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10/24/2013

Why in India we can see the Nazi cross everywhere?

The immediate answer here (with a bit of pride because many Indians greatly admire the leadership skills of the dictator see here): Hitler copied the Hindu swastika and changed the sense of the branches... 

In fact, it is a little more complicated than that! 

 

india,swastika,sauvastika,hitler,racism,anti-semitism,wandervogel,mein kampf,flag,germany,napoleon,first world war,second world war,free india government,chandra bose,german federal empire,hakenkreuze,indo-european,aryan,jews,symbolThis cross (swastika), is a symbol of good fortune and well-being that has been used for over 3,000 years, in many cultures (it is the wan in China, the fylfot in England, the tetraskelion in Greece, the swastika in India and it is also present in the Amerindian, Japanese cultures etc). It was even sewn on the crests of the 45th American division during the first world war! 

 

And in Germany, Hitler was not even the first one to claim ownership of the symbol... 

In the 1870s, a German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, found pieces of craftsmanship with swastikas on the alleged site of the ancient Troy in North Turkey. And since he had found similar pieces in Germany, he declared the swastika an ancient German symbol. The art of appropriation... 

It was matching well the theories at the time according to which the Aryan people would be originating from Northern Europe and would have colonized almost everywhere, carrying their cross with them... 

 

Let us draw the (unstable) context of the time where there was no real German identity. Indeed, it was only in 1871, after 70 years of conquest and formation of empires of the countries surrounding Germany, with Napoleon at the head of the procession, that the German Federal Empire was formed. In response to these disturbances, the German nationalist sentiment grew, with at its core a common hatred directed against Napoleon, his system and France.  

 

It is in this context of the emergence of a national consciousness that Friedrich Schlegel, a india,swastika,sauvastika,hitler,racism,anti-semitism,wandervogel,mein kampf,flag,germany,napoleon,first world war,second world war,free india government,chandra bose,german federal empire,hakenkreuze,indo-european,aryan,jews,symbolGerman scholar precursor and specialist of Indo-Europeanism, turned to the past and developed an interest in the origins of the Germans. He found links between indo-Iranians and German words: between “arya” (which refers to the Indo-Iranian people in their language) and “Ehre” (which means honor in German). He advanced the theory that in their language, the Indo-Europeans called themselves the “honorable people” (in Sanskrit Arya qualifies a noble man), and “Aryan” became synonymous with “Indo-European”. Through languages (and not ethnicity) were established ancestral links between Indians and Europeans. Schlegel placed the Aryan birthplace in India but gradually, scientists suggested different origins of the Aryan people (Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, then Southwest Europe). Finally it was decided that the Aryans had the physiotype of Northern Europeans. Quite far from history that places the ancient Indo-Iranian, Indo-European peoples in what is today Iran, Afghanistan and India. The Aryan had become the original man, of superior race. And he looked like the Germans! * 

 

To get back to the hakenkreuze, at the beginning of the 20th century it symbolized German nationalism: for example the Wandervogel, a German youth movement around 1895 used it. Then finally Hitler described the new Nazi flag in Mein Kampf: “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic.” 

 

About the orientation of the branches, the two crosses have existed for thousands of years. The one that rotates clockwise (swastika) is a symbol that imitates the daily path of the sun. And the one that rotates the other way (sauvastika) generally represents night and black magic.

 

india,swastika,sauvastika,hitler,racism,anti-semitism,wandervogel,mein kampf,flag,germany,napoleon,first world war,second world war,free india government,chandra bose,german federal empire,hakenkreuze,indo-european,aryan,jews,symbol

 

On top of this, maybe it is only me who has a vision problem but it looks that both the Hindu swastika and the Nazi swastika rotate in the same direction (the difference being a rotation of 45 degrees)... 

 india,swastika,sauvastika,hitler,racism,anti-semitism,wandervogel,mein kampf,flag,germany,napoleon,first world war,second world war,free india government,chandra bose,german federal empire,hakenkreuze,indo-european,aryan,jews,symbol

 

In conclusion, Hitler has never set foot in India. I don’t think he really cared about it either. 

