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November 2007
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Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many-‘Monolith India’ and the vote bank
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:57 am

Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many


Friday, November 9, 2007

‘Monolith India’ and the vote bank

‘Monolith India’ and the vote bank
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Vote bank politics has come to become an Indian reality and democracy in India has come to be the fine art of balancing different vote banks with very little excep-tion. Some political parties may openly denounce the politics of cultivating vote banks but overtly or covertly they practice it in their own constituencies, for political survival and advancement.

It has been said that democratic pro-cesses would put an end to India’s unique divisions, which were wilfully exploited by the colonial masters to perpetuate their rule. It was reasoned that periodic elections would gradually diminish the divisions based on caste, creed and religion. However, in the process of empowering the masses, democracy has sharpened the diversity by transforming them into vote banks and important ‘variables’ in the political process.

The trend is most prominent in caste categories within the majority Hindu community. Political parties exploit the aspirations of caste groups which differ from one another, or are at least made to think that they differ in significant ways. In fact, many political parties have become syno-nymous with certain caste categories. The Bahujan Samaj party and the Samajwadi party in Uttar Pradesh represent ‘lower’ and intermediary castes as do the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) in Tamil Nadu.

Religion is the other broad category on which hinges the survival of several political parties. The leading party of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is primarily a Hindu party trying to market Hinduism in the cloak of nationalism. Even its secular face is Hindutva. The Akali Dal in Punjab and the Muslim League in Kerala espouse the cause of the Sikhs and Muslims interests at the provincial level.

Language is another category in the diversity among the peoples of India. Various political parties have cultivated linguistic constituencies. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, as well as the Assam Gon Parishad in Assam, all flaunt their linguistic constituencies.

The other category for political mobi-lisation is ethnicity. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in the tribal-dominated Jharkhand and some other political parties in the Northeast and the hills and tribal regions elsewhere have ethnic groups as their vote banks. Provincialism also forms the basis of political divisions with political parties like the Shiv Sena, DMK, AIADMK, Biju Janta Dal, Assam Gon Prashid, Haryana Vikas Party being province-based political parties. Then there are parties which have farmers as their constituency. Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal in Uttar Pradesh and Om Prakash Chautala’s Harayana Vikas Party fall in this category.

The left parties, CPI and CPI (M), are ideology-based political entities and have a committed ideological cadre as their constituency. West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura are the few states where these parties are strong.

Centrifugal forces

Even during the British days there existed the religious, the left, the pro-Raj, the pro-worker, the pro-farmer, and the pro-landed class political parties, among many others, which espoused the cause of these myriad groups thus creating their separate vote banks. The general elections in 1936 and 1946 brought to fore the choices of vote banks for different political parties in India.

The Congress, which had a pivotal role in the freedom struggle, was the natural choice of many Indians for at least the first three general elections after Independence. The Congress vote bank comprised upper caste Hindus, Dalits and Muslims. The party had a smooth run till 1967, when for the first time it lost its majority not in one but in nine states of the country. That year is considered to be a watershed in Indian politics. Since then two sets of political forces emerged in India – one that challen-ged the all-India supremacy of the Congress and the other that tried to break free from the centralised structure of the state.

Drill it in!

In fact, from 1967 onwards there has been a tug-of-war going on in Indian politics. Would political parties with overarching all-India characteristics govern the country or would regional satraps forge linkages to run the affairs of the country? The trajectory that has been emerging of late reveals that all the parties ruling at the centre have had to accommodate parties and groups representing different regional constituencies through coalition arrangements.

The first non-Congress gov-ernment was formed in 1977 - a coalition of several parties led by the Janata Party, an offshoot of popular socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia’s Socialist Party. The hotchpotch coalition had sprung to challenge the supremacy of Indira Gandhi’s Congress. It even included the BJP that emerged out of the Jan Sangh (formed in 1967 to re-present Hindu aspirations). Since 1967, parties have emerged left and right of the centre at the national level, and a flurry of political parties have come up at the regional and provincial level. The Shiv Sena in Maharastra, the Asam Gon Parishad in Assam, the Telugu Desam party in Andhra Pradesh mentioned earlier are some of them.

The other phase of political develop-ment began at the national level with the rise of the BJP since 1984 in the country. The party began cultivating the majority Hindu vote bank by espousing the cause of the Hindus of the country. It attacked the Congress for pampering minorities and cultivated its own constituency on the anti-Muslim platform.

The National Front government led by VP Singh, which drew inspiration from the Janata Party of 1977 and the Socialist Party of 1967, came up in a big way in 1989 by widening the net of the vote bank to other caste categories. Thus the Mandal Commi-ssion report which allowed 27 percent reservation for OBCs in government jobs in that year was another watershed event in Indian politics. As a result of the implementation of the Mandal report, intermediate castes like Yadavs and Kurmis came into the forefront in the Ganga plain. Parties like the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal in Uttar Pradesh, the Rashtriya Janta Dal and the Samata Party in Bihar and the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa are all post-Mandal offspring.

