindictive Humans

The other is the thinly disguised hate and prejudice films against the poor and the victimised. ‘Aliens’ needs just one small change for the films idea to become clear. Instead of LV-426, Nostromo the space ship, receives a distress call from some country in South America or Africa (or India, if you prefer). The meaning is clear when you see the movie while conscious of the fact that alien is is the word the US Government uses for people from other countries.

As for the Indian churails

Coming to India, a writer notes how

Francesca Orsini identifies the detective  novel as one of the genres that ‘was brought into India ‘ready-made’ without the intellectual and historical substratus that had generated it in Europe’ This total lack of any indigenous roots, one could argue, makes detective  fiction a colonial imposition, and its adoption by Indian writers, clearly a case of copy-cat reproduction wherein ‘black-pens’ write ‘white-texts’ that have no identity of their own. (from Postcolonial postmortems – crime fiction from a transcultural perspective By Christine Matzke, Susanne Muehleisen, page 88).

How very true!

Ms.Christine and Susanne, you have hit the nail right in the centre of head! Your aim is truer than you imagine. Whatta shot! Though I dont know if you have hit the nail deep enough – deep into the heart of the darkness, which gave rise to these genres of Western ‘literature’.

The Indian churail (or pisach or djinni) faces similar problems as the Scandinavian myling or the Er Gui of China: they don’t translate well outside of their culture.

India may have had local incidents, where an oppressive zamindar may have created a market for horror stories and monsters – but without genocide, slavery and massacres to fall back on, popular imagination simply does not have the fodder to create ghouls and monsters.

And that is reason for Indian churails being rare – not lack of literary ability in Indians.

Military success

Zizka ranks with the great military innovators of all time. Zizka’s army was made up of untrained peasants and burghers (townspeople). He did not have the time or resources to train these fighters in armament and tactics of the time. Instead they used weapons like iron-tipped pikes and flails, armored farm wagons, mounted with small, howitzer type cannons.

His armored wagons, led by the Taborites, in offensive movements, broke through the enemy lines, firing as they rolled, cutting superior forces into pieces. For defense, the wagons were arranged into a tight, impregnable barrier surrounding the foot soldiers – the Wagenburg (the wagon fort), as they came to be known. The wagons also served to transport his men. Zizka thus fully initiated modern tank warfare. Zizka’s experience under various commanders was useful. At the battle of Tannenberg (1410), Zizka fought on the Polish side , in which the famed German Teutonic Knights were defeated.

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