Even if he has supported the “Free India Government” (or Azad Hind) formed by Indian nationalists in exile, with the help of Japan, whose aim was to kick the British out of India. In my opinion Hitler’s only interest here was to piss off his British enemies. He thus allowed Chandra Bose to recruit an army in his camps where at the time tens of thousands of Indians arrested by Rommel in North Africa were kept – 3,000 soldiers lent allegiance in 1942. But Bose had lost faith in the help of the Germany and left to the Japan (alone) and his soldiers ended up in the regular German army before being sent back to India at the end of the war. 

 

* NB: The ideal of Hitler was not a Jew-free world but a world dominated by superior races. Which would naturally happen if he could eliminate inferior races and make the superior races reproduce (this is the theory of eugenics). He got people sterilized or simply got rid of them: the mentally challenged, the disabled, the blinds, and those suffering from genetic diseases. Then various races and peoples were included in the group: the old and sick, the deaf and the dumb, the “monkeys” (non-European breeds), the gypsies, the blacks. While the SS would spread their blessed seeds in special breeding farms where beautiful young blond girls were waiting for them. 

 

Hitler also used the theory of evolution as a weapon against religion which he hated. The moral virtues of religions (compassion, mercy, humility, love) didn’t really sticked well with his idea of a "merciless Aryan warrior."  

 

In this context, it didn't take much to get the Jews under his radar, which he seemed to have a grudge against since his childhood. He also blamed them for the defeat of the First World War and the economic crisis which followed the stock market crash of 1929. He saw socialism, that he abhorred, as a Jewish conspiracy, since many socialist leaders in Germany and elsewhere were Jewish (Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Karl Marx etc.). And it wouldn’t arm his government to get funds to finance his delirium from the wealth of the Jews (see the fortunes of the Rothschild, or Bamberger who co-founded the Deutsche Bank, etc.).   

 

http://www.cauchemardelamecreance.com/pages/2_4.php 

http://www.annefrank.org/fr/education/portail-des-enseignants/questions-des-eleves/Pourquoi-Hitler-haissait-IL-Les-juifs/ 

http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htmhttp://flagstamps.blogspot.in/2013/08/the-ancient-symbol-of-swastika-its-uses_5258.htmlhttp://www.freedomisknowledge.com/Meltingpot/topic3.html 

http://hiphilangsci.NET/2013/07/24/rethinking-the-history-of-the-Aryan-paradigm/ 

http://www.TheFreeDictionary.com/Aryan 

http://www.Napoleon.org/fr/salle_lecture/articles/files/allemagnesnapo_kerautret_nov2004.asp 

http://www.projetaladin.org/Holocaust/FR/40-questions-40-reponses/questions-de-base-sur-la-Shoah.html 

http://News.BBC.co.UK/2/Hi/3684288.stm 

http://www.religionfacts.com/Hinduism/symbols/swastika.htm 

10/22/2013

Why in India there is a caste system?

After 7 years in India, I obviously wrote quite a bit on the subject (see below). I have sometimes been revolted against this system. I have accepted it. Ignored it. Forgotten it.  

It is not so much this system – let us be realistic, every society is divided in social classes – but its rigidity that disturbs so much… Your caste (which you are born in) defines what you will do, eat, marry etc. 

 

I have never really searched where this system comes from…  india,cast,caste,castes,cast system,religion,society,census,lower castes,outcasts,pink sari gang,backward,marc boulet,casteism,hinduism,sattva,rajas,tamas,aryans

According to ancient Hindu books, human society was created from a body: the Brahmins would come from the head, the Kshatriyas from the hand, the Vaishias from the thighs and the Sudras from the feet. In some versions, the original body would be of a primeval giant, Purusha, sacrificed by the gods to create a human society; in others it would be Brahma. 

 

All animated and inanimated things are believed to possess three qualities, in different proportions: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Brahmins would be loaded with Sattva qualities (which include wisdom, intelligence, honesty, goodness and other positive qualities); Kshatriyas and Vaishias with Rajas qualities (passion, pride, valour and other passionate qualities); Sudras with Tamas qualities (dullness, stupidity, lack of creativity and other negative qualities). Hence the different occupations that each people would occupy. And the different diets and different dosages of food they would need to develop their inherent qualities. For instance meat is considered Tamasic food but also Rajasic. 

