Saturday, November 8, 2008

Is obama Black or the Human being First!

Is Barak Obama Black ?

Is Barak Obama Black ?

Ajoy Roy


Although I was not crazy like my many countrymen in Bangladesh and elsewhere over the landside victory of democrat Barak Hosen Obama, I was glad. Because like many Americans I also got tired of Junior Bush's way of handling American politics and policies, which surely affected rest of the world too including Bangladesh. America needed a desperate change from Bush administration - a change that can inspire the nation once again. In the eye of the world community America has become morally, economically even culturally a degraded state. Only a phenomenal change can save them, the Americans rightly realized. They knew that a demoralized republican president like John McCain is not the man who can bring the most needed change. Needless to say the majority of Americans, white, black, yellow or brown found in Obama the man who can bring the change and inspire the nation.


Americans put Obama in the White-house not because he is black, but because of his ideals, thoughts, and programmes of national as well as international interest. But because he is a zealous democrat believing in unity of American people as a whole and strength of the people. Therefore, his call for working together with no matter, republicans or democrats is not just a victorious rhetoric utterance. I welcomed the victory of Obama because he was a democrat candidate with commitment and dedication, not as an individual with whatever excellent qualities he might have. I supported his candidacy and welcomed his victory not because he is a Black American, but because he is liberal and secularist. And I believe most of the electorate colleges voted him not that he is black. Those who think that he overwhelmly won the election as his skin is black are doing injustice to the white Americans, who are the numerically far superior and were key factors of victory of Obama and not the black Americans. And I believe that this year's election is probably finest expression of overcoming colour prejudice by the American people. Many political pundits of Bangladesh apprehended that the white Americans, though manifestedly supported non-white Obama, will vote for McCain when they enter the secluded room. How pathetically these pundits have been proved foolish.


One thing puzzled me why the Bangladeshis in Dhaka got crazy on the election night as if they were participating in their own election. And you have to be in Dhaka to see how these people celebrated the victory of Obama. This is possible only in Dhaka. During world cup football matches people go crazy for Argentina or Brazil, but why ? What a sentimental people are we! In gossip circles, in restaurant, office tables only topic of discussion is the victory of Obama, as if his own person has been put in the white-house. What astonished me that these people took pride that Obama is black, some go further saying that he is a Moslem. In one such discussion table in a local bank, where apart from me a TV compeer was present, when I asked one gentleman with dark black skin rejoicing the victory, 'Are you a Black ?'. He immediately reacted sharply denying that he is black. Such skin sensitive we are. I further asked him 'why are you then supporting a black candidate?' The man fumbled saying, 'no no, I supported him for his political opinions and qualities. And, he is a Muslim.' There you are! Obama did not win the election for his black colour, nor his religious faith. Many Bangladeshis in Dhaka thought that He is a Muslim (sic).


Real challenge of the president elect Obama is lying ahead. Generation of hopes and aspirations is one thing and materialization of those things is another thing. I am a pragmatic man, and I don't see Obama has a magic band. In coming years he will have to compromise on many issues, national & international. As an American he has to keep the idea of most American's believe that 'America is the leader of the world community' alive. He has to take pragmatic steps to ease the tension raised because of newly generated East-West cold war created by the recent Bush policy. He has to revolutionize the Middle East & Iran issues to safeguard the national interest of USA. Above all, he has to take sufficiently effective measures against economic recession resulting from following wrong policy of 'global free market economy' and excessive dependence on 'hyper capitalism' by the American for years after years. In the process, few rich Americans have become richer and wealthier, thereby controlling the entire economy by very few. But common men including toiling masses and smaller capitalists group became poorer and poorer. Even under Obama regime, these very few will try to keep upholding every aspect American supremacy, will try to keep control over the world strategic resources, will try continuing active support to Israelis. Because these are considered as America's national interest. Surely Obama cannot go to take measures that may please me and you beyond country's 'national interest'. Will or can Obama redefine his country's 'national interest' that will enshrine essence of humanism in American thought, policy and administration. I really wonder. But surely he can make an honest effort, a sincere humble beginning.


