Sunday, 30 June 2013
Saturday, 29 June 2013
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Role of Buddhist Monks and Lay People in the propagation of Buddhism
S.R.Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd)
Buddhism today is the fourth largest religion in the world. It has been able to give solace and peace to all the human beings. The message of Karuna, Peace and Universal Coexistence has become very relevant in today’s world, which is suffering from many evils. Because of its universal message, Buddhism is becoming a global religion. The present world riven with violence and strife needs Buddhism more than before.
Lord Buddha had founded Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sanga ( Buddhist Monks Order) to preach his Dhamma (Religion) which he founded and bade them to take the massage to distant lands for the good of many and for the happiness of many. “Go ye, O Bhikkhus and wander forth for the gain of many, for the welfare of many, in compassion for the world for the gain, for the welfare of gods and men. Proclaim, O Bhikkhus the doctrine glorious; preach ye a life of holiness, perfect and pure.”
This noble work was carried out by Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis after the “Parinirvan” for about three centuries unaided by any king or queen until Ashoka, the great. He sent trained Bhikkkhus with medicine and herbs to relieve the suffering of the ailing human beings and animals. They traveled to far off places to spread the message of Buddha.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in his scholarly essay titled” Buddha and the future of His religion” has said that Buddha created a separate Order (Sangha) of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis to set up a society which would live up to the Buddhist ideals embedded in the principles of Buddhism and serve as a model to the lay men. Buddha also knew that it was not possible for a common man to realize the Buddhist ideals. But he also wanted that these should be placed before the common man and a society of men who were bound to practice his ideals. That is why he created the Bhikkhu Sangha and bound it down by the rules of Vinay. But there were other purposes which he had in mind. One such purpose was to create a body of intellectuals to give the layman true and impartial guidance. That is the reason why he prohibited the Bhikkhus from owning a property because ownership of property is one of the greatest obstacles in free thinking and free application of free thought.
Again in the introduction to his treatise titled “Buddha and His Dhamma” Dr. Ambedkar while defining the role of a Bhikkhu in society has opined that “if the Bhikkhu is only a perfect man he is of no use to the propagation of Buddhism because though a perfect man he is a selfish man. If on the other hand, he is a social servant, he may prove be the hope of Buddhism. Actually Dr. Ambedkar expected the Bhikkhu to be quite akin to a Christian Missionary who worked like a friend, philosopher and guide to the laity.
In the today’s western modern world, Buddhism has been labeled as Engaged Buddhism which has been defined as Buddhism which is engaged (as opposed to renunciation) in various social, political, economic, etc. institutions, structures and systems in society. Such engagement can take different forms (for example, voting, lobbying, peaceful protest, civil disobedience, and so forth), but it is always aimed at actually challenging and changing those institutions etc that are perceived as perpetuating suffering through various forms of oppression, injustice and the lie. Thus the Bhikkhus have to adopt a new role as Engaged Buddhists who while propagating Buddhism are socially engaged also.
Now let us have a look at the role of the lay persons (Upaskas and Upasikas) in the propagation of Buddhism. As real practitioners of Dhamma, the lay persons are the practical ground of Buddhism. Apart from going to Trisarna or Three Refuges and formal acceptance of Panchsheel or five moral precepts, it is also the responsibility of the laity to provide for the welfare of the monastic community through offerings of clothing, food and the like.
Upasakas and Upaskins by becoming Good Buddhists can become good propagators of Dhamma by becoming role models for others. Sh. Bhagwan Das in his famous write up on “How to become a Good Buddhist?” has described a good Buddhist as the one:” who is striving to attain a higher standard of culture, is truthful, honest, upright, courageous, compassionate and tolerant. He must have a very high standard of morality. He must try to elevate himself as well as those around him. No man can be truly great in isolation. Buddhism is actually opposed to individualism. A Good Buddhist cannot be selfish. He cannot be dogmatic. He is a rational person with compassion and loving kindness for all.” In this way Upaskas and Upasikas can serve as propagators for Dhamma through personal examples of being Good Buddhists.
