Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Sheikh Abdullah
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/1/19



Far from being bowed from her time in jail, over the next four years Freda increased her efforts to bring freedom to the Indian subcontinent. She continued giving speeches in towns and villages, championing the exploited, fighting injustice, and working around the clock to earn a living to support the family. Increasingly her attention was drawn to Kashmir, the exquisitely beautiful but politically volatile state in northwest India famed for its snow-capped peaks, verdant pastures, and Dal Lake with its charming houseboats.

The lure was their close friend Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, president of Kashmir’s first political party, the National Muslim Conference, which he founded in 1932. In June 1939 he changed the name to the more secular sounding All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. The Bedis and Sheikh Abdullah had much in common. Both believed in equal rights for all sections of society regardless of caste, creed, or religion. Both were adamant about overthrowing imperialism, which in Sheikh Abdullah’s case took the form of the Raj-appointed maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh. Self-rule was the mutual goal.

Sheikh Abdullah was a towering figure. He wore long regal robes and called himself “the lion of Kashmir.” Like BPL, he was charismatic, forceful, and extremely determined. He was also a hunted man. The maharaja was after him, and so were the law enforcers of the British Raj. When he was banned from entering Kashmir, he rushed for sanctuary with Freda and BPL in The Huts. ….

Freda, however, went several steps further. In order to get Sheikh Abdullah’s messages to his many thousands of followers, she elected to carry them herself, disguised in a burka. Inevitably she was discovered and given forty-eight hours to get out of Kashmir. Freda announced, “I’m going to do nothing of the kind,” and surreptitiously continued carrying messages.

During these years, fighting for Kashmir, Freda’s tenacity and courage became legendary. When the police discovered her staying in a hotel owned by a Sheikh Abdullah sympathizer in Srinagar, they stormed it, forcing her eviction. She found refuge with a houseboat owner on Dal Lake, who hid her in the kitchen. The police were hot on her heels; discovering her hiding place, they roughed up the houseboat owner and his family. Freda returned from her mission to find them in tears and beating their chests. Without a moment’s hesitation she sprang into action.

“Mummy immediately got into a rowboat that took her to shore, where she climed into a tonga (horse-drawn carriage) to look for the policemen,” reports Ranga. “She found them at a tea shop. After asking them why they had molested the family, she took off her shoe and began to hit them. They ran for their lives, nonplussed that a British woman was beating them.

“Mummy was quite expecting to be arrested again, and was ready for it, but the maharaja thought better of it. He didn’t want the scandal of incarcerating her with its attendant publicity of what she had done – it made the police look too silly.”

On another occasion it was Freda herself who was hurt – and this time she had taken Ranga with her. They were in Srinagar for a riverboat procession down the Jhelum River to celebrate the fact that Sheikh Abdullah was willing to embrace all faiths in his case. As the boats, with Freda, Ranga, BPL, and all of Sheikh Abdulla’s top guns, sailed down the river, they saw the maharaja’s people gathering on the banks to protest.

“As the boats passed under the bridges, they hurled stones down on us, including mummy, who lay on top of me to protect me. Many people got injured, but I was OK. As for Mummy, she just carried on. She was utterly fearless,” said Ranga…..

During her treks in the Kashmiri hills, Freda met the renowned British writer Rumer Godden (author of Black Narcissus and The Greengage Summer, among other highly esteemed literary works) … The two women became close friends…..

Another illustrious figure who came into Freda’s life at this time was Jawaharlal Nehru, who was to become India’s first prime minister. He had met Freda in the early thirties at a Congress convention and admired her greatly, especially after her imprisonment. In addition to Indian self-rule, he too was keenly interested in socialism and women’s emancipation. Nehru passionately loved Kashmir, his ancestral home, and took every opportunity to go there. At such times Freda would often drop in, and she became close friends with his daughter, Indira, who was just six years younger, and also Oxford educated. The relationship was sealed when Freda and BPL were invited to Indira’s wedding to Feroze Gandhi (no relation), in 1942.

Ranga was at the celebration. “I remember it was held in a large house – and Mummy was the only British face there. Afterward we went to have breakfast with Nehru. We all stayed friends for years. Indira’s sons, Rajiv and Sanjay, and became our playmates. Many years later Indira attended my wedding to Umi.”

For all her political work, her teaching, her family, her marriage, and her writing, it would be wrong to think that Freda had forsaken her spiritual quest. Far from it. If anything, living in India had only heightened her deep yearning for spiritual nourishment and education. She did yoga (even in jail) and read as much spiritual literature as she could, including the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Bible, searching for the eternal verities that lay beyond dogma. “I am going through the Old Testament again, leaving out the Rules and the begats. The Gita says that all paths lead to Me. That I believe,” she said…..

An interesting side effect of Freda’s daily meditation practices, she said, was an increase in her clairvoyance: “I got many internal revelations, even visions,” she said later in a radio interview in New York. She discovered she could receive messages via dreams, for example. On one occasion Freda was able to reassure an old college friend living in Malaysia during the outbreak of the war that her missing husband was not dead, as she feared, because she had dreamed of her, her two children, and her husband escaping from the Japanese. Sure enough, four years later the husband emerged from the jungle where he had been hiding and was reunited with his family.

By 1943, the war was beginning to turn against Germany, and two years later, in May 1945, peace was finally declared, ending the global onslaught of terror, destruction, and death…. Now, she felt, her job was nearing completion and it would be safe for her to have another child. She would have the time and energy to devote to a new baby, unlike with Tilak. Freda promptly became pregnant.

She had another prophetic dream in which she saw a Tibetan figure holding a boy in front of him. He said to her, “Take care of him.” However, at this point in her life, she knew no Tibetans – they had yet to pour out of their homeland into exile. The dream was a harbinger of things to come.

On January 16, 1946, Freda gave birth to her second son, whom they named Kabir, after the sixteenth-century much-loved mystic poet and saint who preached peace between Hindus and Muslims, and the oneness of all religions. From the outset, Freda regarded Kabir as a special child and the closest to her of all her children.

As a Freemason, al Kabir also aimed to demonstrate the relationship between the symbols of Freemasonry and Islam.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone

Sheikh Abdulla sent a congratulatory telegram from Riasi jail where he was serving one of his many prison sentences. “He will grow up, I am sure, as a very handsome boy and his forehead depicts him to be a great thinker and revolutionary. May he live long and have a happy life.”….

LUTHER: Here the hurricane, of which Balzac spoke, embraces forehead, eyes and nose, no marble dome is arched above it; but this flaming volcano of energy and thoughtfulness rests upon mouth and chin as upon a rock of granite. Even the smallest feature of the powerful face testifies to energy and thirst for achievement.

-- The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston Stewart Chamberlain

In 1947, as Independence neared, Freda returned to England to attend a large socialist conference and to see her mother and show her the new child. On August 15, 1947, at the stroke of midnight, while she was in England, Indian Independence was declared….

She would have dearly loved to be there celebrating with her husband and all her friends, but BPL had warned her to stay away. Already the tension between Hindus and Muslims was mounting, and BPL knew the bloodshed that was about to occur. He had written her an urgent letter saying, “Don’t come back to Lahore at this time, whatever you do.”

He was right. At the same time an independent, free India was born, a brand-new country, the Muslim state of Pakistan was also created, out of what had formerly been known as the Punjab.

It should have been a moment of great joy and celebration. Instead India awoke to a bloodbath. Rather than being united under the banner of freedom, the subcontinent was abruptly split apart on the basis of religion. A massive cross-migration had begun, with thousands of Muslims fleeing India to get to Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs going in the opposite direction to India….

Lahore was ablaze, with riots in the streets as gangs of Sikhs and Muslims clashed…. It was estimated that more than half a million people were killed and more than a million made homeless….

According to Kabir, the ever-confident BPL faced the crisis head-on. “Father was in Lahore, right on the border. He helped people going both ways! He pretended to be whoever might be useful in the moment – he could speak all languages – and would talk his way out of every situation each time he was confronted.”….

Packing their meager belongings, Freda, BPL, Ranga, and baby Kabir moved to Kashmir, the beautiful land north of the Punjab. The idealistic, romantic, basic, and communal life in The Huts was over. A new era was beginning.

In the last few weeks of 1947, the Bedis moved into a fine gabled house on the edge of Dal Lake that was equipped with comforts and conveniences unheard of in The Huts. They had been drawn not by the landscape but by their great friend Sheikh Abdullah, who was now prime minister of the conjoined State of Jammu and Kashmir. He was promising everything they believed in – religious harmony between Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Harijans (the Untouchables); female emancipation; and land reform. They were delighted to support him. In Freda’s eyes, Sheikh Abdullah was virtually a saint.

“He is a Moses-like figure who had, along with his party, led the Kashmiris out of the virtual slavery of the maharaja’s kingly rule to responsible government, and given a new self-respect to these gifted people. To this country, whose beauty is tragically silhouetted against the great, unchanging poverty of its peasants and working classes, he and his government have brought fresh faith and a new approach, “ she said…..

Right now, her hero and his state were in deep trouble. Tens of thousands of tribal warriors were pouring over the northwestern frontier from Pakistan, hell-bent on taking Srinagar, with its airport, and making it their own. These were the Pathans, the famous fiercest Islamic fighting force in the world, who were raping, pillaging, and hacking to death every infidel they could find in revenge for the massacres carried out on their Muslim brothers in the border areas. They were stopped at Baramulla, a town a few miles upstream from Srinagar, but not before the town had been reduced to ashes, and its inhabitants – including the Irish nuns at the Baramulla Convent and a priest and nurses in the Baramulla Hospital – had been butchered.

