Friday, August 23, 2013

Top 10 reasons why Falun Gong was banned in China?

By Neeraj Mahajan

Brute force can suppress, human will for a while, but can never silence it altogether; indefinitely…This is the greatest lesson one learns from the Falun Gong episode in China.
Policemen beat a Falun Gong practitioner near Tiananmen Square.
What else do you say when a number of Falun Gong practitioners are still in jail, many of them have been attacked badly beaten or suffered inh
uman torture in China's prison camps, some of them have been thrown in prison several times, but still haven’t given up.

This is the inference drawn from the manner in which the mighty Chinese official machinery has tried every trick in the trade, yet failed to suppress Falun Gong a sort of Chinese yoga propounded by Li Hongzhi based on unorthodox Buddhist and Taoist philosophy – and brand it as an "evil cult".

Falun Gong – or Law of the Wheel –is a sort of ancient Chinese qigong exercises and breathing meditation accompanied by special Falun Gong music. Originally, the Chinese government had no problems with it and rather promoted Falun Gong for the tremendous health benefits and relief for the overburdened Chinese healthcare system. But suddenly when they discovered that Falun Gong practitioners had outnumbered the Communist party workers the relationship snapped. 
Over the last decade the Chinese Government has imprisoned and tortured thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China. More than 3,200 have been killed. Still instead of being wiped out, the spiritual movement is expanding-- finding large number of supporters -Inside China and other parts of the world.

This brings us to the question as to why did the Chinese government perceive a non-violent religious movement like Falun Gong to be such a big threat that it decided to forcibly scare away and indoctrinate its followers from the face of earth.   

Reason # 1: Falun Gong had became popular – a bit too fast

By mid-90s, Falun Gong had spread its wings throughout China. It was virtually like a large army of volunteers even bigger than the Communist Party which had 65 million cadres. This sudden rise in popularity became its biggest enemy. The Communist Party obviously had reasons to feel threatened by Falun Gong’s sudden rise in popularity in different social strata. Workers practised Falun Gong in factory yards before going to work. Professors and students meditated on Tsinghua University lawns while the wives of Party leaders’ and senior cadres had their own little group in central Beijing.

Reason # 2: Party leaders perceived Falun Gong as a threat

It was a paradox for the iron fisted Communist Party, which even till date hasn’t allowed people the freedom to surf the internet or faceBook lest they start thinking independently to start behaving independently – without any control. The CCP does not wish people to think independently, or make their own decisions about what is right or wrong but simply follow the Party diktats. That is why over the past sixty years it has taken great pains to undermine religion and Chinese traditions. In keeping with this philosophy even today the party continues to control the media, courts, education system, and religious institutions

On the other hand Falun Gong had made inroads in every social strata of the society; its practitioners were spread throughout China. Their collective meditation sessions and public gatherings even against the government policies were drawing huge crowds.

All this was seen as a threat by the Communist Party leaders who saw this as a dangerous precedent. The Party reacted violently and unleashed an all out propaganda campaign. A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said that the government had moved to protect people by banning the Falun Gong. "The movement has caused illness, disability and even the death of many innocent people," he said. "The cult violates human rights by seeking to control people's minds."

Reason # 3: Ideological gap differences with the Communist Party  

In spite of China’s shift towards a market-economy in recent decades, the atheist Communist Party still clings to an officially Marxist ideology. Its leaders felt uncomfortable about Falun Gong’s belief in Buddha and God. The theories of ‘truth, kindness and tolerance’ preached by Falun Gong’s founder Li Hongzhi seemed alien to them.

It should be borne in mind that the government in China is run by the Communist Party which is officially atheist, so anything religious is discouraged and not in keeping with Communist ideology.

The Party which had always believed in Leninist tactics of controlled society and controlled media and used deception and violence to divide the people and enforce its will was unable to digest Falun Gong’s discourse of truth and nonviolence.  Falun Gong was thus included in the list of ‘suspect’ faiths by the CCP

Reason # 4: Party leaders were wary of a religious rebellion

The 1978 Constitution of China guarantees "freedom of religion" in Article 36 which states, “No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens because they do, or do not believe in religion. The state protects normal religious activities", and continues with the statement that: "nobody can make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt social order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state." But for the People's Republic of China whose government is officially atheist religion is like feudalism and foreign colonialism. All effort is made to separate of state and church.