Why are we calling Obama a Black? Is it because we feel some sort of nearness with him- a kinship feeling with him as we being non white or coloured, if not black? Or is it emanated from our latent hatred towards the white Americans? Are we not then encouraging doctrine of another kind of apartheid ? Many Bengalis in Dhaka see Obama's victory as the conquer of America by the blacks, at least the beginning of it. It is a pity that they do not see Obama's victory as the victory of liberalism, victory of democracy, victory of secularism, and above all victory of great ideals of humanism


Why one should call the President elect a Black because his father was a black Kenyan ? Why do we want to expose his Muslim identity because his father was a Muslim ? I remember in our days we used to cheer Mohammad Ali (previously Cassias Clay) to win every boxing fight not because of excellent skill but because he was a Black Muslim. Is it not an expression of communalism in milder form?


If one claims Obama a black as well as a Muslim because of his father's colour and religion, then one can equally claim him as white and a Christian for his mother's

Colour (white) and religion (Christianity)


I am not sure, how religious Mr. Obama is. But his official religion is 'United Church of Christ', a small school of Protestant Church. I would rather prefer to call him just Obama, a man with noble ideas, at best a non white racially speaking.


In today's USA a new non-white, non-black mixed generation has come up over the years through intermingling between whites, blacks, browns and yellows. If Obama is called black then we sub-continental peoples, the black-brownish emetic Arabs of Middle East, most peoples of Latin America are too to be termed as blacks too ! I will finally raise the question in today's contest who are the blacks sociologically as well as anthropologically, and what right one has to call a person a black ?


Ajoy Roy


November 8, 2008

Prof. Ajoy K. Roy is a scientist and human rights activist writes from Bangladesh. he can be reached at

3 Responses to "Is Barak Obama Black ?"

  1. debs Says:

    Actually in Bangladesh, religion is a big barrier for growth. This particular religion is an obstacle for the overall development of any islamic country. Hope people realize it. I am affraid of thinking of real development of islamic countries. I talked with caucasian Professors and Ph.D. degree holders from USA and Europe, also people from middle east, and Ph.D. degree holders from Israel. On one thing, everyone agreed that majority people of islamic countries belong to a pattern. I asked muslim Ph.D. degree holders about the writings of "QURAN". Then these muslims said that real islam is "GOOD". But no one knows what is real islam. When I asked more, then these muslims said they are not allowed to discuss on islam. When muslims discuss religion, they dont follow any logic. They are blind followers. And they have a false ego. Divine God does not have any special preference for any particular religion. Peace be upon all the people all over the world. Thanks.

  2. Irtishad Ahmad Says:

    A thought-provoking article from Dr. Ajoy Roy.
    In response to Dr. Roy's last question I would like to say that calling someone 'black' because of his/her race is kind of outdated in the USA nowadays. A more socially acceptable and politically correct term is 'African-American.'
    I agree with Dr. Roy, Barrack Obama won the election not because he was an African-American. But we need to recognize that he won despite the fact that he was a non-white. And, there lies the historic significance of his victory.

  3. Mezbah Jowher Says:

    Lovely article with fine logical attributes. I read Prof. Roy's essays in Bangla. He maintains the same if not better standard here too.
    Wishing his good health.
    08 Nov-2008

Bipin Shroff

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Anotomy of R S S -Sangh Parivar.

Anatomy of Sangh Parivar


Ram Puniyani


The arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the context of Malegaon blasts of September 29, 2008 has been an important step in the investigation of bomb blasts which have been blowing the social peace and communal amity. Along with her the arrest of army officers, retired and serving, has unfolded the whole new dimension about investigation of acts of terror. The involvement of Bhonsala Military School has also come under the scanner of investigating agencies.


The Sadhvi has been the member of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, which are the parts of Sangh parivar, before she adorned the saffron robe. Sangh parivar is the word coined by the RSS and its progeny for the whole combine, all of them put together. RSS acts as the central controller and its trained volunteers, swayamsevaks, set up and manage different organizations to pursue the goals of RSS.