 

It seems likely to me that these two explanations were developed to support a system with social-historic roots. Which brings us back somewhere around 2000 years BC when the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley started to decline and the Aryans (Indo-European speakers from Central Asia), a group of warrior nomads began to migrate. There is no agreement between scholars whether “the Aryans and Harappans mixed together and became peaceful, or the Aryans came in as a conquering people, became the ruling class, and instituted the caste system to maintain control”. 

 

However, and this is my personal observation, the stratification of the society in India is clearly linked to the skin colour. The fairer the higher in caste, the smarter, the richer, the more beautiful. At least it is perceived like this. And it’s no new thing. One should see how a baby can stare at a white person. And I have met very few Indians who don’t have, somewhere, an inferiority – totally unjustified and difficult to understand for me – complex toward white skinned. And I don’t think it can only be the result of the British colonisation… Just read old Hindu religious stories: “there are many wars between the good Aryans and the dark skinned demons and devils”. 

 

Somehow the organisation of the Aryans in three groups (the Rajayana which became the Kshatrias (warriors), the Brahmins (priests) and the Vaisias (farmers and craftsmen) , which is pretty logical and easy to adopt, spread on to the local society. Later on, “communities who professed non-polluting jobs were integrated in Sudra Varna and communities who professed polluting professions were made outcasts”. 

 

india,cast,caste,castes,cast system,religion,society,census,lower castes,outcasts,pink sari gang,backward,marc boulet,casteism,hinduism,sattva,rajas,tamas,aryans,fair,skin complexion,whiteSo it was convenient for the rules to keep the system that way – as it would be for any ruler in any society. Rules were strict and abided by. Religion (as Hinduism is mostly a canvas of superstitions) was also used to keep everyone on the right track in fear of retaliation. And what makes India different from other countries is that people don’t really rebel against the order of things, and neither does religion decline. They do at times – see how the Untouchable Ambedkar encouraged Hindus to convert to Buddhism in reaction to the caste system, and how such conversions of dalits still happen nowadays, for instance for the 50th anniversary of the leaders’s death* – but fundamentally the society remains the same…  

 

Is the caste system still present and visible in cities? 

 

“Either it doesn’t really prevails in my world (personal and professional), either it is too subtle for me – at the same time I don’t really dig”. 

However read my story of the fat superior Indian giving a lesson to a waiter:  

http://www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2013/04/24/about-casts-and-inequalities-in-india-illustration.html 

(24/04/2013) 

 

Do Indian people rebel against this system? 

 

“In the countryside, the caste system prevails. 

Read the story of Sampat Pal, a shepherdess who, with her Pink Sari gang, rebelled against the injustices inflicted to lower castes by higher castes or to women by men, against corruption and stealing of subsidised food, lands, jobs which the Government reserves for the poorest.” 

http://www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2013/04/18/about-casts-and-inequalities-in-india-the-pink-sari-gang.html 

(20/04/2013) 

 

The issue of castes and quotas in today’s society 

 

“The Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination based on caste. 

That said it does not belong to the Government to abolish such a system because it is related to religion. As a matter of fact, the last census (2011) included a (optional) question about the caste. 

 

Casteism is a pillar of Hinduism: "the fulfilment of one personal duty to the caste - and not a universal duty - and the system of reincarnation in a higher or lower caste as a reward for your good or bad actions are the two fundamental pillars of this religion until the final liberation and paradise.") 

 

To fight this discrimination, the Government has implemented quotas for access to education, civil servant positions, political seats. There even has been an untouchable president (K. R. Narayanan). 

The problem is that today it is all mixed up and ultimately these quotas are based on the social status (caste) of people but not on the merit or the income. And as low and out-castes form a majority, politicians are struggling to change this system...”

www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2013/04/22/about-casts-and-inequalities-in-india-the-big-picture.html 

22/04/2013

 

What about the lower castes and outcastes? And how do Westerners see it? 

 

india,cast,caste,castes,cast system,religion,society,census,lower castes,outcasts,pink sari gang,backward,marc boulet,casteism,hinduism,sattva,rajas,tamas,aryansIn India people referred to other compatriots as “uneducated” all the time. A term a bit shocking to a French. As the word “backward” to refer to a class of people in the lower castes. 