Apart form the above Dr. Ambedkar in his memorandum submitted to Buddhist Sasna Council of Burma on “Buddhist Movement in India : A Blue Print” has contemplated the appointment of a number of preachers who could go about and preach Buddhism and see how they are following Buddha’s Dhamma. The lay preachers must be paid and secondly they may be married persons. In the beginning they may be part time workers. He further emphasized the introduction of congregational worship in the Viharas on every Sunday followed by a sermon. Dr.Ambedkar further proposed to build temples and Viharas, establishment of schools and colleges and the establishment of seminaries for training of Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis and lay preachers in which the lay persons have a very important role to play.
As discussed earlier in the case of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, the lay persons have also to become Engaged Buddhists just like Buddhists in the west who consider Buddhism as a part of personal cultural equipment and value it as a system of ideas an d orientation and this is an important fact in any discussion of Buddhist activism. Buddhism should be actually made a tool of social and political liberation. This task can be jointly performed by socially Engaged Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis and lay Buddhists. The movements like “Liberation of Mahabodhi Temple” has been rightly labeled by Taran N Doyle as “Socially Engaged Buddhism, Dalit Style.” Thus it transpires that the Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis and lay Buddhists have to play a role in the propagation of Buddhism. to make India and the world at large a Buddhist Heaven as contemplated by Dr. Ambedkar, a great revivalist of Buddhism in the modern world.
1.”Buddha and His Dhamma” Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, Siddharth Publication,Bombay, 1957.
2. “Engaged Buddhism in the West” edited by Christopher S Queen, Boston Wisdom Publication, 2000
3.”Bheem Patrika” Bhagwan Das, Bheem Patrika Pulication Jullunder, Punjab, December, 1973 and February,1974 isues
4. “Revival of Buddhism in India and the role of Dr. Baba Saheb B.R.Ambedkar” Bhagwan Das, dalit Today Prakashan, Lucknow, U.P.India., 1998
5” Journal of Buddhist Ethics” www.jbegold.ac.uk, 2000 issue
6.” Buddhism in the Modern World” edited by Steven Heine and Charles S Prebish, Oxford University Press
8. “A to Z of Buddhism” Charles s Prebish, Vision Books Pvt. India, New Delhi, India, 2001
Friday, 21 June 2013
Is Intelligence Burea A Holy Cow?
-S.R.Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd)
Intelligence Bureau (IB) is very much in the news these days. The context is the involvement of Mr. Rajinder Kumar, its Special Director, in Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case of Gujarat. At present Central Bureau of Investigation CBI is investigating this case and have found sufficient evidence about the involvement of Rajinder Kumar in this conspiracy. According to the available evidence Rajinder Kumar has been found to be responsible for giving a false input to Gujrat police that Ishrat Jahan along with Javed Sheikh alias Parnesh Pillai and two alleged Pakistani nationals were coming to Gujrat to kill Narender Modi, Chief Munster of Gujarat. Not only resting with it he has been found to be involved in hatching a conspiracy to kill them and he is also alleged to have supplied one AK-47 rifle which has been shown as a recovery from the so called terrorists. He also visited the spot of encounter immediacy after its execution by Gujrat police officers.
Armed with this evidence CBI had asked Rajinder Kumar to appear before the investigation team to answer the questions relating to his role in this conspiracy. He avoided it for a long time and appeared before it only when he was threatened with his arrest. In the meantime IB tried its level best to ward off his interrogation by CBI. They put forth the plea that his role was limited to giving the intelligence input only and he did not motivate Gujrat police to kill the alleged terrorists who are said to be members of Laskar-E-Toeba , a Pakistan based terrorist organisation. Director IB also claimed that if Rajinder Kumar is arrested or questioned it is bound to demoralise the officers of IB who are responsible for monitoring terrorist activities and informing the state police organisations about the developments thereof. IB also played a dirty trick by getting broadcast a so called audio CD, without any authenticity thereof, in which Ishrat Jahan is alleged to be in conversation with Lashkar-E-Toeba operatives. They also put forth the plea that Headley, a terrorist based in America and who masterminded 26/11 attack on Bombay, had also told that Ishrat Jahan was a member of Lashkar-E-Toeba. It is surprising that Central Government which filed an affidavit in Gujrat High Court has not mentioned anything about Ishrat Jahan being a member of Laskar-E-Toeba. It clearly shows that all these are fake pleas to shield the wrong doings of Rajinder Kumar. His involvement in this murder conspiracy has been testified before the court by Mr. Singhal, a Gujrat police officer who was directly involved in this fake encounter. This evidence clearly establishes beyond any doubt the involvement of Rajinder Kumar in the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others.