Sadhvi's connections with BJP/RSS top leadership came to the surface and the BJP leadership in particular, distanced itself from her, initially. The ideological and political association was attempted to be played down to a mere acquaintance. Disowning the member of its outfits, after they do the crime is nothing new for Sangh organizations. The first such disowning was done when RSS prachark Nathuram Godse murdered the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Since RSS was not keeping records of its members etc. Nathuram claimed in the court that he had nothing to do with RSS, despite the fact that he was a trained RSS volunteer (swayamsevak). In an interview given to 'The Times of India' (25 Jan 98), his brother Gopal Godse, who was also an accomplice in the murder, elaborated the apparent reasons for hiding their affiliation with RSS. "Technically and theoretically he (Nathuram) was a member (of RSS), but he stopped workings for it later. His statement in the court that he had left the RSS was to protect the RSS workers who would be imprisoned following the murder, on the understanding that they (RSS workers) would benefit from his dissociating himself…"


The second major disassociation has been that from Rajendra Pal, alias, Dara Singh who murdered Pastor Graham Steward Stains. His case in the courts was fought by BJP ex Minister Dilip Singh Judeo's brother. Dara Singh himself was an active worker of VHP, Bajrang Dal and other Sangh organizations. All this was denied shamelessly by RSS combine. And now come the one related to the Sadhvi.


After initial quiet on the issue, now the Hindutva parties (BJP, Shiv Sena) are raising the army of lawyers to fight the case for her. Now their plea is that every accused has a right to be defended. So far they have kept quiet when the lawyers of the accused in the acts of terror have been beaten up and many lawyers associations have resolved not to fight the cases of accused in cases of acts of terror.


It was also stated by BJP spokesperson that there is no evidence, proof of involvement of the Sadhvi. The technicalities of this proof in this case apart one will like to know how many times, in how many cases of arrest of 'alleged Muslim terrorists' this question is raised. Their being a Muslim is a good enough proof of being a terrorist in this scheme of things propagated by RSS combine, and even the encounters, fake most of them, are welcomed by a section of these.


Then came the argument that since Sadhvi is a follower of 'cultural nationalism', she can't be a terrorist! Here the partisan attitude of those involved in this politics is clear. What they are referring to by cultural nationalism is Hindu nationalism. As such cultural nationalism has been promoted by the practitioners of politics in the name of religion. Be it Muslim terrorists taught in the US promoted Madrassas in Pakistan in yesteryears or the fundamentalists, doing politics in the name of any religion. In case of Hindutva, this cultural nationalism is the opposite of democratic nationalism, where diversity and equality of all is the foundation of the political ethos.


In case of RSS, cultural nationalism, is based on the some religious texts and the culture of elite Hindus, which gives priority to the Brahminical values, the values of caste and gender based inequality. Democratic nationalism has its focus on respecting and approving all cultures and   religions, while in RSS scheme of cultural nationalism the Brahminical culture is the base of political nationalism. So what label does one put to the acts of Godse and Dara Singh? Both of them were steeped in the Cultural nationalism propagated by RSS combine. The formula that terrorism done by Muslims is anti national and the acts done by the ilk of Sadhvi are nationalism defies all the logic. Any act of violation of the Indian law is anti national, there can't be separate set of laws for those indulging in violence and heinous crimes in the name of religion.


After initial hesitation, it started being said that she was pained by the terrorism committed by Muslims, so this revenge terrorism was meant to protect the Hindu society, and so subtle justification and approval for this variety of crime as being the answer to the terrorism done by Muslims. Some commentators are openly glorifying this and some others are quietly going by this logic. One can say that the Bajrang Dal and Sadhvi's ilk is not into terrorism because of so called Islamic terrorism, it is in this more due to the indoctrination which they have received through RSS indoctrination module. This indoctrination reduces all the political-social issues to the religious ones.


RSS indoctrination is carried out through its Shakha Baudhiks (Branch intellectual sessions) and camps. It says that this is nation belongs to Hindus alone. Here, the Muslims and Christians are foreigners, the secular people are trying to say that this country belongs to all the people, which is wrong. We need to ensure that these threats to Hindu nation are dealt with properly.