The United Front government led by Deve Gowda in 1996 was yet another attempt by left of centre forces to govern the country. The United Front government had regional and provincial coalition partners such as the TDP and DMK which played the major role in holding power at the centre in New Delhi. The formation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 1998 led by the BJP reinforces the evolution in Indian politics where regional and local political parties are increasing their influence at the national level by forging alliances with national parties to form governments at the centre.

While it is difficult to predict whether national parties will be overtaken by combinations, of provincial parties, all political parties will continue to draw sustenance from diverse categories within the Indian electorate. There is no end in sight to the phenomena of vote bank politics in India. As new groups come forward to demand space in politics, the creation of new vote banks is an accelerating process. There is emerging consciousness among various marginalised groups to get united in the course of political mobilisation.

The result is the emergence of newer political parties to espouse the cause of the differentiated, and often marginalised, of India. The fate of democracy is thus entwined with vote banks. However, in the process of new vote banks being created, it is also true that narrow and parochial agendas are gaining an upper hand even as the broad all-India vote banks lose ground. In the mushrooming of local-regional political parties some would see Indians discovering their political identity, with local and regional considerations gaining ground and it being harder to tie down voters as ‘monolith Indians’? The answers open up a big debate — is India is a nation or a nation of nations. Political developments point to the latter.

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The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-leaving no track {arahant} Sela
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:26 am

The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

leaving no track {arahant}

Not hoarding,
having understood food,
their pasture — emptiness
& freedom without sign:
their trail,
like that of birds through space,
can’t be traced.
Effluents ended,
independent of nutriment,
their pasture — emptiness
& freedom without sign:
their trail,
like that of birds through space,
can’t be traced.


Setting at Savatthi. Then, in the morning, the bhikkhuni Sela dressed… she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day’s abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Sela, desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

By whom has this puppet been created?
Where is the maker of the puppet?
Where has the puppet arisen?
Where does the puppet cease?

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Sela: “Now who is this…? This is Mara the Evil One… desiring to make me fall away from concentration.”

Then the bhikkhuni Sela, having understood, “This is Mara the Evil One,” replied to him in verses:

This puppet is not made by itself,
Nor is this misery made by another.
It has come to be dependent on a cause,
When the cause dissolves then it will cease.
As when a seed is sown in a field
It grows depending on a pair of factors:
It requires both the soil’s nutrients
And a steady supply of moisture.
Just so the aggregates and elements,
And these six bases of sensory contact,
Have come to be dependent on a cause;
When the cause dissolves they will cease.

Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, “The bhikkhuni Sela knows me,” sad and disappointed, disappeared right there.

Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-Disenchantment
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:08 am

Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata


When we come to see impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self in ourselves, in this body and mind, in this world, then we’ll find that a kind of boredom will arise. This isn’t the everyday boredom that makes us feel like not wanting to know or see or say anything, or not wanting to have anything to do with anybody at all. That isn’t real boredom, it still has attachment, we still don’t understand. We still have feelings of envy and resentment and are still clinging to the things which cause us suffering.

The kind of boredom which the Buddha talked about is a condition without anger or lust. It arises out of seeing everything as impermanent. When pleasant feeling arises in our mind, we see that it isn’t lasting. This is the kind of boredom we have. We call it Nibbida or disenchantment. That means that it’s far from sensual craving and passion. We see nothing as being worthy of desire. Whether or not things accord with our likes and dislikes, it doesn’t matter to us, we don’t identify with them. We don’t give them any special value.

Practicing like this we don’t give things reason to cause us difficulty. We have seen suffering and have seen that identifying with moods can not give rise to any real happiness. It causes clinging to happiness and unhappiness and clinging to liking and disliking, which is in itself the cause of suffering. When we are still clinging like this we don’t have an even-minded attitude towards things. Some states of mind we like and others we dislike. If we are still liking and disliking, then both happiness and unhappiness are suffering. It’s this kind of attachment which causes suffering. The Buddha taught that whatever causes us suffering is in itself unsatisfactory.

in the original size.


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Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata -Refuge-An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:40 am

Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata


An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
They go to many a refuge,
to mountains, forests,
parks, trees, and shrines:
people threatened with danger.
That’s not the secure refuge,
that’s not the highest refuge,
that’s not the refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering and stress.
But when, having gone for refuge
to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha,
you see with right discernment
the four Noble Truths —
the cause of stress,
the transcending of stress,
and the Noble Eightfold Path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
That’s the secure refuge,
that, the highest refuge,
that is the refuge,
having gone to which,
you gain release
from all suffering and stress.

— Dhammapada, 188-192

Offering At Sambodhi

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