Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: People

Rajneesh (Osho) created a myth that Abraham Lincoln’s father was a shoe maker

I met someone today who thought that Abe Lincoln’s father was a cobbler. I had never heard about this so I’ve spent a few minutes to check. ALWAYS CHECK!!

I examined the following books:

  • GREAT AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: ABRAHAM LINCOLN by Louise Chipley Slavicek, 2004
  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The Man Behind the Myths by STEPHEN B. OATES
  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN: GREAT AMERICAN HISTORIANS ON OUR SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT by BRIAN LAMB AND SUSAN SWAIN (editors)
  • A. Lincoln: a Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.

Also the Wikipedia entry on Lincoln’s father.

Lincoln’s father was a carpenter and farmer – and reasonably well-to-do.

There is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that he made shoes for a living.

So how did this myth arise? Our very own mythmaker, Osho – created this myth in his book From Bondage to Freedom (probably in the 60s or 70s). Thereafter, perhaps through repetition within India this myth probably spread far enough that I’ve now come to know of it.

==THIS IS FROM OSHO’S MYTH-MAKING BOOK==

I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln. When he became the president of America, his father was a shoemaker. And, naturally, egoistic people were very much offended that a shoemaker’s son should become the president. They were aristocrats, super-rich: who thought that it was their birthright to be in the highest post. A shoemaker’s son?

On the first day, as Abraham Lincoln entered to give his presidential inaugural address, just in the middle one man stood up. He was a very rich aristocrat. He said Ar. Lincoln, you should  not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family And the whole senate laughed; they thought that they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.

But Lincoln – and that type of person – is made of a totally different mettle. Lincoln looked at the man and said, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here.because the way he made shoes, nobody else can. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes, he poured his whole soul in it. I want to ask you, have you any complaint?- because 1 know how to make shoes myself; if you have any complaint I can make another pair of shoes. But I know that nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator, and I am proud of my father!”

The whole senate was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was He had made shoemaking an art, a creativity_ And he was proud because his father did the job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard_ And even though he was the president of America, he was ready to make another pair if there was any com plaint.

The man looked silly. Lincoln insisted. “You have to speak! Why have you become dumb? You wanted to make me a fool, and now look all around: you have made a fool of yourself.”

==END==

A pretty creative man was Osho.

 

WHAT WAS THE REALITY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S FATHER?

Extract from A. Lincoln: a Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.

Within a few years of his father’s death, young Thomas Lincoln was sent out to work. He labored on neighboring farms, earned three shillings a day at a mill, and worked one year for his uncle Isaac on his farm in the Watauga River Valley in Tennessee. Returning to Kentucky, Thomas apprenticed as a carpenter and cabinetmaker in a shop in Elizabethtown.

He served in the local militia, on juries, and became an active member of the Baptist church. Dennis Hanks, a cousin of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, said of Thomas, “He was a man who took the world Easy—did not possess much Envy,” observing that Thomas “never thought that gold was God.” One neighbor remembered him as a “plain unpretending plodding man.” Another called him a “good quiet citizen,” and a third said he told stories with a wry sense of humor, a trait his son would inherit.

One neighbor recalled that Thomas “accumulated considerable property which he always managed to make way with about as fast as he made it.” Like the Lincolns before him, Thomas Lincoln had a hunger for land. At the age of twenty-five, in 1803, he purchased a 238-acre farm on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Salt River, for 118 pounds in cash. At about the same time, he bought two lots in Elizabethtown. Thomas Lincoln’s accumulation of property was such that within a decade he would rank fifteenth of ninety-eight property owners listed in Hardin County in 1814.

Another myth busted!

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee – a much more devious man than I had thought

Till today I had a relatively neutral view about Vajpayee, but after his death a number of disturbing things about him have started surfacing. Twitter has made it possible for people to share a lot of information. Presumably these pieces of information were already known but had somehow been glossed over.

I’ve spent a few minute compiling some of the evidence. More later as time permits.

Exhibit A: Active follower of RSS.

RSS is one of the most problematic organisations of India. It fought AGAINST India’s independence movement and actively supported British rule. Its greatest “contribution” was to promote an ideology on the basis of which Godse shot Gandhi. RSS, which is modelled on fascism, has been involved in perpetrating vast amounts of violence in India. It is also involved in the total distortion of Hinduism. See my booklet on RSS.