All religions in China continue to be persecuted. The government and the Party try to control religious institutions, interfere in their internal affairs and theology. The degree of discrimination however depends upon the number of members and threat perception about the group.

In the past Chinese history has many examples of religious movements like Taiping Rebellion,  Yellow Turban, White Lotus sect and Boxer uprisings that turned violent and became the cause of rise and fall of many a powerful dynasties like Xia Dynasty, Shang Dynasty, Zhou Dynasty, Qin Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, T'ang Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty

Taiping Rebellion the second bloodiest conflict in history between the Imperial Chinese forces and a Hakka prophet named Hong Xiuquan, who claimed to be the brother of Jesus Christ. The rebellion is named after the revolutionaries' proclaimed Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping as "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace", which lasted as long as the revolution.

Yellow Turban Rebellion was led by Zhang Jiao who founded a taoist religious sect in Shandong Province. They considered themselves followers of the "Way of Supreme Peace" (Tai Ping Dao) and venerated the deity Huang-Lao. The sect propagated equal rights for all people and equal distribution of land.

Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion was a religious rebellion instigated by Zhang Lu. The rebellion became an example for the popular rebellions against dynastic governments.

White Lotus Rebellion was a Chinese anti-Manchu uprising during the rule of Qing Dynasty. White Lotus Society, a secret religious society advocated restoration of the native Chinese Ming Dynasty. Though the Manchu finally crushed the rebellion, this paved the way for more rebellions in the 19th century.

With a history like this, the Chinese Communist party had reasons to believe that if the Falun Gong movement was not dealt with firmly it might turn violent turned into an armed rebellion against them. This is notwithstanding the fact that Li Hongzhi has on several occasions made it clear that Falun Gong has no interest in taking over political power in China.

"We are not against the government now, nor will we be in the future. Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies,” Li said in an official communiqué. 

Reason # 5:   Falun Gong is a potential danger to society

The official Chinese explanation at the time of banning the Falun Gong was that it was a menace to society and any rational government would do the same in a similar situation.  

It is a different story though that many Governments could see through the game. The House of Representatives in USA called upon the Government of People’s Republic of China to immediately cease and desist from persecuting the Falun Gong and immediately release its practitioners, “detained solely for their beliefs.” (U.S. House Resolution 605, adopted March 2010)

Reason # 6:  Falun Gong brainwashes people

Chinese government controlled media went to town claiming that Falun Gong was part of an "anti-China international movement and "an effort by hostile Western forces to subvert China”.

The main reason given was that the Falun Gong was brainwashing people and spreading superstition in the name of curing illness. It was alleged that the movement convinced among others -- a mother and her 12-year-old daughter to self-immolate at Tiananmen Square in 2001.  

At a regular press briefing Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu claimed that the movement was causing "illness, disablement and even death of many innocent people." She quickly added, "The Falun Gong cult violates human rights by controlling people's minds”. 

The long term solution that the Chinese establishment was offering was no less interesting, “Only Marxism can save China and only the Chinese Communist Party can lead China to accomplish the great cause of reinvigorating the Chinese nation”.

Reason # 7: Internal power politics within the Communist Party

Just like its growing popularity had won many friends for Falun Gong, it had made many high-level Party officials like Luo Gan Deputy Secretary, a former Minister of Labor and Politburo member – a  hardliner against illegal organizations its enemies. The Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) had become all too powerful with complete control over the Chinese internal security apparatus-- police, courts, domestic intelligence and paramilitary organizations. Its budget was higher than the Chinese military.  But they were unable to take immediate action because of rifts in the Politburo.

By now the 100 million practitioners of Falun Gong were to be found in every strata of the society, but the last straw came when it became obvious that the group had infiltrated at all levels within the Communist Party including even family members of the seven members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo that ruled China.   

The Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) till then an innocuous department of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Committee used this as an opportunity to accumulate power and carry out large-scale surveillance and suppression.  

Curiously not everyone –even within the party supported the hard line. Even the Politburo Standing Committee did not unanimously support the crackdown,  but they were silenced. Jiang Zemin a third generation Communist Party leader wanted to consolidate his support base in the Party. So when Premier Zhu Rongji tried to placate Falun Gong representatives, General Secretary and President Jiang Zemin criticized him for being "too soft" and decided to eliminate the Falun Gong.