Now the question arises as to what is the sanctity of being an officer of IB and claiming immunity in the name of national security and the alleged demoralisation of IB officers if they are prosecuted for their criminal acts. Our law of the land lays down the dictum of equality before and the due process of law. In the present case can Rajinder Kumar claim to be above law of the land? I think he cannot. He is involved in an offense and he should be investigated and prosecuted. As regards the bogey of IB officers getting demoralized it is a usual plea taken by all police agencies who when caught on the wrong foot seek protection from their masters. On the contrary I think it will give a boost to the moral of all those officers who work as per law and rules. The wrong doers get a walk over the right doers as they are able to impress their seniors and political bosses with their machinations, fabrications and manipulations. This phenomenon actually demoralizes the right doers. The people also lose faith in police and as at present police have totally lost its credibility. The police can restore it only by working according to the dictates of law in an impartial and just manner.
As regards Ishrat Jahan being a Laskar-E-Toeba operative so far no conclusive evidence has come forward to establish this fact. IB is floating various stories about the same in an effort to forestall the prosecution of its officer. Even if it is taken as true does it give a license to kill Ishrat Jahan? I think the answer can be no only. Actually it is the communal mindset of the IB officers which is responsible for the victimization of Muslim youth. It is alleged that some communally minded IB officers like Rajinder Kumar in collaboration with State Police indulged in witch hunting of promising Muslim youth. They located such youth and targeted them. They gave false and fabricated intelligence reports of such youth being members of terror outfits and got them bumped off or booked in various terror cases. The result is that a large number of innocent youth are languishing in jails in terror cases.
A similar role has been played by IB officers in U.P. also. In three terror cases of Court Bomb blasts in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad in 2007 it is mentioned in the FIRs that as per the report of Intelligence agencies these persons are members of HUJI or INDIAN MUJAHIDIN and they have been booked for the same. In two cases of Faizabad and Lucknow Nimesh Commission found two persons Tariq and Khalid as wrongly arrested. In a letter writ petition filed by Ashish Khetan, a journalist, in Allahabad High Court against arrest and implication of innocent Muslim youths in seven terror cases of U.P. he has demanded reinvestigation of all these cases. In three cases the input was given by IB. Mr. Khetan has produced the interrogation reports of the persons later on arrested by police alleged to belong to Indian Mujahidin who have confessed their involvement in the cases wherein innocent persons alleged to belong to HUJI have been booked but this fact has not been disclosed before the court. Now if the HIgh Court accepts this petition and orders reinvestigation of these cases the whole falsehood of IB and U.P.Police will be exposed.
As we know IB has been playing a very dubious role in our country. Firstly it is an organaisation without any statutory sanction and not answerable to anybody except Home Ministers and Prime MInister. Its duties and responsibilities have not been defined anywhere. Its budget is not discussed in the Parliament. A retired IB officer has filed a writ in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the very existence of such an organization without any statutory sanction. The writ is still pending in the Court. IB has been functioning very pleasurably so far. But now having been cornered in Ishrit Jahan case its officers have started asking for defining of its duties and responsibilities.
The primary work of IB is said to collect intelligence covertly about threat to internal security but it is used by the ruling party, whosoever it may be, to spy over its opponents. Before election it is used to collect intelligence about the election prospects of the ruling party and those of its opponents. Many times IB is used to carry out secret operations for frustrating the election prospectus of opposition parties. IB gets a lot of funds to carry out these operations and enroll paid agents. As such IB serves as a faithful servant of its master and public funds are misused for the benefit of the ruling party.
In Ishrat Jahan case IB is claiming immunity in the name of being a secret organisation and the possibility of its officers getting demoralized if punished for their involvement in criminal activities as in the case of Ishart Jahan and some other cases likely to come up. The law of the land stands for equality before law and due process of law. IB cannot be treated above law. Hence the claim of IB of being a sacred cow cannot be accepted in the eyes of criminal justice system and the culprits have to face the consequences of their illegal deeds. At the same it is necessary that IB must be made to work under a statutory authority and be made accountable to the Parliament.