But Vajpayee was a fanatic follower and supporter of RSS.

“He himself had no qualms about his association with RSS since childhood” [Source – Times of India].

“In 1942, Vajpayee, officially under 16, was already a dedicated and active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and well versed with politics.” [Source]

In fact, there are a number of speeches of his (including in Parliament) in which he actively promoted RSS. This is a pretty sorry situation. See this.

“Sangh is my soul”

In 1995 he declared in RSS mouthpiece Organiser that “Sangh is my soul”. [Source – Times of India]

Exhibit B: He generalised about Muslims and claimed they are not interested in living in peace

“Completely changing his tone from the anguished one he had adopted in Gujarat last fortnight, Vajpayee, in the presence of members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national executive, lashed out at Muslims. “In Indonesia, Malaysia, wherever Muslims are living they don’t want to live in harmony,” he claimed. “They don’t mix with the society [ghul milkar nahin rehte]. They are not interested in living in peace.” [Source – Sheela Bhatt in Rediff, April 2002]

FROM FULL TEXT

“Wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others, they don’t like to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats. The world has become alert to this danger.”  [Source]

Further:

“On the Gujarat riots, he took the same line as the hardliners within the Sangh Parivar, blaming it all on the massacre at Godhra. “Aag lagayi kisne?” he thundered. “Aag faily kaise? (Who lit the fire? How did it spread?)” [Source – Sheela Bhatt in Rediff, April 2002]

FROM FULL TEXT:

“What happened in Gujarat? If a conspiracy had not been hatched to burn alive the innocent passengers of the Sabarmati Express, then the subsequent tragedy in Gujarat could have been averted. But this did not happen. People were torched alive. Who were those culprits? The government is investigating into this. Intelligence agencies are collecting all the information. But we should not forget how the tragedy of Gujarat started. The subsequent developments were no doubt condemnable, but who lit the fire? How did the fire spread?” [Source]

Exhibit C: He wanted Ram Mandir on BJP’s agenda – BUT ALSO DECEPTIVELY DENIED IT

“he had no hesitation in plainly acknowledging in his “resignation” speech in Lok Sabha in 1996 that BJP omitted the Ram temple from its agenda only as it lacked a majority” [Source – Times of India]

But in this video he applies his deceptive style and denies this!! TOTAL DECEPTION.

Exhibit D: He was almost certainly complicit in the demolition of Babri Masjid

See this article and video.

In 1992, as the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi crisis was reaching a crescendo, Atal Bihari Vajapyee addressed a gathering of kar sevaks at Jhandewalan Park in Aminabad, Lucknow. The BJP leader gave his speech the speech on December 5, 1992 – a day before the Babri Masjid was demolished.

THIS SPEECH IS CLEAR: HE IS DIRECTLY INCITING PEOPLE TO DEMOLISH THE MOSQUE. NO TWO VIEWS ON THIS.

Basically what he is saying (and this video clarifies the context) that Hindus have been allowed by the Supreme Court to offer collective prayers (bhajan). However, there are pointed and sharp-edged stones (alluding to the Babri Masjid) in Ayodhya – so how can anyone sit there? The way out is clear: to level the ground (i.e. to demolish Babri Masjid).

A very devious fellow, indeed. A blot on India. Shame.

There is a somewhat irrelevant issue of what Vajpayee did in 1942. I believe at age 16 he was impressionable and one can’t deduce one way or other from his action (or lack of it) at that age.

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My thoughts on the passing away of Naozer Aga, a great Indian liberal

It is with dismay that I learnt today from Kashmira on Freedom First that Naozer Aga passed away last month in a road accident.

He was a passionate motorcycle rider and died in an accident in harness, on his Ninja ZX Kawasaki at the dashing young age of 76 – a remarkable man who lived his life fully to the very end even in the deplorable road and other conditions of socialist India. He hated socialism with all his might but could not succeed in overthrowing it: instead, socialism took his life through a badly made road. Socialism kills.

The more important reason for my dismay is that in his loss we have lost one more senior liberal and possibly the last Swatantrite standing. He was the last link between our times and the times of Rajaji after the death of SV Raju.