 

“According to the last census (source: http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census) « Intouchables » and the tribes represent 30% of the Hindu population / 24% of the Indian population. And if you add the ‘feet’ (kshudras or lower castes) you get 54% of the population.” 

http://www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2011/04/14/and-you-what-s-your-little-name.html#more 04/05/2011 

 

Marc Boulet wrote “In the skin of an Intouchable” – he basically learned Hindi perfectly, took drugs to get a tan and lived on the street as an Intouchable beggar for months… 

“Westerners completely fall for it. They rightly fight racism and anti-Semitism but they see the caste system with a lot of indulgence and consider that it is part of the Indian cultural heritage, like the Tâj Mahal. They don’t get shocked, outraged, by the caste system; it is far away. And I also think that their benevolence comes from the fact they admire the brahman civilisation and they get disgusted by sweepers and other untouchables, altogether with beggars and lepers for whom they only think of a contemptuous charity. […] I am not scared of words anymore. The caste system is a segregationist system, just as Apartheid in South Africa. As revolting, as condemnable.” 

http://www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2011/05/04/untouchables-again.html 

14/04/2011

 

http://adaniel.tripod.com/origin.htm

http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/india/AryanMig.html

http://www.ambedkar.org/Babasaheb/Why.htm

* http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-untouchables-turn-to-buddhism-in-protest-at-discrimination-by-hindus-419870.html

 

10/20/2013

Why in India it's the jungle on the roads?

india,traffic,driving,highway code,rules,car,bus,public transportation,driving left,permitted,metro,road network,accidents,road,street,cows,goats,rickshawsI drove my four colleagues to the restaurant the other day. One of them appreciated my driving style by passing the following comment: “If a cop stopped you he would immediately give you the Indian nationality!” Understand that, in ten minutes, I had honked enough and went through enough red lights to be called an Indian! 

But then, why do Indians drive so bad? 

 

I stop you immediately, it is not because of women! In 2011, only 11% of the driving licenses belonged to women (1); and most of them don’t even drive...  

 

It's a combination of factors that explains the anarchy that reigns on the roads in India...   

 

There are not enough roads (even if the road network is the second worldwide in terms of kilometres and increases from 4% per year since 1951) (2); and especially they are horrible! And I am not talking about the roads of Madhya Pradesh (where it takes 10 hours to cover 500 kms); Mumbai (the economic capital) asphalt has more holes than the gruyère!  

The number of drivers increases super-fast, a few dozen millions every year. 

And the practice of driving is relatively new: in one generation (20 years) the number of vehicles on the roads has gone up from 5 to 142 million! And yet... barely 1% of Indians own a car. (3) Scary! (except perhaps for the automakers...) 

 

india,traffic,driving,highway code,rules,car,bus,public transportation,driving left,permitted,metro,road network,accidents,road,street,cows,goats,rickshawsMost people use public transport (90% of it being the bus) or auto-rickshaws. But bus drivers are the mentally challenged: they do not stop under any circumstance (not even to load passengers). Mumbai bus drivers even operate manually their turning signal – a steel arrow placed on the front windows. When they operate it. Most the vehicles date back to Methuselah and they often carry 2 to 3 times the number of scheduled passengers. Hence tens of thousands of victims of the public transport in India every year... (4) 

 

To top it off, most Indians got their license in a lucky bag or somethin! Technically, when you apply, they give you a temporary license and to get the final license you have to pass a driving test (driving lessons are not compulsory however). I did a round table and three of my four colleagues have not given the exam... You can buy everything in India! As a result, most Indians seem to ignore the difference between high and low beam headlights and you can get totally blinded when you drive at night in a city (especially in Delhi)...

found an online test to check if you know the driving ; thereregulations are only a dozenindia,traffic,driving,highway code,rules,car,bus,public transportation,driving left,permitted,metro,road network,accidents,road,street,cows,goats,rickshaws simple questions (5). I did it, and then I went on to search for the driving rules in India (6). There are just 30: keep left; drive on the left side when planning to turn left; drive on the right side when planning to turn right; pass to the right (unless the vehicle before you has stopped to turn right); slow down when arriving at an intersection or a crosswalk, when entering a road interjection, if the road entered is a main road designated as such, give way to the vehicles proceeding along the road, and in any other case give way to all traffic approaching to the intersection on his right hand; do not u-turn when it is prohibited; stop for pedestrians; give free passage to ambulances; do no drive a vehicle in a reverse direction into a road designated ‘One Way’; stop at the signal and the police officer who controls traffic. And that’s pretty much it!