Such brutal was the reprisal that lawyers were forbidden to defend Falun Gong cases. They were beaten up while going to interview their clients, prevented from appearing in court, abducted and even beaten up in court. Judges openly claimed they were not allowed to give the judgment—in short it was a mockery of justice.

Reason # 8: The Jiang Zemin Factor

The campaign against Falun Gong was the brainchild of Jiang Zemin. Jiang who fashioned himself as PRC’s most powerful leader on the line of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping was acutely jealous of Falun Gong’s popularity and wanted to use it as an opportunity to consolidate his political base in the party. Though some of the other top Party leaders like then Prime Minister Zhu Rongji were in favor of a conciliatory approach towards Falun Gong but Jiang managed to dub the Falun Gong as an “evil religion” push forward a legislation to ban it and create the draconian and extra-constitutional 6-10 Office to deal with it. It was not mandated or authorized by the People's Congress or the State Council but reports directly to the Communist Party. Even today, thousands of 6-10 Office branches are active throughout China.

Falun Gong was just a decoy, the real and long standing aim of the Chinese Communist Party to eradicate religion, which they believed fuelled rebellion. What many of them could not digest was the fact that Falun Gong, which represented a revival of traditional Chinese religion, was growing popular among large number of Communist Party members, government officials and military. Apart from this was the belief that anything the party doesn’t control is potentially dangerous so the best alternative was to purge the government and the military of such beliefs.

This brings us to the question, why did the campaign not fizzle out after Jiang's retirement? The simple answer is that even after Jiang transferred power to Hu Jintao he managed to place his loyalists in top positions within the Politburo and the Party. Even today tensions are being reported between Jiang and Hu Jintao loyalists over the Falun Gong policy.

Reason # 9: The April 25, 1999 gathering

A popular explanation on what triggered the ban is the April 25, 1999 gathering of 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners in the heart of Beijing.

Many people say that this was a miscalculation. Though the demonstration itself was peaceful and perfectly legal under the Chinese constitution, it is a fact that it had been three years since Falun Gong books had been banned, two years since criticism in state-run media and harassment by state security agents. A smear media campaign against them was nothing new. So there was no immediate provocation for 10,000 people to petition the government?

Instead this provided an excuse to Jiang Zemin to formally lead the anti-Falun Gong campaign.  

Reason # 10: Dangerous for China

Here are a few samples of how the Chinese propaganda machinery tried to spread ill will against Falun Gong and project it as grave danger to China and its people.

Falun Gong founder, Li Hongzhi has spread heretical ideas. The Chinese government can't just sit back and do nothing.
  • Li has hoodwinked Falun Gong practitioners into believing that he has many versions of being able to protect them and he has installed a wheel of law in the belly of his followers in an attempt to control their mind.
  • The cult leader has devised many absurd fabrications that go against science and civilized society and that his Falun Dafa alone offers the right law and super science.
  • Falun Gong cult practitioners would acquire supernatural abilities as long as they persevered in practising Falun Dafa.
  • Li has ordered that Falun Gong practitioners not to take medicine. He preaches that power achieved by practising Falun Gong can kill disease and break away with the karmic chain. would
The real motive behind the crackdown – it was claimed that Falun Gong was a politically motivated organization and threat to China and the Communist party. The idea behind all this was to erode Falun Gong’s credibility as an unregistered, obscure religion, spreading superstition and defrauding people and government organizations.
This was gross misrepresentation of the fact that Falun Gong a system of meditation and four gentle exercises that resemble tai-chi and is part of Chinese culture called “qigong.” The central idea behind it is to channelize energy for one’s well-being though exercises which follow the principles of acupuncture and similar forms of Chinese medicine. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Falun Gong- A banned ancient Chinese spiritual tradition

By Neeraj Mahajan

Falun Gong pronounced "Fah-loon Gong” also called Falun Dafa was an ancient Chinese and Buddhist spiritual tradition comprising mainly of moral teachings, meditation, and exercises to improve health and
energy level. 

The fundamentals of Falun Gong are based on the values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance (Zhen Shan Ren in Chinese). According to Falun Gong these are the essence of the universe and guide our daily life and practice.

Though officially introduced to public only in 1992, Falun Gong was an ancient practice passed down in private from one generation to another for thousands of years. Falun Gong is similar to Asian spiritual tradition of “cultivation,” or “self-cultivation,” also found in Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian practices.