Freda and BPL nobly rushes to the rescue….

Kashmir balanced precariously on the brink as it struggled to decide where it was going to place itself – whether it would join with the Muslims in the newly formed Pakistan or accede to union with India. The tug-of-war was fraught, passionate, and vicious….

“The first thing Mummy did when we got to Kashmir was to get a group together and go to the church to clean it up. I was with her. Statues had been defaced and were lying smashed. She got down on her hands and knees to clean the blood of the floor and walls. The marauders had used machetes – blood was everywhere. The horror of it only urged her on,” recalled Ranga, who was fourteen years old at the time.

The second thing Freda did was to rush to the aid of the multitude of refugees arriving daily from the occupied territories in a constant stream of misery…..

Freda focused on the women and children, setting up twenty-three milk-ad-relief centers and recruiting a band of Kashmiri girls to help her….

Ranga witnessed what his mother went through. “It was a nightmare. Utter chaos. Everything had shut down, including the schools. Mummy worked around the clock, leaving at seven a.m. and coming home around ten p.m. She was organizing it all – the camps, the food, the medical supplies, the tents. Selfless volunteers were coming in from everywhere, and Mummy organized them too. She was absolutely hands-on.”

Freda wasn’t the only eminent Englishwoman helping the refugees. Edwina Mountbatten, wife of the last viceroy of India, tirelessly worked with the displaced and wounded after Independence, and she, too, appeared by Freda’s side. She declared herself deeply shocked by what she saw in Srinigar but was full of admiration at the sight of the women engaged in the relief effort. “It is always true that good comes out of evil and that there is no doubt that this crisis has brought out women to play their full part in their country’s affairs, which would otherwise have taken years of evolution to achieve,” she wrote in a letter to Sheikh Abdullah.

Edwina Mountbatten and Freda Bedi were clearly united in their outlook and mission. Edwina’s next move bore all the hallmarks of Freda’s persuasive powers. On returning to Delhi she persuaded Nehru (with whom she was particularly close) to send more government help to the Kashmirir refugees, which he duly did….

BPL was far away in Delhi, working to reopen the trade lifeline, shut since the war, which was essential to Kashmir‘s economy. So she was alone with Ranga and Kabir, with only Rufus the Great Dane to guard them.

To protect herself and her family, Freda did the unthinkable. She took up arms by joining a women’s militia – the Women’s Self-Defence Corps – started by some feisty members of the Communist Party affiliated with Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference Party. They demanded to be trained and given arms in the face of the countless women being raped, abducted, and killed all around them. For Freda, a follower of Gandhi, it was a radical but necessary step. She spent hours drilling on a parade ground, learning to shoot a gun and lob a grenade alongside seventh other women, all volunteers gleaned from all classes, who had pledged to protect not only themselves but the citizens of Srinagar itself….. It was a big story, and was reported with pride in The People’s Age, a newspaper to which BPL contributed.

“For the first time on the soil of India there is being built an army of women trained to use the rifle and other modern weapons of war. The women of Kashmir are the first in India to build an army of women trained to use the rifle. By their example they have made Indian history, filled our chests with pride, and raised our country’s banner higher among the great nations of the world.”

The writing bears all the hallmarks of BPL’s communist rhetoric and with it the pledge to achieve female emancipation.

Nehru came to inspect the Women’s Self-Defence Corps, and press photographs reveal Freda standing boldly upright, rifle in hand, the only white face among a sea of brown ones. The training took up hours of her precious time, but in the end she never had to shoot anyone.

By the beginning of 1949, things were quieting down a little. On January 1, a cease-fire had been established following the condemnation of the Kashmir crisis by the United Nations. The maharaja, Sir Hari Singh, had fled, and much to Freda’s approval Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Harijans, and Christians began living peacefully side by side, in the capital at least. For the next few years, Freda and BPL got down to building up a new “enlightened” society. “Kashmir with its socialist government and its young leaders can lead India and rebuild this miserable country. I have great faith in it and love it, too. It’s beautiful, rich in talent and natural resources,” she claimed.

For the first (and last) time, BPL was bringing in a regular salary – employed in various capacities by Sheikh Abdulla’s government. Freda’s portfolio was massive. Not only did she continue her work with the refugees, she also established a Houseboatmen’s and Domestic Workers Unemployment Relief School, giving technical training to the children of classes hard hit by the stoppage of the lucrative tourist trade. She was delighted that the training carried with it a monthly cash payment for each child, thus enabling hard-hit families to buy food.

She and BPL also rewrote more than ninety school and college textbooks. “Kashmir was the first part of India to reorganize its teaching materials so that the books fitted in with the new world and the new free India that our children now live in” she boasted.

In a brief respite from her heavy workload, Freda managed to become pregnant again…. She wrote to Olive, “The latest family news is that we are expecting a sister (finally a sister) for the boys in early September.” …. (How Freda knew that her unborn baby would be female is unknown.)

On September 15, 1949, Freda gave birth to a girl. They called her Gulhima (shortened to Guli), meaning “Rose of the Snows” ….

The ROSE was anciently sacred to Aurora and the Sun. It is a symbol of Dawn, of the resurrection of Light and the renewal of life, and therefore of the dawn of the first day, and more particularly of the resurrection.

-- Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike

Never one to forsake her calling for motherhood, the very next year, Freda was back at work, this time as a member of the Board of English and Philosophic Studies in the newly founded Jammu and Kashmir University. By the autumn of 1950 she had taken on the additional role of visiting professor in the pioneering college, newly established in Srinagar especially for Kashmiri girls wanting to get their BA or BS degrees. She worked late into the night, diligently marking all the papers.

“We hope to produce our first graduates by the summer of 1952. There are 160 girls studying at the college”….

More work was in store. In 1950, all of North India suffered the most dreadful floods. Freda became Secretary of the Government Flood Relief Committee for Srinagar and Suburbs…..

There was time for a social life. Freda was very highly regarded throughout Kashmir, and with their connections the Bedis became a celebrated couple, frequenting many high-society cocktail parties…..
The Bedis’ house, with its beautiful gardens bordering on Dal Lake and its open-door policy, became a magnet for many business-people, international holidaymakers, educators, and journalists alike, including the celebrated American photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, of Life magazine fame. “She was an elderly lady, yet she hung on telegraph poles to get her story,” remembered Ranga.

In spite of her extraordinary workload, her husband, and her children, Freda still pursued her spiritual quest, trying to find a path that would fulfill all her deepest yearnings for ultimate Truth and Freedom. Her search was exceptionally meticulous. Following her nonsectarian bent, she decided to take one religion at a time and study it thoroughly. For one year she practiced Islam, praying five times a day and observing the feast days. When a Canadian Jewish professor and his wife visited Kashmir, she studied Judaism with a green-leather-bound Torah that they gave her. Then she observed the Hindu fasts and studied the gods: Shiva, Ganesh, Krishna – all were equally important to her. And of course, she became thoroughly acquainted with Sikhism the religion of her husband’s forefathers.

One day she met a Tibetan Buddhist lama in Srinagar, the head of a Ladakhi monastery visiting from the other side of the continent. It was a brief encounter, but something resonated deeply within Freda….

By 1951, the thorny political issue of offering the people of Kashmir a plebiscite to let them decide whether they wanted to join Pakistan or accede to India hung heavily in the air. Freda was torn. While she believed in the people’s right to choose, she was adamantly against Pakistan’s propaganda, with its call for Islamic separation and the holocaust she feared would irrevocably follow, with Hindus and Sikhs the losers.

“There will be a tough fight when and if a plebiscite takes place. The other side uses low weapons – an appeal to religious fanaticism and hatred, which can always find a response. We fight with clean hands. I am content as a democrat that Kashmir should vote and turn whichever way it wishes, but I know a Pakistan victory would mean massacre and mass migration of Hindus and Sikhs – and I hate to face it. God forbid it should happen,” she said.

For the first time she revealed an anticommunist leaning. “I feel the British Press – with the exception of our friend Norman Cliff on the News Chronicle – is Pakistan minded, and while I realize that Pakistan and Middle East oil interests are linked, I think it is a great injustice to Kashmir. While a very brutal invasion and a lot of propaganda from the Pakistan side has been trying to make the state communist minded, it has valiantly stuck to his democratic ideas and built up this very war-torn, hungry world.”

BPL was valiantly doing his part in promoting counterpropaganda (a role given to him by Sheikh Abdullah’s administration), churning out publicity and articles both in Delhi and in Kashmir. One day in 1952, things went catastrophically wrong. BPL had a huge argument with his old friend Sheikh Abdullah, who was about to make a speech ratifying the plebiscite.

Kabir said, “My father warned him that India would never accept such a move and that Sheikh Abdullah would be jailed. He was also afraid that a plebiscite would deepen the split already existing in the state and would destroy the work that he, Mummy, and others had been carefully building up over the fragile early years to promote harmony and improve the living conditions of all the people. Kashmir had a huge Muslim majority, but anti-Pakistan feeling was also very high In Kashmir. That was what my father was working with, especially with his counterpropaganda. His ultimate commitment and hope was that Kashmir would be joined to secular India, with its democratic principles. Sadly the best of friendships ended in a bitter battle.”