Except on it comes to signals! Judge by yourself: "When about to slow down, extend the right arm with the palm downward; when about to stop, raise the right forearm vertically outside, palm to the right; when about to turn to the right, extend the right hand in a horizontal position outside with the palm of the hand turned to the front; when about to turn to the left, extend the right arm and rotate it in an anticlockwise direction; when about to overtake, extend the right hand and arm horizontally outside and bring the arm backward and forward in a semi- circular motion. The signals referred above may be simplified also by mechanical or electrical devices."

To conclude, the most important rule (which is not written) is: look straight and drive! The others will manage to avoid you, no problem...

Let us not forget the hyper-individualistic behaviour of Indians in certain circumstances (apparently inherited from the time of protectionism, rationing and shortages, where the Indians had to fight, literally, to have access to any consumption good (food, radio, clothes etc.). Behaviour you can come across when waiting in a line or… driving! 

 

And above all I would like to highlight that cars are not the only ones who have the right to use the roads... Cows, goats, bullock-carts, tractors, horses also have a right of way.   

 

Mix all that and you get chaos on the roads! And obviously there are a lot of accidents and many more lethal ones that one might imagine given the slow speed of driving... (7)  

india,traffic,driving,highway code,rules,car,bus,public transportation,driving left,permitted,metro,road network,accidents,road,street,cows,goats,rickshaws

 

(1) Source:   http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-08/chennai/31135711_1_women-friendly-licences-motorcycle-manufacturers  

(2) If the India has the second road network in the world with 4.2 million kilometers which grows 4% annually since 1951 (3.4% since 2001), it's still a growth over half the number of cars. Source:   http://www.indiaspend.com/investigations/indias-traffic-n... 

(3) 0.3 million vehicles in 1951, 5.4 million in 1981, 21.4 million in 1991, 55 million in 2001 and 142 million in 2011!  

Sources: http://nctr.USF.edu/JPT/PDF/JPT%208-1%20Singh.PDF http://data.gov.in/dataset/state-wise-total-registered-mo... 

Review of Urban Transportation in India: http://nctr.USF.edu/JPT/PDF/JPT%208-1%20Singh.PDF 

The Indian fleet is almost five times that of France (with 142 million vehicles on Indian roads in 2011 against 31 million in France). Obviously if reported number of inhabitants the France has 4 times more vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants (481 against 118).  

Sources: http://www.statistiques-mondiales.com/ue_voitures.htm; http://www.knowindia.NET/auto.html ;  http://www.linternaute.com/auto/magazine/l-automobile-en-10-CHIFFRES-CLES/31-millions.shtml  

(4) The bus represents 90% of public transportation in India – a trend shared all across the country except in Mumbai where trains carry 58% of the people who use public transport. In Delhi and Chennai less than half the people use public transportation. A trend opposed to Mumbai or Kolkata – which is due to the configuration of the cities (the first ones are less densely populated, more polycentric and geographically spread). The Delhi metro is superb but already crowded (especially at peak hours) and not practical: its star structure requires to always go back to the heart of the city to change lines. Bangalore and Kolkata also have the metro and it is under process in many other cities.  

Sources: http://cistup.IISc.ernet.in/urban%20Mobility%208th%20March%202012/crisis%20Of%20public%20transport%20in%20India.PDF ;  http://economictimes.Indiatimes.com/slideshows/infrastructure/ten-metro-rail-projects-transforming-Indian-cities/Kochi-Metro/slideshow/21478253.CMS   

(5) http://rtoindia.com/startTest.asp 

(6)   http://auto.indiamart.com/user-manual/road-regulation.html 

(7)   http://www.indiansamourai.com/archive/2009/08/18/-.html