I came in touch with Naozer Aga in October 2014. I don’t have precise records but it was possibly through my blog. Thereafter I added his email ID to a mailing list and he slowly started telling me more about his work on liberalism, and things blossomed till we had not only regular email conversations but also phone conversations.

He could not join Swarna Bharat Party as he was still involved with the largely defunct Swatantra Party but I invited him to attend the SBP national conference in 2016 as observer and we can see from the photos below, that he played a significant role in the conference. He went away from the conference satisfied that SBP was on the right track.

Naozer Aga on the left, above, and second row top left in the photo below.

After the conference he wrote a piece (which was later on transferred to Aas Mohammed to finalise) in Freedom First, Swarna Bharat Party Emulates Swatantra Party. He also wrote about Swarna Bharat Party for a Parsi magazine, Parsiana, here. The image below:

The party appointed him as its national mentor. Naozer’s company contributed funds (a modest amount every month) for nearly a year. He also helped raise 20K from one of his colleagues.

However, as can be expected with a very tiny party, there were differences of opinion in terms of how members should proceed, particularly in relation to criticising Modi in the public domain. While these differences were otherwise being discussed/ resolved – around 18 months ago – Naozer decided to disengage from the party. I thought it was an unnecessary misunderstanding, but some such things can’t be fixed.

But Naozer did not disengage from my work. He remained a subscriber of my blog and kept in touch with me through sporadic emails. One of his last emails (December 2017) is shown below (screenshot). He later also wished me a happy new year earlier this year.

 

There are many things Naozer Aga did for liberalism in India. One of the things he was responsible for, till his very end, was the High Court petition that the Swatantra Party Maharashtra branch had filed against the requirement for political parties in India to swear allegiance to socialism. The petition had been filed by SV Raju, jointly with Naozer. Now, with the passing away of Naozer, the petition has no one left to follow through.

His passing also represents the final end of Swatantra Party.

We, Swarna Bharat Party, bring an even better way forward for India than the Swatantra Party offered, and I hope that those who have read SBP’s manifesto will agree and join SBP to continue the work that people like SV Raju and Naozer were involved in.

Among the many things he did was to present a paper at the Liberal International Hamburg Convention in 1986. He had sent me a scanned copy. I don’t find any copy of it on the internet, so let me take the time to OCR and publish it later today. [Done – see this]

His work and contributions to Indian libearlism should not be forgotten.

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The petty, self-centered Australians – transactional mercanaries totally bereft of any vision for the world

I’ve lived in Australia for over 16 years. Virtually from day one, a small but relevant group of people have known about my ambition to get a liberal party up and running in India. They have been friendly but otherwise totally disinterested.

Today I wrote this on my FB page:

======

I like the British and Europeans since they take a lot of interest in other nations.

Australians are ultra-parochial and self-centred.

Australians will ignore India’s only liberal party, but the British – and even the Germans and the Dutch – will take great interest.

A German has invited me to speak at a major conference in Switzerland, as leader of India’s liberal party. But Australians are totally indifferent to anyone who doesn’t directly give them money. Adani is of greater interest to them than India’s only liberal party.

Sad.

I should have migrated to England.

Australians remind me of India’s businessmen, purely transactional, all for money.

The British thought big. They were shopkeepers but they were also visionaries. Macaulay is a marvel to read. Australia has extremely small minds, in comparison.

Australians are exceptionally narrow-minded and inward focused. A most transactional nation, with no value for any big picture vision. Australia was not founded on any vision of freedom, either. It has nothing to offer the world. A good country to live in, at best.

Australians are consumers of visions produced in Europe and USA. They have never produced any innovative vision on their own.

Limited to their own little patch. Not one world leader has Australia produced – ever!

And it cannot.

==

SUMMARY: TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE, FOLLOW THINKERS FROM EUROPE AND USA. 

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ADDENDUM

It was not Macaulay’s “gap year” that made him so bold in his vision for the world of the future. It was his global humanism which is founded on the concept of liberty.

Australians have an exceptionally poor sense of liberty and also very poor self-confidence. They therefore see themselves as “takers” (of what others like China may do), not “makers” of the new world.

The British set out to make the world in their own image, because they believed in their own image. Australians either have no self-image or don’t know what they stand for.

ADDENDUM

The entire debate in Australia is transactional (i.e. who can fund them, who can provide them security). Zero vision about what the world should look like.

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