Unlike some of the other faiths, Falun Gong practitioners remain a part of society; marry, raise children and pursue a variety of careers. Though their ultimate goal is transformation of the inner self, this translates outwards into positive changes in the world, insofar as the practitioner becomes a better parent, family member, reliable employee and contentious citizen.
From a humble beginning in 1992 Falun Gong had become one of largest and fastest growing religious practice in China if not the whole world till about a few years ago. An estimated 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong. Falun Gong was fast spreading its wings in clubs, associations, cities, companies, universities and other settings in more than 70 countries around the world.

Falun Gong’s founder, Li Hongzhi, was a five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee including one nomination by the European Parliament. He received the Freedom House’s International Religious Freedom Award.

There was hardly any evil or nefarious about Falun Gong’s activities but it growing popularity made the all powerful Chinese President Jiang Zemin so uncomfortable that he decided to eliminate Falun Gong. For want of any other evidence Jiang Zemin the then head of China’s communist party, branded Falun Gong as an ‘evil cult’ and ordered a ban on its activities in Nov 1999.

All this seems ironic as till as late as 1993, Li was nominated as “Most Welcomed Qigong Master” Award in Beijing by an official body for Advancing the Frontier Science. People’s Public Security News—official newspaper of Chinese Ministry of Public Security, had praised Li’s contributions “in promoting the traditional crime-fighting virtues” as well as “safeguarding social order and security”. Speaking to the U.S. News & World Report, a Chinese National Sports Commission had propounded the benefits of Falun Gong, which could, “save each person 1,000 yuan in annual medical fees. If 100 million people are practicing it, that’s 100 billion yuan saved per year in medical fees.” The official went on to add that “Premier Zhu Rongji is very happy about that”.

It is a different story though that Falun Gong more similar to a religious movement does not possess any cult characteristics – like no leader worship, its practitioners are not required to isolate themselves from the society, there is no interference in their personal lives, or any individual or collective participation in an unlawful or dangerous activity. Falun Gong practitioners are normal, friendly, well educated, talented and hard-working people—who till recently were occupying high-ranking positions in the government or military—but have suddenly been incarcerated or forced to resign and suffer unemployment, destitution or exile because of their religious beliefs.

The official reason at the time of banning Falun Gong was that they were “disturbing social order.”  The Chinese Communist party’s initial justification for the ban was that Falun Gong was anti-government and its teachings were incompatible with Communism. However  later the label “evil cult” was added in October 1999.

This was nothing but a political move by Jiang Zemin, to shift the spotlight away from the unlawful acts of the Party-state and pave the way for more drastic violations of rights.

Curiously even the term “sect” which is usually a splinter group of an existing religion does not apply to Falun Gong. According to  a Chinese government survey more than 70 million people practiced Falun Gong in early 1999, much large number than Communist Party members  

(To Be Concluded)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Inside Story: Who Controls the Media -- Part 1

Where are the ‘missing’ owners?

 By Neeraj Mahajan

“The stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House. You see, I know it and you know it that no American president can be in a position to challenge us even if we do the unthinkable. What can they (Americans) do to us? We control congress, we control the media, we control show biz, and we control everything in America. In America you can criticize God, but you can’t criticize Israel” -- Israeli spokeswoman, Tzipora Menache. She is right. This is the power of lies, deceptions and disinformation. Six Jewish companies control the World’s Media.

Three of the topmost newspapers in America- New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post- that shape America’s political and economic policies are controlled by Jews. Their Jewish owners and staff decide what is to be the news, others copy. New York Times Co. owns 33 newspapers, 12 magazines, 7 radio and TV broadcasting stations; a cable-TV system; 3 book publishing companies and a News Service for transmitting news, features, and photos to 500 newspapers, news agencies, and magazines. Its rival Washington Post is a diversified education and media company which owns Washington post Express, El Tiempo Latino (Spanish newspaper); Newsweek interactive, The Slate Group (Slate, and Foreign Policy); The Gazette, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Cable ONE and Social Code, a full-service Facebook advertising agency.  At the other end of the spectrum Wall Street Journal 
Published by Dow Jones & Company, a division of Murdoch’s News Corp is one of the most widely circulated newspapers in US. It is focused on business and economic news and derives its name from Wall Street –in the heart of New York’s financial district. Besides language editions of WSJ in Asia, Europe and Latin America, the company publishes 8 daily and 15 weekly newspapers in seven U.S. states through Dow Jones Local Media Group, Wall Street Journal Radio—has over 400 radio stations. Some other ventures of the group are Smart Money, Barron's Magazine (weekly overview of world economy) and MarketWatch (online financial news), Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Factiva, Dow Jones Indexes and Daily -- world's first iPad only newspaper.

