Monday, November 10, 2008

Who is Sonal Shah?

I was forwarded an article about one of Obama's Transition Team members, Sonal Shah, and I have to admit that at first I didn't find anything of interest regarding her alleged associations to the Vishwa Hari Parishad (VHP), a group responsible for the massacre of Indian muslims in 2002 and recent violence against Christians.

Sonal Shah's involvement with these groups has yet to be proven, and it appears that her parents are the ones closely involved with the group, but after looking further into her co-founding of Indicorps, other questions emerged for me. Since she is a co-founder of this group, I decided to look at the partners of Indicorps to see what sort of company they keep.

One partner group of interest was the Manav Sadhna...I went to the "Our Projects" section, then clicked "Spiritual." Two projects of interest are entitled, "Spiritual Prayer" and "Love All, Serve All."

The "Spiritual Prayer" project shows a list of prayers, and I found clues to their underlying beliefs from them, which basically promote the idea that all religions are the same. Here are some examples (bold is my emphasis):

od you are the Hindu Gods, Narayan and Purushottama
God you are Buddha, you are you the sun and the fire (Parsis)
God you are from the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths
God you are in the form of Vasudeva and Vishva. You are in the form of happiness
God, you are only one.

This promotes the idea that no one is wrong and all ideas are valid...these conflict with my Christian beliefs...

Speak the truth, practice non-violence of thoughts, speech, actions, do not steal, do not accumulate more than you need
Control all your senses, perform efforts on your own, do not believe in untouchabilty, all are equal
Do not have fear of anything, use things made in your own country, sacrifice tastes, all religions are equal
Practice these principals, bow down with respect and practice these things in your life.

Again, this negates the Christian belief of Jesus and His death for our sins...

Here is the excerpt from "Love All, Serve All" (again, bold emphasis is mine):

Value education at Manav Sadhna emphasizes spiritual development. All daily activities commence with an “All Religions” prayer. Beliefs, symbols and texts of all religions are discussed, so that children develop a respect for all faiths. Children are also encouraged to practice meditation for inner spiritual strength. Manav Sadhna sees every religious festival as an occasion of joy to celebrate with vigor and enthusiasm. Festivals like Christmas, Eid, and Diwali are observed with equal zeal, and are used to encourage children from all castes and all religions to celebrate, in unison. By inculcating children with the concept of communal harmony at an early age, we hope to prevent communal violence in the future generations.

By celebrating all religious observances, it dilutes their importance and significance, in my view. Again, it promotes an "everyone's right, nobody's wrong" philosophy...the corner stone of a socialist society. I think it is reasonable to suspect that Sonal Shah shares these values, and that Barack Obama in turn shares these values. What Barack Obama seems to lack in Christian convictions, he makes up for with aspirations for a socialist society, and it is very possible that Sonal Shah is providing him a road map of a way to unite people under a national cause.

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