The minute his argument with Sheikh Abdullah was over, BPL went home, packed up all his household goods and his family, and within twenty-four hours had moved everyone to Delhi. He could no longer stay in a Kashmir that he felt was heading for trouble, and in the employ of a man whose policies he no longer believed in. His prediction was right. In 1953, Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed as prime minister, arrested on charges of conspiracy against the state, and jailed for eleven years. In Delhi, BPL never stopped petitioning for his release.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

Mohammed Abdullah Sheikh
Sheikh Abdullah on a 1988 stamp of India
3rd Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
25 February 1975 – 26 March 1977
Succeeded by Governor's rule
In office
9 July 1977 – 8 September 1982
Preceded by Governor's rule
Succeeded by Farooq Abdullah
2nd Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
In office
5 March 1948 – 9 August 1953
Preceded by Mehr Chand Mahajan
Succeeded by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad
Member of Constituent Assembly of India
In office
9 December 1946 – 24 January 1950
President of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
In office
October 1932 – August 1981
Personal details
Born 5 December 1905[1]
Soura, Jammu and Kashmir, British India
Died 8 September 1982 (aged 76)[1]
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Political party Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
Spouse(s) Begum Akbar Jahan Abdullah
Children Farooq Abdullah, Suraiya Abdullah Ali
Alma mater Islamia College Lahore
Aligarh Muslim University[2]

Mohammed Abdullah Sheikh (5 December 1905 – 8 September 1982) was a Kashmiri politician who played a central role in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost Indian state. The self-styled "Sher-e-Kashmir" (Lion of Kashmir), Abdullah was the founding leader of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference and the 2nd Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. He agitated against the rule of the Maharaja Hari Singh and urged self-rule for Kashmir.[3]

He served as the 2nd Prime Minister of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir after its accession to India in 1947[4] and was later jailed and exiled. He was dismissed from the position of Prime Ministership on 8 August 1953 and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the new Prime Minister. The expressions ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’ and ‘Prime Minister’ were replaced with the terms ‘Governor’ and ‘Chief Minister’ in 1965.[5] Sheikh Abdullah again became the Chief Minister of the state following the 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord and remained in the top slot till his death on 8 September 1982.[6]

Early life

Abdullah Sheikh was born in Soura, a village on the outskirts of Srinagar, eleven days after the death of his father Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim. His father was a middle class manufacturer and trader of Kashmiri shawls. He was a descendent of a Hindu named Ragho Ram, who was converted to Islam in 1722 by the saint Rashid Balkhi and after conversion changed his name to Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, as per Abdullah's autobiography Atish-e-Chinar.[7]

According to Abdullah Sheikh, his step brother mistreated his mother and his early childhood was marked by utter poverty. His mother was keen that her children should receive proper education and, so, as a child, he was first admitted to a traditional school or Maktab where he learnt the recitation of the Quran and some basic Persian texts like Gulistan of Sa'di, Bostan, Padshanama, etc. Then in 1911 he was admitted to a primary school where he studied for about two years.

However, their family barber Mohammed Ramzan prevailed upon his uncle to send him back to school. He had to walk the distance of ten miles to school and back on foot but in his own words the joy of being allowed to obtain a school education made it seem a light work. He passed his Matriculation examination from Punjab University in 1922.[8]

Higher studies

After matriculation he obtained admission in Shri Partap College, the leading college of Kashmir. He also went to the Prince of Wales College in Jammu.[1] Then he took admission in Islamia College, Lahore and graduated from there. In 1930, he obtained an M.Sc. in Chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University.[1] During his college days he was an eye witness of the protests of the workers of the Government Silk Factory during the Silk Factory Workers Agitation and the sight of workers agitating for their rights made a deep impression on him and was an important factor in motivating him to struggle for the rights of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir State.[9]

Political activism

Kashmiri polymath and lawyer Molvi Abdullah. His lectures motivated Abdullah Sheikh and other educated Muslim youth to struggle for justice and fundamental rights

As a student at Aligarh Muslim University,[2] he came in contact with and was influenced by persons with liberal and progressive ideas. He became convinced that the feudal system was responsible for the miseries of the Kashmiris and like all progressive nations of the world Kashmir too should have a democratically elected government.

Muslim Conference

Abdullah Sheikh and his colleagues were greatly influenced by the lectures of a Kashmiri polymath and lawyer Molvi Abdullah.[10] Molvi Abdullah's son Molvi Abdul Rahim, Abdullah Sheikh and Ghulam Nabi Gilkar were the first three educated Kashmiri youth to be arrested during the public agitation of 1931.[11]

Abdullah Sheikh with other leaders of 1931 agitation. Sitting R to L: Sardar Gohar Rehman, Mistri Yaqoob Ali, Sheikh Abdullah, Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas. Standing R: Molvi Abdul Rahim, L:Ghulam Nabi Gilkar

Kashmir's first political party the Kashmir Muslim Conference with Abdullah Sheikh as President, Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas as general secretary, and Molvi Abdul Rahim as Secretary was formed on 16 October 1932. In his presidential address Abdullah Sheikh categorically stated that the Muslim Conference had come into existence to struggle for the rights of all oppressed sections of the society and not Muslims alone. It was not a communal party and would struggle for the rights of the oppressed, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh, with the same fervor. He reasserted that the struggle of Kashmiris was not a communal struggle.[12]

In March 1933 the Muslim Conference constituted a committee which included Molvi Abdullah and nine other members for the purpose of establishing contacts with non-Muslim parties and exploring the possibility of forming a joint organisation. Those nine members were Khwaja Saad-ud-din Shawl, Khwaja Hassan Shah Naqshbandi, Mirwaiz Kashmir, Molvi Ahmad-Ullah, Mirwaiz Hamadani, Agha Syed Hussain Shah Jalali, Mufti Sharif-ud-din, Molvi Atiq-Ullah and Haji Jafar Khan. According to Abdullah Sheikh this effort was not successful because of the unfavourable reception of the idea by the non-Muslim parties.[13] Abdullah Sheikh campaigned to change the name of the Muslim Conference to National Conference, under the influence of among others Jawaharlal Nehru. After a prolonged and vigorous campaign a special session of the Muslim Conference held in June 1939 voted to change the name of the party to National Conference. Of the 176 members attending the session, 172 members voted in favour of the resolution.[14] According to Abdullah Sheikh the support of Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas of Jammu was very important in motivating the members to vote for this change.[15]

Electoral politics

As a result of the 1931 agitation, the Maharajah appointed a Grievances Commission with an Englishman B.J. Glancy as President who submitted its report in March 1932.[16] Subsequently, a Constitutional Reforms Conference also presided over by B.J. Glancy recommended the setting up of an elected Legislative Assembly (Praja Sabha). Consequently, a Praja Sabha with 33 elected and 42 nominated members elected on the basis of separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims was established in 1934.[17] Women and illiterate men without sufficient property, or title, or annual income of less than Rupees four hundred did not have the right to vote. Roughly less than 10% (according to Justice Anand only 3%) of the population were enfranchised.[18]

Even after the formation of Praja Sabha in 1934 as recommended by the Commission real power continued to remain in the hands of the Maharajah.[19]

Seventeen years later in 1951, the government of Kashmir with Sheikh Abdullah as Prime Minister held elections to a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Sheikh Abdullah's Government had been accused of rigging in these elections to the Constituent Assembly.[20]

Sheikh Abdullah with Nehru and Badshah Khan (centre) at Nishat Garden in 1945

Sheikh Abdullah was introduced to Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937 and as he too was a leader of the Indian National Congress was demanding similar rights for people of British India[21] and had formed The All India States Peoples Conference[22] for supporting the people of Princely States in their struggle for a representative government the two became friends and political allies.

National Conference

He introduced a resolution in the working committee of the Muslim Conference for changing its name to National Conference on 24 June 1938 to allow people from all communities to join the struggle against the autocratic rule of the Maharaja.[23] Meanwhile, he along with his liberal progressive friends, many of whom were not Muslim like Kashyap Bandhu, Jia Lal Kilam, Pandit Sudama Sidha, Prem Nath Bazaz and Sardar Budh Singh drafted the National Demands[24] the forerunner of the famous Naya Kashmir (New Kashmir) Manifesto (which was a charter of demands for granting a democratic constitution committed to the welfare of the common people of Kashmir)[25]

He presented these demands to the Maharajah in a speech on 28 August 1938.[26] The Maharajah was not willing to accept these demands and so he along with many of his companions was arrested for defying prohibitory orders and sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine. His arrest provoked a public agitation in which volunteers called Dictators (so called because they had the authority to defy laws that was forbidden for normal law-abiding party members) courted arrest. This agitation was called off on the appeal of Mohandas K. Gandhi. He was released after serving his sentence on 24 February 1939 and accorded a grand reception by the people of Srinagar on his return. Speeches were made at the reception stressing the importance of unity among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.[27] Subsequently the resolution for changing the name of Muslim Conference to National Conference was ratified with an overwhelming majority by the General Council of the Muslim Conference on 11 June 1939 and from that date Muslim Conference became National Conference.[28]