Disney owns 10 TV and 50 radio stations; Viacom owns 39 television and 184 radio stations, News Corp. owns 26 television stations as well as social website MySpace while General Electric owns 13 television stations. Media monopoly is very much part of the game with Clear Channel owning 1000s of radio stations in US and Google, Yahoo and Microsoft continuing to dominating the Internet. Likewise Comcast and AOL Time Warner have managed to corner 40 percent of cable households. Average American watches 153 hours of television a month – many of them don’t even realize how they are being manipulated and whatever
they see, hear or read is toned, twisted, doctored, packaged and presented by someone in Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, News Corp, CBS or NBC Universal.
Every day atleast 40 odd newspapers in USA individually and collectively act as a pressure group, voicing Jewish concerns. These include: American Israelite, Atlanta Jewish Times, Baltimore Jewish Times, Charlotte Jewish News, Chicago Jewish Star, Detroit Jewish News, Five Towns Jewish Times, Florida Jewish News, Intermountain Jewish News, Jewish Advocate, Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, Jewish Exponent, Jewish Herald-Voice, Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Ledger, Jewish Observer (Los Angeles), Jewish Post of New York, Jewish Standard, Jewish Week and Washington Jewish Week.

Mortimer Zuckerman the Jewish owner of US News & World Report and New York Daily
Mortimer Zuckerman
Editor of U.S. News & World Report, Publisher of New York Daily News.
News -- the sixth-largest paper in USA also heads of the largest pro-Israel lobby in USA. Other Jews who dominate the American media include: President and CEO of CBS Corporation and great-nephew of first Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion-- Leslie Moonves; Warner Bros, Chairman Barry M. Meyer, former BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, Sir Howard Stringer Chairman, Board of Directors of Sony Corporation, Sheryl Sandberg, the Jewish COO of Facebook, founder & former CEO of Sirius satellite radio services in US and Canada Melvin Alan Karmazin, co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Google Sergey Brin, Editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed Benjamin Eli Smith and Caroline H. Little the President and CEO of Newspaper Association of America (NAA) who has been CEO of guardian news and CEO & Publisher, Washington Post. Past NAA Chairman, Richard D. Gottlieb controlled Lee Enterprises which owns 28 newspapers, 100s of publications, internet sites and 16 TV stations across USA. Jewish former president of NBC News, Neal B. Shapiro is President of PBS station thirteen; while Stephen B. Burke calls the shots as CEO of NBC Universal. Oscar-winning producer of Lord of the Rings Harvey Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax Films named after his mother, Miriam and father Max. Likewise media magnate Sumner Murray Redstone (net worth US $4.7 billion) whose name itself is translation of a German-Jewish name, "Rothstein" is the majority owner and Chairman of the Board of the CBS Corporation, Viacom, MTV, Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Brad Siegel is Vice Chairman of GMC –fastest-growing 24-hour entertainment channel in US. Formerly as President of Turner Broadcasting, his magic touch helped transform TNT, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Cartoon Network. Roone Arledge, changed the face of television sports coverage in the last 50 years as President and chairman of ABC News. After being Rupert Murdoch’s powerful No 2 for over 20 years Peter Chernin is now Chairman and CEO of Chernin Group. Some of his other investments in media companies include Pandora, Fullscreen, Tumblr, and Flipboard. Former White House Press Secretary Lawrence Ari Fleischer after being been media advisor to US President Bush, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Tiger Woods, advises several corporations on communications issues while former ABC News president David Westin, is Advisor to NewsRight- a venture of Associated Press and 28 other news organizations. Barry Charles Diller is Chairman of Expedia an Internet-based travel company and InterActiveCorp – a New York based Internet Company with 50 brands across 40 countries including Home Shopping Network and  The man behind the creation of Fox Broadcasting, USA Broadcasting—he went on to be Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Corporation and mentored so many people that they are fondly called "Diller’s Killer" (killer instinct). These include Michael Eisner (Ex Chairman & CEO, Walt Disney – floated Tornante Company), Dawn Steel (first women to head Columbia Pictures Hollywood studio), Jeffrey Katzenberg (CEO, DreamWorks Animation) Garth Ancier (non-executive Board Member of BBC Worldwide), and Don Simpson (film producer who produced Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II) 