RSS type indoctrination has also created the myth that all terrorists are Muslim, deliberately overlooking that terrorists come from all the religious communities, but not due to religious reasons. The reasons behind terrorism are social, economic and political. Be it LTTE, Khalistanis, ULFA, Irish Republican army all have indulged in terrorism, the reasons being anything but religious. In RSS scheme of things all the acts of terror have been projected to be due to Islam and Muslims. So the two modules merge and create the mind set of Sadhvi or Bajrang Dal members who have died while making bombs in Nanded and Kanpur or members of Hindu Jagran Samiti who planted bombs in Thane near Mumbai.


The current involvement of army officers, Bhonsla Military School and the members of different wings of Sangh privar should not be a surprise if one sees the structure and functioning of RSS. RSS founded to oppose democracy and to work for Hindu nation has been working, indoctrinating and creating more and more organizations to fulfill it objective of Hindu nation, which in essence means to restore the feudal hierarchical values of caste and gender in Indian context, to work for status quo around the modern version of Brahminical system. Its trained swayamsevaks, have been on one hand directly entering the political formations, Bhatiay Janata Party, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarhti Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrma, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Munnani, Bajrang Dal, Samajik Samrasta Manch on one hand, creating subordinate organizations amongst women, Rashtra Seviak Samiti, Durga Vahini etc on the other hand. Vast layers of Saints, the likes Asaram Bapu or Sri Sri Ravishakar, or Narnedra Maharaj are ideologically on same wave length as RSS and through their work they lay the ground for the politics of RSS to flourish in different sections of society.


 Its second strategy has been that of infiltration in the different wings of state machinery, police, bureaucracy, Judiciary. On yet another layer its recruits have been working in the field of education and media by the mechanism of infiltration. Its hold and vicious grip on society cannot just be assessed by the electoral strength of BJP. That's why Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, in Staten Island could assert that first he is the swayam sevak of RSS and then the prime minister. That's why in 1977, when the Bharatiya Jansangh, previous avatar of BJP, who were part of Janata Party, were told to severe their links with RSS, they preferred to break the Janata party rather then severing their affiliation with RSS. Its strength comes from the earlier silent, by now violent, infiltration in all spheres of social and political activities. Its wing amongst retired military officers ensures that people like Retired army Officer Upadhyay is probably the part of the Malegaon and other such blasts.


Bhonsala military school has been managed by RSS in more ways than one, so not only it may be a place for hatching the conspiracies for blasts, but also for turning out recruits who can aid and assist this Sangh combine while serving in the army. Surprise is not that Bhonsla military school's connection with this politics is coming to surface, surprise is not that Upadhyay and Purohits' links are coming to surface so late; surprise is that how they hid it so long and so well?


Various components of RSS family sometimes have some differences also, but these are sorted out by the patriarch RSS, through subtle control and ideological mechanisms so that their cohesion with the goal to destroy democracy, through all the means, including using democratic platforms for the same, remains intact. Sadhvi is involved in the blasts or not, army officers or involved in these acts or not should hopefully come out despite their ideological plants scattered all over. What it has brought to our notice is the dangers of this multi headed hydra, which is working in the democratic system with a goal to abolish democracy itself and bring in Hindu nation, another name of fascist formation, abusing the Hindu religion, the religion of Kabir and Gandhi!


In RSS scheme of things the organizational affiliation comes second, the primary thing which they instill is the ideological subordination. Most of those involved in these acts will not have any remorse for what they did, as like the Al Qaeda variety, they are indoctrinated to believe that it is nationalism (Hindu in this case, in Al Qaeda variety it is Islamic nation of course) so what you are doing while instigating anti minority violence or while planting the bombs is for the service of your religion!


While superficially at loggerheads the ideological wavelength of RSS indoctrination is similar to the one used in Pakistani Madrassas for training Al Qaeda. Here the religion is different paradigms are same. To deal with such ideologies leading to acts of terror, what is also needed is to combat their ideological foundations.



Issues in Secular Politics

November 2008 II

For publication/circulation etc.

Bipin Shroff