Quit Kashmir agitation

In May 1946 Sheikh Abdullah launched the Quit Kashmir agitation against the Maharajah Hari Singh and was arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment but was released only sixteen months later on 29 September 1947.[29] According to prominent columnist and writer A. G. Noorani, Quit Kashmir was ill-timed and illogical. (See Tehreek e Hurriyat e Kashmir By Rashid Taseer (Urdu) volume 2-page 29 for "National Demands" discussion and see Chapter 12-page 310-313 regarding presentation of "Naya Kashmir" Manifesto to Maharaja Hari Singh. Full text of "Naya Kashmir" manifesto is given from page 314 to 383. English translation of this text is available at Wikisource. Also see relevant chapters from Atish e Chinar regarding 1931 agitation (Chapters 9, 10 and 11) Glancy Commission (Chapter 15) formation of Muslim Conference (Chapter 18) meeting with Nehru (Chapter 23), reasons for change in name of Muslim Conference to National Conference (Chapter 24) and becoming president of All India States Peoples Conference (Chapter 31). His arrest and subsequent release following the Quit Kashmir agitation is discussed in Chapter 34-page 372-389.) [30]

Head of Government

Head of emergency administration

Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah (right), chosen to head interim government in Kashmir, confers with Sardar Patel, deputy premier of India

Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to Lord Mountbatten of Burma the Governor-General of India for Indian military aid. In his Accession Offer dated 26 October 1947 which accompanied The Instrument of Accession duly signed by him on 26 October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh wrote "I may also inform your Excellency's Government that it is my intention at once to set up an interim Government and ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister."[31][32]

Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession after a meeting of the Defence Committee on 26 October 1947. In accepting the accession unconditionally he wrote, "I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession. Dated this twenty seventh day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven".[33] In the covering letter to Hari Singh, he wrote "In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people".[34] Also in his letter to the Maharaja Lord Mountbatten wrote "My Government and I note with satisfaction that your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form an Interim Government to work with your Prime Minister." The support of Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a key factor in getting Sheikh Abdullah appointed as Head of the emergency administration by the Maharaja.[35]

As a consequence, Sheikh Abdullah was appointed head of an emergency administration by an order issued by the Maharaja which was undated except for the mention October 1947 in place of the date. He took charge as Head of the Emergency Administration on 30 October 1947.[36]

He raised a force of local Kashmiri volunteers to patrol Srinagar and take control of administration after the flight of the Maharaja along with his family and Prime Minister Meher Chand Mahajan to Jammu even before the Indian troops had landed. This group of volunteers would serve as the nucleus for the subsequent formation of Jammu and Kashmir Militia.[37] This, Sheikh Abdullah hoped, would take over the defence of Kashmir after the Indian army was withdrawn. This was articulated in his letter to Sardar Patel dated 7 October 1948 in which he wrote, "With the taking over of the State forces by the Indian Government, it was agreed that steps would be taken to reorganise and rebuild our army so that when the present emergency is over and the Indian forces are withdrawn the State will be left with a proper organised army of its own to fall back upon."[38] (Sheikh Abdullah has alleged that most of the Muslim soldiers of the Militia were either discharged or imprisoned before his arrest in 1953.[39] The Militia (dubbed as Dagan Brigade) was converted from a State Militia to a regular unit of the Indian Army on 2 December 1972 and redesignated the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry)[40]

Sheikh Abdullah spoke at the UN Security Council on 5 February 1948 thus: "The (tribal) raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people — mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims, too — abducted thousands of girls, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar."[41]

Prime minister

Sheikh Abdullah receiving Nehru in Srinagar, 1947.

Sheikh Abdullah took oath as Prime Minister of Kashmir on 17 March 1948.[42]

Return to activism

Arrest and release

On 8 August 1953 he was dismissed as Prime Minister by the then Sadr-i-Riyasat (Constitutional Head of State) Dr. Karan Singh, son of the erstwhile Maharajah Hari Singh, on the charge that he had lost the confidence of his cabinet (not the house).[43] He was denied the opportunity to prove his majority on the floor of the house[44] and his dissident cabinet minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was appointed as Prime Minister.[45] Sheikh Abdullah was immediately arrested and later jailed for eleven years, accused of conspiracy against the State in the infamous "Kashmir Conspiracy Case".[46]

According to Sheikh Abdullah his dismissal and arrest were engineered by the central government headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.[30] He has quoted B.N. Mullicks' statements in his book "My Years with Nehru"[47] in support of his statement.[30] A.G. Noorani writing in Frontline supports this view, as according to him Nehru himself ordered the arrest.[48] On 8 April 1964 the State Government dropped all charges in the so-called "Kashmir Conspiracy Case".[49] Sheikh Abdullah was released and returned to Srinagar where he was accorded an unprecedented welcome by the people of the valley".[50]

After his release he was reconciled with Nehru. Nehru requested Sheikh Abdullah to act as a bridge between India and Pakistan and make President Ayub to agree to come to New Delhi for talks for a final solution of the Kashmir problem. President Ayub Khan also sent telegrams to Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah with the message that as Pakistan too was a party to the Kashmir dispute any resolution of the conflict without its participation would not be acceptable to Pakistan. This paved the way for Sheikh Abdullah's visit to Pakistan to help broker a solution to the Kashmir problem.[51]

Sheikh Abdullah went to Pakistan in spring of 1964. President Ayub Khan of Pakistan held extensive talks with him to explore various avenues for solving the Kashmir problem and agreed to come to Delhi in mid June for talks with Nehru as suggested by him. Even the date of his proposed visit was fixed and communicated to New Delhi.[52] On 27 May while he was en route to Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir news came of the sudden death of Nehru and the Sheikh after addressing a public rally at Muzaffarabad returned to Delhi.[53] On his suggestion President Ayub Khan sent a high level Pakistani delegation led by his Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto along with him to take part in the last rites of Jawaharlal Nehru.[54]

After Nehru's death in 1964, he was interned from 1965 to 1968 and exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months. The Plebiscite Front was also banned. This was allegedly done to prevent him and the Plebiscite Front which was supported by him from taking part in elections in Kashmir.[55]

After Indo-Pakistan war and creation of Bangladesh

Sheikh Abdullah addressing a mammoth gathering at Lal Chowk Srinagar in 1975

In 1971, the declaration of Bangladesh's independence was proclaimed on 26 March by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and subsequently the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in erstwhile East Pakistan between Pakistan and Bangladesh joined later by India, and subsequently war broke out on the western border of India between India and Pakistan, both of which culminated in the creation of Bangladesh. Sheikh Abdullah watching the alarming turn of events in the subcontinent realised that for the survival of this region there was an urgent need to stop pursuing confrontational politics and promoting solution of issues by a process of reconciliation and dialogue rather than confrontation. Critics of Sheikh hold the view that he gave up the cherished goal of plebiscite for gaining Chief Minister's chair. He started talks with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for normalising the situation in the region and came to an accord called 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord with Indira Gandhi, then India's Prime Minister, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite in lieu of the people being given the right to self-rule by a democratically elected Government (as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution of India) rather than the puppet government which till then ruled the State.[56]

Return to power

Sheikh Abdullah's funeral procession

He assumed the position of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Government and the ruling Congress Party withdrew its support so that the State Assembly had to be dissolved and mid term elections called.[57]

The National Conference won an overwhelming majority in the subsequent elections and re-elected Sheikh Abdullah as Chief Minister.[58] He remained as Chief Minister till his death in 1982.

Abdullah, described as a six feet four inches (1.93 m)[59][60][61] to six feet six inches (1.98 m) tall man,[62] was fluent in both Kashmiri and Urdu. His biography in Urdu entitled Atish-e-Chinar was written by the noted Kashmiri author M.Y. Taing and published after Sheikh Abdullah's death. It is often referred to as his autobiography as Taing claimed that he only acted as an amanuensis.[63] It is based on extensive interviews that Taing had with Sheikh Abdullah and provides valuable information on Sheikh Abdullah's family background, early life, ringside glimpses of happenings in Kashmir at a crucial juncture in its history, and his viewpoint about the political events in Kashmir in which he himself played a central role.[64]

After his death his eldest son Dr. Farooq Abdullah was elected as the Chief Minister of the State.

Personal life

In 1933 he married Akbar Jahan, the daughter of Michael Harry Nedou, of Slovak and Brisith descent, and his Kashmiri wife Mirjan.[65] Michael Harry Nedou was himself the proprietor of a hotel at the tourist resort of Gulmarg[66] (The writer Tariq Ali claims that Akbar Jehan was previously married in 1928 to an Arab Karam Shah who disappeared after a Calcutta newspaper Liberty reported that he was actually T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)[67] a British Intelligence officer. He claims that Akbar Jehan was divorced by her first husband in 1929.)[68]


Pakistani view

The government of Pakistan in 1947 viewed Abdullah and his party as agents of Nehru and did not recognise his leadership of Kashmir.[69] He spoke against Pakistani government in United Nations by comparing it with Hitler's rule, and he also endorsed Indian stand on Jammu and Kashmir. However, there was a change in Pakistan's viewpoint with the passage of time. When he visited Pakistan in 1964 he was awarded a tumultuous welcome by the people of Pakistan. Among the persons who received him was Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas his once colleague and later bitter political enemy who earlier in his book Kashmakash had denounced Sheikh Abdullah as a turncoat and traitor. Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas embraced him and in his speech described him as one of the greatest leaders of the subcontinent and a great benefactor of the Muslims of the subcontinent.[70][71] President Ayub Khan and his then Foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto discussed the Kashmir problem with him. The government of Pakistan treated him as a state guest.[72] Sheikh Abdullah had the rare distinction of having poems in his praise written by three major Pakistani Urdu poets namely Hafeez Jullundhri, Josh and Faiz Ahmed Faiz who admired his lifelong struggle against injustice and for democratic rights of the common man.[73]