There is a saying that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Only 25 % of 1,500 papers in USA are independent in any real sense of the term. Only a handful of the newspapers in USA have a circulation of more than one Lakh copies. Only a few of them have the infrastructure or reporting staff and depend on other papers or news agencies to feed them the news. A few exceptions include Newhouse group which owns 26 dailies and two dozen magazines, including Parade, New Yorker and Conde Nast magazine group. It was started by two Jewish brothers Samuel and Theodore Newhouse. They were both expert in newspaper management, production and used innovative means to develop it as one of the world's largest news organizations. The company is now run by Samuel Newhouse's sons, Samuel I. Jr., who is chairman, and Donald, who is the President as well as Chairman of the board of directors of The Associated Press. Samuel Newhouse and his younger brother Donald also control Advance Publications Inc. - the 46th largest private company in United States which serves as the holding company for the family's 31% stake in cable entertainment company Discovery Communications. Its subsidiary, Advance Internet, provides local news and information to web sites on sports, travel, weather; dining, bar guides and health and fitness. Newhouse Broadcasting, consisting of 12 television broadcasting stations and 87 cable-TV systems, including USA’s largest cable networks.

The New York Times with the tag line “All the News That's Fit to Print" – one of the most powerful opinion leaders in the world makes an interesting study. Often classified as the "newspaper of record," its editorial stand sets the tone of public perception and the world opinion. Though not a hard and fast rule but most news organizations wait for Times to take the lead before publishing something, the an accepted excuse under such circumstances is, “when the Times has not published this, how can we”.  But contrary to public opinion, the paper was never above board in terms of objectivity and bias. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the proposal to write an article got the paper because of its lack of objectivity. In her book “Buried by the Times” journalism professor Laurel Leff describes how the New York Times deliberately downplayed news about genocide of Jews to avoid presenting Jews as victims of Hitler to ensure that the newspaper does not appear to be "too Jewish." The owners NY Times allegedly feel uncomfortable with their Jewish identity and therefore make it a point to do things in the un-Jewish way. Despite pretentions of neutrality, the paper’s double standards and editorial slant has left both the Palestinian and pro-Israeli Jew totally dissatisfied.

Such alleged double standards are difficult to understand when Publisher downwards all top editors on the masthead are Jews. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. is the fifth person from the family to take over as publisher & CEO of the NY Times. Prior to him his maternal grandfather Adolph Ochs, father Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger, Sr and other relatives were publishers of the paper. Right from the days of his father Punch Sulzberger– NY Times was known to prefer Jew staffers and males instead of women and minorities. That’s despites several protests by the female employees who eventually filed a discrimination lawsuit against the New York Times in 1978 but till late 90s, there was not much change in the senior management positions. In the recent years most of topmost editors like Executive Editors Abe Rosenthal, Max Frankel, Turner Catledge; Executive Editors Howell Raines, Joseph Lelyveld, Frankel Bill Keller, Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren and Ethan Bronner Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in Washington David K. Shipler, McCandlish Phillips as well as columnists Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize-winning economist), David Brooks and three times Pulitzer Prize Thomas Friedman, Frank Rich and William Safire are Jews.   
Even at present former DG of BBC tuned President and CEO of Ny Times Mark Thompson-- is a Jew. Two people who helped him settle down in BBC were Paul Agius, the Chairman of Barclays and senior non-executive director of BBC and Sir Michael Lyons the BBC chairman —both of them were Jews. One of the first things he did after take over the reins at BBC was to travel to Israel with his Jewish wife to meet Ariel Sharon. Strangely within days of the meeting, Orla Guerin, BBC TV’s Middle East correspondent was transferred to Africa.  

Dean Baquet, Managing Editor,
New York Times
Today may changes can be seen at the Times. Firstly Managing Editor (News) Dean P. Baquet is first African American journalist to lead the newspaper secondly it’s the golden age for women in Times with a hattrick by Executive editor Jill Ellen Abramson, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan and General Manager (advertising) Denise Warren. Executive editor Jill Ellen Abramson is the first woman Editor in the paper's 160-year history. She ranks #5 on Forbes list of most powerful women.  Likewise Margaret Sullivan – is the first woman and fifth public editor of New York Times.

As Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Washington Post and Newsweek, Donald E. Graham– is following the footstep of his mother Katherine Meyer Graham. He is also a director of Facebook. Starting with Donald, Publisher Katharine Bouchage Weymouth, President Stephen P. Hills, Vice Chairman Boisfeuillet Jones executive editor  Marcus W. Brauchli editorial page editor “Fred" Hiatt, former executive editors Ben Bradlee, Leonard Downie and senior staffer Jennifer  Rubin are Jewish. Pulitzer Prize winning Jewish journalist, Peter Kann is the chairman and CEO of Wall Street Journal-- America’s largest-circulation daily newspaper.  

Jeffrey "Jeff" Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide  and former president and CEO of NBC Universal  
A Jew Jeffrey "Jeff" Zucker is president of CNN Worldwide. Likewise Gerald Levin who brokered the most famous merger between AOL and Time Warner, former ESPN CEO and current CEO of NFL Network Steven Bornstein, HBO CEO Richard Plepler, former MGM and now president of Sundance Global Channel Bruce Tuchman and Chairman of Bloomberg Businessweek Norman Pearlstine are jews.

Moral of the story: Information is power. Anyone who controls information is powerful. 

Cashless society still a long way off

Majority of Indians still prefer good old Cheque or Cash which remain the dominant modes of payment. 

By Neeraj Mahajan

Despite all out efforts by the RBI and financial sector including banks to proactively encourage electronic payment system--- a truly cash-less society remains a distant dream in India.

Majority of Indians still prefer the good old cheque which remains the dominant mode of payment. Though the share of cheque payments has declined to 52 percent and non-cash electronic payments have shown an upward trend -- a safe, easy to use efficient, interoperable, inclusive and compliant payment settlement system in the country – complaint with international standards is a long way off.

Significantly the number of non-cash transactions per citizen in India is very low – just 6 transactions per citizen as compared to other emerging markets.

Cash remains the predominant payment mode in the country. This requires a very high number of banknotes and coins --12.04% of GDP—to be in circulation higher than other emerging markets like Brazil, Mexico and Russia.

An analysis of the payment landscape in India reveals that the benefits of modern electronic payment systems are yet to reach the length and breadth of the country. Modern electronic payment products and services are largely concentrated in tier-I and tier-II cities and accessible to those citizens who already have access to the formal banking channels.

These unbanked and under-banked people constitute a significant portion of the country’s population.

(i) Of the six lakh plus villages in India, there were 1.47 lakhs banking and 34,000 RRBs outlets in villages.

(ii) Those sections of society who do not have any access to electronic payment systems obviously prefer cash dealings. 

(iii) There is a huge potential of migrating government transactions (payments and receipts) to electronic mode. Government subsidies alone constitute more than Rs. 2.93 trillion, these payments itself may translate into 4.13 billion electronic transactions per year.

(iv) Just 0.6 million of the 10 million plus retailers in India have e-payment terminal at the 'point of purchase.'

 (v) As per the report on E-commerce released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the potential of ecommerce was estimated to be Rs.465.20 billion at the end of 2011. Electronic bill presentment and payments of insurance, utility bills, taxes, and school fees also present a huge opportunity.

(vi) The number of non-cash transactions per person stands at just 6 per year. If every citizen undertakes minimum one transaction in month, the total transactions in the country would reach an astronomical 12 billion per annum.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hanuman - HR Manager's best friend

Can you imagine what the ending of Ramayan might have been had Hanuman not realized his hidden powers or capabilities and chanellised them into action or had remembered them just partially? It is also pertinent to note here that Hanuman was quite capable of flying back from Lanka with Sita on his back. If this had happened, then, there would been no fight between Ram and Ravana. Why, Hanuman did not do so is a
separate issue, but what we need to understand here is that this incident teaches us that having the powers to do something is not as important as using it with discretion and applying oneself to the given situation in hand.
More than anything else—the one of the greatest attributes of Hanuman is his simplicity and humility – even after realizing his powers. Which mortal being, that too a monkey cans firstly channellise his hidden potential to the pinnacle of such peak performance and yet maintain his balance and equilibrium.