See also

• List of Kashmiris
• History of Jammu and Kashmir
• Kashmir conflict
• Instrument of Accession (Jammu and Kashmir)
• Kashmiriyat – a socio-cultural ethos of religious harmony and Kashmiri consciousness.
• Political Parties in Kashmir in 1947
• List of topics on the land and the people of "Jammu and Kashmir"
• Kashmir Conspiracy Case
• List of political families


1. Hoiberg, Dale H. (2010) p 22-23
2. Tej K. Tikoo (19 July 2012). Kashmir: Its Aborigines and Their Exodus. Lancer Publishers. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-1-935501-34-3. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
3. Guha, Ramachandra. "Opening a window in Kashmir." Economic and Political Weekly (2004): 3905-3913.
4. Lamb, Alastair. The Myth of Indian Claim to Jammu and Kashmir: A Reappraisal. World Kashmir Freedom Movement.
5. Noorani, A.G. Article 370 : a constitutional history of Jammu and Kashmir (1. publ. ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198074083.
6. Rakesh Ankit, "Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah of Kashmir, 1965–1975: From Externment to Enthronement." Studies in Indian Politics 6.1 (2018): 88-102 online.
7. Hussain 2013, pp. 8–9.
8. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 1–14.
9. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 36.
10. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 67.
11. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 94.
12. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 156–160.
13. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 163.
14. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 239.
15. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 238.
16. Justice A.S. Anand (2006), p28
17. Regulation No1. of Samvat1991 (22 April 1934)
18. Justice A.S. Anand (2006), p30
19. Justice A.S. Anand (2006), p36
20. APHC: White Paper on Elections In Kashmir
21. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 226–227.
22. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 228.
23. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 232.
24. Rasheed Taseer (1973) vol2, p29
25. Rasheed Taseer (1973) vol2, p314-383
26. Rasheed Taseer (1973) vol2, p25
27. Rasheed Taseer (1973) vol2, p25-40
28. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 237.
29. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 327–389.
30. Abdullah & Taing (1985, pp. 566–567)
31. Maharaja Hari Singh's letter requesting Indian Assistance against tribal raids. (26 October 1947). Retrieved on 2018-12-07.
32. Accession Of Jammu And Kashmir State To India. Text Of Letter Dated 26 October 1947 From Hari Singh, The Maharaja Of Jammu & Kashmir to Lord Mountbatten, The then Governor General of India.
33. Acceptance Of Accession By The Governor General Of India. (26 October 1947). Retrieved on 2018-12-07.
34. Rediff On The NeT Special: The Real Kashmir Story. (2 June 1999). Retrieved on 7 December 2018.
35. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 462–464.
36. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 431.
37. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 413–414.
38. Sandeep Bamzai (2006), p73
39. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 567.
40. PIB Press release Press Information Bureau Govt of India 16 September 2004
41. "Excerpts of Sheikh Abdullah's February 5, 1948, speech in the UN Security Council". Retrieved 2017-04-13.
42. Sandeep Bamzai (2006), p252
43. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 593–594.
44. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 607.
45. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 600.
46. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 711–717.
47. B.N. Mullick (1972)
48. A.G. Noorani (2006)
49. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 752.
50. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 755–757.
51. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 774–778.
52. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 782.
53. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 786.
54. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 787.
55. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 817–825.
56. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 827–838.
57. Noorani, A. G. (16 September 2000), "Article370: Law and Politics", Frontline, 17 (19)
58. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 860–882.
59. C. Bilqees Taseer, The Kashmir of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, p. 330
60. Korbel 1966, p. 17.
61. Russel Brines, The Indo-Pakistani conflict, p. 67
62. Hugh Tinker, "Accursed Paradise" in New Society, Volume 6, p.25
63. Abdullah & Taing 1985, Preface.
64. Hussain 2013, p. 2.
65. Nyla Ali Khan. "Retrieving Lost Histories". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
66. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 193.
67. Mubashhir Hassan (2008)
68. Tariq Ali (2003), p 230
69. Sandeep Bamzai (2006), p242.
70. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 783.
71. The WEEKLY "AAINA" 15 July 1970, p19
72. Abdullah & Taing 1985, p. 779.
73. Abdullah & Taing 1985, pp. 265–268.


• Ankit, Rakesh. "Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah of Kashmir, 1965–1975: From Externment to Enthronement." Studies in Indian Politics 6.1 (2018): 88-102 online
• Guha, Ramachandra. "Opening a window in Kashmir." Economic and Political Weekly (2004): 3905-3913. online
• Abdullah, Sheikh; Taing, M. Y. (1985), Atish-e-Chinar (in Urdu), Srinagar: Shaukat Publications Often referred to as Sheikh Abdullah's autobiography. It has not been copyrighted in deference to Sheikh Abdullah's wishes.
• Hussain, Syed Taffazull (23 November 2013) [first published in 2009], Sheikh Abdullah – A Biography: The Crucial Period 1905–1939, Indianopolis: WordClay, ISBN 978-1-60481-309-8
• Korbel, Josef (1966), Danger in Kashmir, Princeton University Press
• A.G. Noorani (2000), "Article370: Law and Politics". Frontline Volume 17 – Issue 19, 16–29 September, (Discusses illegality of Central Govt and Parliament's Actions in amending Article 370 without concurrence of Constituent Assembly of Kashmir)
• A.G. Noorani (2006), "Nehru's legacy in foreign affairs". Frontline Volume 23 – Issue 15 :: 29 July 11 August 2006 (Discusses Nehru's role in arrest of Sheikh Abdullah and erosion of Article 370)
• B.N. Mullick (1972): My Years with Nehru (Provides evidence of Nehru's role in dismissal and arrest of Sheikh Abdullah. B.N. Mullick was head of Indian Intelligence Bureau at the time of his arrest)
• Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdullah, Sheikh Muhammad". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
• Justice A.S. Anand (2006) The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Universal Law Publishing Co. ISBN 81-7534-520-9
• Mubashir Hassan (18 July 2008), "The Nedous and Lawrence of Arabia", The Nation (Pakistan), archived from the original on 9 January 2009, retrieved 22 July 2008
• Rasheed Taseer (1973): Tareekh e Hurriyat e Kashmir (URDU). Muhafiz Publications Srinagar Volume 2 gives an account of events in Kashmir from 1932 to 1946 as seen by a local journalist.
• Sandeep Bamzai (2006): Bonfire of Kashmiryat Rupa & Co. New Delhi. ISBN 81-291-1060-1
• Tariq Ali (2003): The Clash of Fundamentalism. Verso Books. London. ISBN 978 1 85984 457 1
• Syed Taffazull Hussain (2009): Sheikh Abdullah – A biography:The Crucial Period 1905–1939. Wordclay. Indianapolis.IN. ISBN 978-1-60481-309-8 (Annotated 2015 edition with 38 References and 650 footnotes is available at http:// has chapters on The Kashmir Committee, Jinnah's first visit to Kashmir, and describes errors of omission and commission in Atish e Chinar all for the first time.)
• APHC: White Paper On Elections in Kashmir (undated): (retrieved on 5 November 2008)
• Hussain Haqqani (2005): Pakistan Between Mosque and Military. Vanguard Books. Lahore. ISBN 969-402-498-6
• Baba Pyare Lal Bedi, Freda Marie (Houlston) Bedi (1949): Sheikh Abdullah: his life and ideals
• Ravinderjit Kaur (1998): "Political Awakening In Kashmir. South Asia Books. ISBN 978-8-17024-709-8
• Brenda M King (2005): "Silk and empire"Manchester University Press ISBN 978-07190-6701-3. Describes Sir Thomas Wardle's role in establishing modern filatures in Kashmir and his dream of making Kashmir a competitor for China and Japan in the international silk market.

External links

• Newspaper clippings about Sheikh Abdullah in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:20 am

Freda Bedi & Jetsunma Jamyang Drolma
by The Yogini Project



During our interview with Jamyang Drolma in the course of our filming for our film Women On The Path in Nepal back in Spring 2015 …


Jamyang Drolma somewhat bashfully admitted to having been recognized as the reincarnation of Freda Bedi, Sister Palmo as she was known upon being ordained, the first women to receive full bhikshuni ordination in over 1000 years back in the early 1970s on the insistent urging of HH the 16th Karmapa. This is a rare occurrence of a recognized female tulku (reincarnation of an accomplished being) and the first we know of of a Tibetan being recognized as rebirth of a Westerner, and a woman at that!

As we discover more of the remarkable life and achievements of Freda Bedi in her recent biography, The Revolutionary Life Of Freda Bedi, it is just another of exceptionally diverse accomplishments and firsts by this special being, regarded as an emanation of Tara by the Tibetans. Beyond her earlier life campaigning for Indian Independence, a British woman who came to be at the heart of Gandhi’s non-violent movement, Freda was there just as the Tibetans fled from exile from their occupied homeland in 1959, taking care of 1000s in the first refugee camps, saving many lives. She was the first to meet Chogyam Trungpa as he arrived with Akong Rinpoche into India, later spiritually adopting them both, then founding a Young Lamas Home School for the first wave of young tulkus to enter the modern world. As such, she was so instrumental to the coming of these great lamas and the Dharma to the west. All called her “Mummy-la” for this nurturing mother-like role she had in their lives, in fact for their culture in its time of need. She went on to found the first Tibetan monastic establishment outside of Tibet, a nunnery at that, and later indeed becoming a heart student of HH 16th Karmapa, becoming the first fully ordained bhikshuni as above. In the finale to her activities and accomplishments, she played an instrumental role in HH Karmapa and the Dharma coming to the West (instigating the initial visit and accompanying, teaching and even granting empowerments on each visit) in the mid 1970s. It seems now that even death did not deter her.

It was sheer serendipity that led our small film crew, filming yoginis in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal at the time, to be introduced suddenly to Jamyang Drolma, the very day before she was to be enthroned as a Jetsunma by Tulku Sang Ngak Rinpoche in Pharping, Nepal, after completing over 9 years of shedra (comprehensive advanced study) and 7 years of retreat. A vivid presence, very strong but remarkably humble, Jamyang Drolma remarked on her being empowered as a Jetsunma more on the effect that it would have on others in facilitating the transmission of the Dharma – that the enthronement creates the positive conditions for the genuine Dharma she has to share to be heard.


It was a fascinating encounter, with an immediate warm, almost psychic connection. Multiple times during the course of her speaking in Tibetan (ie her actual words had yet to be understood), a question would occur to be asked, which when our Tibetan translator translated the words spoken was revealed to be precisely answered by her in the moment the question occurred in the mind, before the question could even be asked! Both sides remarked after on how wonderful the connection and the interview had been.

From page 178 of The Revolutionary Life Of Freda Bedi:

“But Freda’s story may not end there, however.

Two years after her death, in 1979, rumors began to spread that Freda had reincarnated as a Tibetan girl, Jamyang Dolma Lama, the daughter of His Eminence Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, a respected holder enthroned by the Sixteenth Karmapa. Born in Tibet, Beru Khyentse Rinpoche had known Freda Bedi well, and had set up his own center in Bodhgaya.

In 1995, when she was sixteen years old, Jamyang Drolma Lama, now a nun, was officially recognized by her father and other lamas as the reincarnation of Freda Bedi, aka Sister Kechog Palmo. Since then she has undertaken a nine-year intensive study program at Ngagyur Nyingma Nunnery High Institute, and on February 28, 2015, completed a six-and-a-half-year retreat. Fully qualified to teach, she is destined to take care of her father’s nunneries in both India and Tibet, and, like Freda, to travel around the world to spread the Buddha’s teaching for the benefit of all sentient beings.

For some, like Pema Zangmo [Freda’s long time devoted attendant], there is no doubt that Freda has reappeared on the earth in a new body. “Mummy-la has come back as a Tibetan girl. I heave no doubts. She came to see me at my nunnery and I recognized her immediately and her me. She took my hand, gave me a katag (white ceremonial scarf), and cried. She is very beautiful. When I look at her, I see Mummy-la, not the face but the nature is the same. Just before she died, Mummy-la told me to keep in touch with Beru Khyentse Rinpoche, as the connection was very auspicious,” she said portentously, hinting that Freda had already determined her next birth.”

Coming to discover so much about Freda Bedi recently through the release of her biography, it sends new light on our auspicious, effortless encounter with Jetsunma Jamyang Drolma. Almost sending shivers down the spine. We now long to meet and see Jetsnuma again soon, and be a channel for the dharma that she embodies – both insight and compassion – to be shared.

For a glimpse of Jetsunma’s enthronement and some heart advice, see…
The Enthronement of Jetsunma Jamyang Drolma

To support our production of this interview, visit here…
TYP: Tibetan Yogini Film Campaign

May there be benefit for all beings.
Sarva Mangalams!
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:23 pm

Francis Underhill Macy
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/3/19



Another woman who experienced Freda's ability to break down barriers to get what she wanted was Joanna Macy, renowned American environmentalist, teacher, and author. She was living in Delhi with her husband [Francis Underhill Macy], who was working for the Peace Corps, when Freda came to visit.

"I remember I opened the door and she stood there in her maroon clothes, greeting me as if somehow I and not she were the guest. I loved the way that touch of the Raj blended so paradoxically and superbly with the monk's garb she wore. She had come because she wanted my husband to release a particular person in the Peace Corps to work for her in Dalhousie. 'I shall speak to my friend Mr. B in the Cabinet,' Mummy said with a smile. 'When do you think we can expect him?' It was the marriage of serenity and sheer nerve. She was English in the way only the English can be. She had implicit authority," Macy said.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

Francis Underhill Macy
Born February 19, 1927
Evanston, Ill,
United States
Died January 20, 2009 (aged 81)
Berkeley, California
Occupation Diplomat, Activist, Russian scholar

Francis Underhill Macy (February 19, 1927 – January 20, 2009)[1] was founder and co-director of the Center for Safe Energy between 1995 till his death in 2009.[2] During this time Macy trained hundreds of activists in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan to address the environmental legacy of the nuclear arms race and the Chernobyl disaster. Initiating scores of professional delegations and exchanges between Americans and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union in the areas of psychology, environment, and citizen organizing since 1983, Macy empowered the rise of non-governmental organizations – a strong contribution to the health of post-Soviet life. In 2005, he was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Lifetime Achievement Award.

"Between 1964 and 1972, he served as deputy Peace Corps director in India, country director in Tunisia and Nigeria and finally as director of all Peace Corps programs in Africa".[3]

Macy “pioneered as a citizen ambassador linking Russians and Americans in shared concern for the environment, at a pivotal time when environmental activism was just emerging in the Soviet Union” and “led in the formation of permanent protection and restoration efforts, such as Earth Island’s Baikal Watch project,” says John Knox, co-executive director of Earth Island Institute. Earth Island’s founder, David Brower, was “particularly grateful for Macy’s leadership” in engaging him with Russia’s foremost environmental leaders.

But scholars have largely been far less attentive to what may be Russia’s greatest legacy to the planet: wilderness. Within the borders of the Russian Federation are some of the most extensive (largely roadless) wilderness areas remaining on Earth. This is vividly illustrated by a nighttime view of Eurasia, with the dark vast swaths of Siberia and the Russian Far East in stark contrast to the brightly lit cities and infrastructure of Eastern China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (Figure 1). Lake Baikal alone holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. Russia’s forests comprise an astounding 20% of the world’s remaining “frontier forest” (Potapov et al. 2008). Siberian tigers roam the Ussuri taiga forests along the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountain Range, a region with the richest terrestrial biological diversity in Russia (Krever et al. 1994). While the forests of central Kamchatka Peninsula protect rivers containing some of the world’s largest salmon runs, the oceans surrounding Russia are some of the most biologically productive waters on the planet (Newell 2004). Russia’s wilderness plays a globally important role in mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and generally ensuring ecosystem function, particularly of the polar Arctic.

-- The state of environmental protection in the Russian Federation: a review of the post-Soviet era, by Joshua P. Newell & Laura A. Henry

Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Natalie Jaresko, is a former senior U.S. State Department official who was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.

They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.

Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbor, Russia. They want to Balkanize or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border.

Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.

-- The Rise of a "Democratic" Fascism, by John Pilger

Macy complemented his organizational trainings with experiential teachings in Deep Ecology.

American author Kirkpatrick Sale, who is very close to deep ecology, is very clear about the fact that democracy and human rights need not be respected, but that we instead should respect the denial of democracy and human rights! Kirkpatrick Sale wrote: “[Bioregional diversity] does not mean that every community in a bioregion, every subregion within an ecoregion, every ecoregion on a continent, would construct itself along the same lines, evolve the same political forms. Most particularly it does not mean that every bioregion would be likely to heed the values of democracy, equality, liberty, freedom, justice and the like, the sort that the liberal American tradition proclaims. Truly autonomous bioregions would inevitably go in separate and not necessarily complementary ways, creating their own political systems according to their own environmental settings and their own ecological needs … Different cultures could be expected to have quite different views about what political forms could best accomplish their bioregional goals, and (especially as we imagine this system on a global scale) those forms could be at quite some variance from the Western Enlightenment-inspired ideal. And however much one might find the thought unpleasant, that divergence must be expected and – if diversity is desirable – respected.” (6)

Not only does deep ecology oppose the universal concepts of democracy and human rights through its misguided understanding of diversity, the ideas of Næss verge also on the mystical and he himself seems to be aware of this since he quotes New Age-author Charlene Spretnak approvingly when she calls for 'emotional involvement and caring' instead of rational thinking. (7) It is therefore not very surprising that New Age-authors Fritjof Capra and Charlene Spretnak have embraced the label deep ecology. Fritjof Capra is like Spretnak very outspoken in his anti-rationalism: “Ultimately, deep ecological awareness is spiritual or religious awareness.” (8) Charlene Spretnak declares humanism to be the principal enemy of an ecological politics. In 1984 she said in an address to the annual gathering of the E.F. Schumacher Society: “Green politics rejects the anthropocentric orientation of humanism, a philosophy which posits that humans have the ability to confront and solve the many problems we face by applying human reason and by rearranging the natural world and the interactions of men and women so that human life will prosper.” (9) Spretnak and Capra wrote a book about the German Greens where they, in spite of the 'pluralism' of deep ecology, made very clear that they are hostile to left wing tendencies in the Green movement. (10) Unfortunately no such demarcation exists for right wing tendencies in the ecology movement. The Right seems to be very grateful to enter this lack of demarcation and it would indeed be very hard to demarcate deep ecology from the Right because it shows structural similarities with Right ideology. Although Capra and Spretnak seem to be aware of the German past, they have trouble seeing the continuity with the present. They describe Herbert Gruhl as a 'conservative' politician, whereas the term eco-fascist would be more appropriate. Gruhl was one of the founders of Die Grünen but left the party in 1982 (which Capra and Spretnak seem to regret and blame the 'marxists' for) to found the Ökologisch Demokratische Partei (Ecological Democratic Party). When this party decided in 1989 to distance itself from the extreme Right political party Die Republikaner against the will of Gruhl, he withdrew and founded the Unabhängige Ökologen Deutschlands. He was one of the first to use ecological discourse for xenophobic purposes. (11) Capra and Spretnak also do not seem to understand why many Germans are so suspicious about ideas that bear a close resemblance to the Blut und Boden (Blood and soil) theories of the Nazis. Instead of analyzing this resemblance and continuity, they choose to ignore it and as a consequence they were uncritical of Rudolf Bahro's views that only a few years later culminated into a kind of spiritual fascism. (12)