Once again let’s go back to Hanuman Chalisa, which says, "asta siddhi nava nidhi ke data, asa vara dina janaki mata, rama rasayana tumhare pasa, sada raho raghupati ke dasa”. Meaning: "Mother Sita blessed you with the power to grant the eight spiritual perfections and the nine material prosperities, and Sri Rama gave you the power to heal. You are always His humble servant." Clearly this shows that despite all his super human capabilities Hanuman remains a modest servant of God…

Yet another chopai from Hanuman Chalisa says,” apana teja samharo ape tinon loka hankate kanpe, bhuta pisacha nikata nahin ave, mahavira japa nama unave

nashai roga harai saba pira, japata nirantara hanumata vira, sankata se anumana churavai, mana rama vachana dhyana jo lavai”  This means "Your radiance is supreme, and the three worlds tremble when you move. You are the supreme brahamachari, conserving your energy. By repeating the name of Hanuman, all the ghosts and demons are chased away. All diseases and sufferings are destroyed by the constant repetition of the name of Hanuman. One who meditates on him with his mind, heart and activities is saved from all difficulties." This explains Hanuman’s status as a messiah of the poor, the voice-less and the
down-trodden who look upon him as their saviour for all suffering, diseases and evil spirits. This is one the reasons why many truck drivers in the hills and treacherous terrains atleast carry Hanuman’s picture on the dashboard of the truck or carry a mini-size hanuman chalisa in their pocket. Even today there are numerous small small temples for Hanuman, and his images are usually installed at all temples where avataras of Vishnu are installed. Hanuman temples can be found in many places for the reason that the area and the surroundings are free from 'Rakhshasas' and 'evils'.

Hanuman’s attributes include a boon of physical immortality and the promise to be present wherever Rama’s story is retold. He becomes, in short, an eternally available friend, companion, a cosmic middleman par excellence, an intercessor and champion for all who feel oppressed by the worldly or heavenly powers. This is described Hanuman Chalisa as, “tumhare bhajana rama ko pavai janma janma ke dukha visravai, anta kale raghupati pura jay, jahan janmen hari bhakta kahai. In other words, "By meditating on you, one reaches Lord Rama, and eliminates the sufferings of many lifetimes. After death, your devotee will reach the abode of Rama, where he will always be a devotee of the Lord."

To Quote from the Ramayan. It says,”yatra Yatra Raghunath Kirtanam Tatra Tatra Krita Mastaka anjalim Bashpawari Pari purna lochanam Marutim nammascha rakshas antakam” which means “That wherever the deeds of Sri Rama are sung, At all such places does Hanuman cry tears of devotion and joy, At all such places does his presence remove the fear of demons.”

This brings us to the most adorable attribute of Hamunan—something that makes brings him close to a millions of hearts—his simplicity and approachability. In today’s time any small time government official may have airs but not Hanuman who can be found easily - Just by chanting the name- 'Ram…Ram…'. Conversely, it is also said that that the easiest way to attain Lord Rama is to worship Hanuman as is explained in the verse "Tumharae bhajan Ram ko paavae", meaning, "by singing hymns about You, Rama can be reached".

Hanuman’s greatness stems from the fact that when Lord Rama was crowned king of Ayodhya. Hanuman who had done so much for him, did not stay back and join Lord Rama as a minister or in any way share the fruits of victory but to the Himalayas to continue His worship of the lord. There he is understood to have scripted a version of the Ramayana (Hanumad Ramayana) on Himalayan rocks using his nails. The story goes that Maharishi Valmiki was quite perturbed to see Hanuman’s version of Ramayan, which was any day better than the Rishi’s own version. So in order to pacify the rishi, Hauman flung his own version into the sea. No one knows what came out of Hanumad Ramayan. 

Hanuman is immortal. His glory transcends the barriers of time and history. How else do you explain his presence in the Mahabharata era when there is a huge time-lapse of 1000s of years between the two. There are atleast two incidents in Mahabharata where Hanuman’s presence can be felt. The first incident relates to Bhima attempting to lift the tail of an old monkey but fails to do so. It is said that Hanuman did this on purpose to teach Bhima (his younger brother as Bhima is also sired by Vayu Deva) to be humble to all Gods beings.

Another episode in Mahabharata sees Hanuman perched on the flag of Arjuna's chariot, with Lord Krishna- another Vishnu Avtaar as its charioteer. Besides Arjuna, Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra, Hanuman is thus blessed to hear the Gita sermon directly from Lord Krishna.

From Ramayan (Satyuga) to Mahabharata (dwaparyug) down to the present day (kalyug) --- many-many things have changed…But not Hanuman. Even in jet age more and more people may go to the moon in a rocket, but not without a copy of Hanuman Chalisa in their pocket….