Deep ecology is a very eclectic bag of ideas and there are yet other features that are very disturbing because of the reactionary implications. Fundamental for deep ecology is the completely unfounded assertion that the ecological crisis is caused by 'overpopulation'. There is not a single line in the vast literature on deep ecology that explains why this would be the case. It is simply a matter of faith for adherents of deep ecology and because of this, critique of this aspect has not resulted in a change of ideas in this matter. (13) Some of the supporters of deep ecology have publicly stated that AIDS and famines are nature's revenge on humankind and that we should not do anything about it. A case in point is Dave Foreman, an activist of the environmental direct action group Earth First!, who said in an interview to Bill Devall: “When I tell people how the worst we could do in Ethiopia is to give aid – the best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let the people there just starve – they think that is monstrous. But the alternative is that you go in and save these half-dead children who never will live a whole life. Their development will be stunted. And what is going to happen in ten years' time is that twice as many people will suffer and die. Likewise, letting the USA be an overflow valve for problems in Latin America is not solving a thing. It is just putting more pressure on resources we have in the USA. It is just causing more destruction of our wilderness, more poisoning of water and air, and it is not helping the problems in Latin America.” (14) Not a single protest against this raving was uttered by Devall, one of the leading exponents of deep ecology in the United States. We understand from his statements at the Gold and Green conference quoted above why Bill Devall did not bother to contradict Foreman. Deep ecology lacks a theory of the social causes of the environmental crisis and the only solution they can think of is a reduction of population. How to achieve this is not made clear, but some supporters do not exclude draconic, indeed eco-fascistic measures.

The anti-humanist notion of 'biocentrism', the notion that all living beings have equal 'intrinsic worth', is another disturbing feature in deep ecology. This 'biocentrism' has its counterpart in 'anthropocentrism', the view that human happiness and welfare should precede all other priorities. In the book The Arrogance of Humanism (1981) David Ehrenfeldt wrote in this 'biocentric' vain about the right of the smallpox-virus to exist. Since then tons of paper have been produced with articles about 'intrinsic worth', 'biocentric democracy', and 'biocentrism' and its implications. Indeed deep ecology has become a booming academic industry. The way seems to be opened for the discussion of how much human suffering and death is acceptable in the name of an 'ecological ethics'. Again, there is not the faintest idea about the social roots of the environmental problems. All people, regardless of their position in society, are held equally responsible for the destruction of the environment in this view. Humanity's 'original sin' was 'anthropocentrism' (theological words apply very neatly in this way of thinking). Deep ecologists have a very static view on nature or 'wilderness'. As important as they profess to value 'wilderness', they never explain very much the meaning of this concept. For them 'nature' is just a scenic view, untouched by human intervention even though in reality there is no 'wilderness' left on this earth. Nevertheless some deep ecologists want to exclude people from some areas, at least people not living 'traditional' (pre-1500 A.D., according to Foreman) lifestyles. (15) Hand in hand with their reverence for 'wild' nature goes a depreciation of science and technology. These are held responsible for the desacralization of nature and consequently the destruction of the environment. Bill Devall, in his usual subtle way, states it like this: “Students in natural resources sciences and management – are much like the guards in Nazi death camps.”

-- The Dark Side of Political Ecology, by Peter Zegers

He served as director of the Institute for Deep Ecology from 1995, and led transformational workshops around the world with his wife of 56 years, Joanna Macy, a leading Buddhist and systems theory teacher. Together they trained people to become leaders in the broader environmental movement.

Today, the term “dismal science” appropriately describes certain trends in the ecology movement-trends that seem to be riding on an overwhelming tide of religious revivalism and mysticism. I refer not to the large number of highly motivated, well-intentioned, and often radical environmentalists who are making earnest efforts to arrest the ecological crisis, but rather to exotic tendencies that espouse deep ecology, biocentrism, Gaian consciousness, and eco-theology, to cite the main cults that celebrate a quasi-religious “reverence” for “Nature” with what is often a simultaneous denigration of human beings and their traits.

Mystical ecologists, like many of today’s religious revivalists, view reason with suspicion and emphasize the importance of irrational and intuitive approaches to ecological issues. For the Reverend Thomas Berry, whom many regard as the foremost eco-theologian of our day, the “very rational process that we exalt as the only true way to understanding is by a certain irony discovered to be itself a mythic imaginative dream experience. The difficulty of our times is our inability to awaken out of this cultural pathology.”

One does not have to be a member of the clergy to utter such atavistic notions. In a more secular vein, Bill Devall and George Sessions, professors of sociology and philosophy, respectively, who wrote Deep Ecology, one of the most widely read books in mystical ecology, offer a message of “self-realization” through an immersion of the personal self in a hazy “Cosmic Self,” or, as they put it, a “‘self-in-Self’ where ‘Self’ stands for organic wholeness.”

The language of Deep Ecology is distinctly salvational: “This process of full unfolding of the self can also be summarized in the phrase: ‘No one is saved until we are all saved,’ where the phrase ‘one’ includes not only me, an individual human, but all humans, whales, grizzly bears, whole rain-forest ecosystems, mountains and rivers, the tiniest microbes in the soil, and so on.”

This hortatory appeal raises some highly disconcerting problems. The words “and so on” omit the need to deal with pathogenic microbes, animal vectors of lethal diseases, earthquakes, and typhoons, to cite less aesthetically satisfying beings and phenomena than whales, grizzly bears, wolves, and mountains. This selective view of “Mother Nature’s” biotic and physiographic inventory has raised some stormy problems for mystical ecology’s message of universal salvation.

Mystical ecologists tend to downgrade social issues by reducing human problems (a generally distasteful subject to them) to a “species” level-to matters of genetics. In the words of Pastor Berry, humanity must be “reinvented on the species level” by going “beyond our cultural coding, to our genetic coding, to ask for guidance.” The rhetoric that follows this passage in The Dream of the Earth verges on the mythopoeic, in which our “genetic coding” binds us “with the larger dimensions of the universe”-a universe that “carries the deep mysteries of our existence within itself.” Berry’s exhortations enjoy great popularity these days, and have been quoted with approval even in the conventional environmental literature, not to speak of the mystical variety.

Such cosmological evangelism, clothed in ecological verbiage, deprecates humanity. When human beings are woven into the “web of life” as nothing more than one of “Mother Nature’s” innumerable species, they lose their unique place in natural evolution as rational creatures of potentially unsurpassed qualities, endowed with a deeply social nature, creativity, and the capacity to function as moral agents.

“Anthropocentricity,” the quasi-theological notion that the world exists for human use, is derided by mystical ecologists in favor of the equally quasi-theological notion of “biocentricity,” namely, that all life-forms are morally interchangeable with one another in terms of their “intrinsic value.” In their maudlin Gaia Meditations, two mystical ecologists, John Seed and Joanna Macy, enjoin us human mortals to “think to your next death. Will your flesh and bones back into the cycle. Surrender. Love the plump worms you will become. Launder your weary being through the fountain of life.” In the mystically overbaked world of the American Sunbelt, such drivel tends to descend to the level of bumper-sticker slogans or is evoked in poetic recitations at various ashrams in Anglo-American cities and towns.

-- Will Ecology Become ‘the Dismal Science’?, by Murray Bookchin


1. Colorado Progressive Jewish News See ... or-1966-8/ accessed 25/6/2013
2. Earth Island Institute Centre for Safe Energy, see accessed 25/6/2013
3. San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday Jun 25, 2013
Earth Island Journal (2009) ( ... reports22/) accessed 25/6/2013
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Gestalt psychology
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Gestalt psychology or gestaltism (/ɡəˈʃtɑːlt, -ˈʃtɔːlt, -ˈstɑːlt, -ˈstɔːlt/;[1] from German: Gestalt [ɡəˈʃtalt] "shape, form") is a philosophy of mind of the Berlin School of experimental psychology. Gestalt psychology is an attempt to understand the laws behind the ability to acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world. The central principle of gestalt psychology is that the mind forms a global whole with self-organizing tendencies.

This principle maintains that when the human mind (perceptual system) forms a percept or "gestalt", the whole has a reality of its own, independent of the parts. The original famous phrase of Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka, "the whole is something else than the sum of its parts"
[2] is often incorrectly translated[3] as "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts", and thus used when explaining gestalt theory, and further incorrectly applied to systems theory.[4] Koffka did not like the translation. He firmly corrected students who replaced "other" with "greater". "This is not a principle of addition" he said.[5] The whole has an independent existence.

In the study of perception, Gestalt psychologists stipulate that perceptions are the products of complex interactions among various stimuli. Contrary to the behaviorist approach to focusing on stimulus and response, gestalt psychologists sought to understand the organization of cognitive processes (Carlson and Heth, 2010). Our brain is capable of generating whole forms, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of global figures instead of just collections of simpler and unrelated elements (points, lines, curves, etc.).

In psychology, gestaltism is often opposed to structuralism. Gestalt theory, it is proposed, allows for the deconstruction of the whole situation into its elements.[6]


The concept of gestalt was first introduced in philosophy and psychology in 1890 by Christian von Ehrenfels (a member of the School of Brentano). The idea of gestalt has its roots in theories by David Hume, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, David Hartley, and Ernst Mach. Max Wertheimer's unique contribution was to insist that the "gestalt" is perceptually primary, defining the parts it was composed from, rather than being a secondary quality that emerges from those parts, as von Ehrenfels's earlier Gestalt-Qualität had been.[citation needed]

Both von Ehrenfels and Edmund Husserl seem to have been inspired by Mach's work Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen (Contributions to the Analysis of Sensations, 1886), in formulating their very similar concepts of gestalt and figural moment, respectively. On the philosophical foundations of these ideas see Foundations of Gestalt Theory (Smith, ed., 1988).

Early 20th century theorists, such as Kurt Koffka, Max Wertheimer, and Wolfgang Köhler (students of Carl Stumpf) saw objects as perceived within an environment according to all of their elements taken together as a global construct. This 'gestalt' or 'whole form' approach sought to define principles of perception—seemingly innate mental laws that determined the way objects were perceived. It is based on the here and now, and in the way things are seen. Images can be divided into figure or ground. The question is what is perceived at first glance: the figure in front, or the background.

These laws took several forms, such as the grouping of similar, or proximate, objects together, within this global process. Although gestalt has been criticized for being merely descriptive,[7] it has formed the basis of much further research into the perception of patterns and objects (Carlson et al. 2000), and of research into behavior, thinking, problem solving and psychopathology.

Gestalt therapy

The founders of Gestalt therapy, Fritz and Laura Perls, had worked with Kurt Goldstein, a neurologist who had applied principles of Gestalt psychology to the functioning of the organism. Laura Perls had been a Gestalt psychologist before she became a psychoanalyst and before she began developing Gestalt therapy together with Fritz Perls.[8] The extent to which Gestalt psychology influenced Gestalt therapy is disputed, however. In any case it is not identical with Gestalt psychology. On the one hand, Laura Perls preferred not to use the term "Gestalt" to name the emerging new therapy, because she thought that the gestalt psychologists would object to it;[9] on the other hand Fritz and Laura Perls clearly adopted some of Goldstein's work.[10] Thus, though recognizing the historical connection and the influence, most gestalt psychologists emphasize that gestalt therapy is not a form of gestalt psychology.

Mary Henle noted in her presidential address to Division 24 at the meeting of the American Psychological Association (1975): "What Perls has done has been to take a few terms from Gestalt psychology, stretch their meaning beyond recognition, mix them with notions—often unclear and often incompatible—from the depth psychologies, existentialism, and common sense, and he has called the whole mixture gestalt therapy. His work has no substantive relation to scientific Gestalt psychology. To use his own language, Fritz Perls has done 'his thing'; whatever it is, it is not Gestalt psychology"[11] With her analysis however, she restricts herself explicitly to only three of Perls' books from 1969 and 1972, leaving out Perls' earlier work, and Gestalt therapy in general as a psychotherapy method.[12]

There have been clinical applications of Gestalt psychology in the psychotherapeutic field long before Perls'ian Gestalt therapy, in group psychoanalysis (Foulkes), Adlerian individual psychology, by Gestalt psychologists in psychotherapy like Erwin Levy, Abraham S. Luchins, by Gestalt psychologically oriented psychoanalysts in Italy (Canestrari and others), and there have been newer developments foremost in Europe, e.g. Gestalt theoretical psychotherapy.

Theoretical framework and methodology

The school of gestalt practiced a series of theoretical and methodological principles that attempted to redefine the approach to psychological research. This is in contrast to investigations developed at the beginning of the 20th century, based on traditional scientific methodology, which divided the object of study into a set of elements that could be analyzed separately with the objective of reducing the complexity of this object.

The theoretical principles are the following:

• Principle of Totality—The conscious experience must be considered globally (by taking into account all the physical and mental aspects of the individual simultaneously) because the nature of the mind demands that each component be considered as part of a system of dynamic relationships.
• Principle of psychophysical isomorphism – A correlation exists between conscious experience and cerebral activity.

Based on the principles above the following methodological principles are defined:

• Phenomenon experimental analysis—In relation to the Totality Principle any psychological research should take phenomena as a starting point and not be solely focused on sensory qualities.
• Biotic experiment—The school of gestalt established a need to conduct real experiments that sharply contrasted with and opposed classic laboratory experiments. This signified experimenting in natural situations, developed in real conditions, in which it would be possible to reproduce, with higher fidelity, what would be habitual for a subject.[13]

Support from cybernetics and neurology

In the 1940s and 1950s, laboratory research in neurology and what became known as cybernetics on the mechanism of frogs' eyes indicate that perception of 'gestalts' (in particular gestalts in motion) is perhaps more primitive and fundamental than 'seeing' as such:

A frog hunts on land by vision... He has no fovea, or region of greatest acuity in vision, upon which he must center a part of the image... The frog does not seem to see or, at any rate, is not concerned with the detail of stationary parts of the world around him. He will starve to death surrounded by food if it is not moving. His choice of food is determined only by size and movement. He will leap to capture any object the size of an insect or worm, providing it moves like one. He can be fooled easily not only by a piece of dangled meat but by any moving small object... He does remember a moving thing provided it stays within his field of vision and he is not distracted.[14]

The lowest-level concepts related to visual perception for a human being probably differ little from the concepts of a frog. In any case, the structure of the retina in mammals and in human beings is the same as in amphibians. The phenomenon of distortion of perception of an image stabilized on the retina gives some idea of the concepts of the subsequent levels of the hierarchy. This is a very interesting phenomenon. When a person looks at an immobile object, "fixes" it with his eyes, the eyeballs do not remain absolutely immobile; they make small involuntary movements. As a result the image of the object on the retina is constantly in motion, slowly drifting and jumping back to the point of maximum sensitivity. The image "marks time" in the vicinity of this point.[15]


The key principles of gestalt systems are emergence, reification, multistability and invariance.[16]


Reification is the constructive or generative aspect of perception, by which the experienced percept contains more explicit spatial information than the sensory stimulus on which it is based.


For instance, a triangle is perceived in picture A, though no triangle is there. In pictures B and D the eye recognizes disparate shapes as "belonging" to a single shape, in C a complete three-dimensional shape is seen, where in actuality no such thing is drawn.

Reification can be explained by progress in the study of illusory contours, which are treated by the visual system as "real" contours.


the Necker cube and the Rubin vase, two examples of multistability

Multistability (or multistable perception) is the tendency of ambiguous perceptual experiences to pop back and forth unstably between two or more alternative interpretations. This is seen, for example, in the Necker cube and Rubin's Figure/Vase illusion shown here. Other examples include the three-legged blivet and artist M. C. Escher's artwork and the appearance of flashing marquee lights moving first one direction and then suddenly the other. Again, gestalt does not explain how images appear multistable, only that they do.



Invariance is the property of perception whereby simple geometrical objects are recognized independent of rotation, translation, and scale; as well as several other variations such as elastic deformations, different lighting, and different component features. For example, the objects in A in the figure are all immediately recognized as the same basic shape, which are immediately distinguishable from the forms in B. They are even recognized despite perspective and elastic deformations as in C, and when depicted using different graphic elements as in D. Computational theories of vision, such as those by David Marr, have provided alternate explanations of how perceived objects are classified.

Emergence, reification, multistability, and invariance are not necessarily separable modules to model individually, but they could be different aspects of a single unified dynamic mechanism.[17]


The fundamental principle of gestalt perception is the law of prägnanz [de] (in the German language, pithiness), which says that we tend to order our experience in a manner that is regular, orderly, symmetrical, and simple. Gestalt psychologists attempt to discover refinements of the law of prägnanz, and this involves writing down laws that, hypothetically, allow us to predict the interpretation of sensation, what are often called "gestalt laws".[18]

Law of proximity

Law of similarity

Law of closure

Law of Symmetry

A major aspect of Gestalt psychology is that it implies that the mind understands external stimuli as whole rather than the sum of their parts. The wholes are structured and organized using grouping laws. The various laws are called laws or principles, depending on the paper where they appear—but for simplicity's sake, this article uses the term laws. These laws deal with the sensory modality of vision. However, there are analogous laws for other sensory modalities including auditory, tactile, gustatory and olfactory (Bregman – GP). The visual Gestalt principles of grouping were introduced in Wertheimer (1923). Through the 1930s and '40s Wertheimer, Kohler and Koffka formulated many of the laws of grouping through the study of visual perception.

1. Law of Proximity—The law of proximity states that when an individual perceives an assortment of objects, they perceive objects that are close to each other as forming a group. For example, in the figure that illustrates the Law of proximity, there are 72 circles, but we perceive the collection of circles in groups. Specifically, we perceive that there is a group of 36 circles on the left side of the image, and three groups of 12 circles on the right side of the image. This law is often used in advertising logos to emphasize which aspects of events are associated.[19][20]
2. Law of Similarity—The law of similarity states that elements within an assortment of objects are perceptually grouped together if they are similar to each other. This similarity can occur in the form of shape, colour, shading or other qualities. For example, the figure illustrating the law of similarity portrays 36 circles all equal distance apart from one another forming a square. In this depiction, 18 of the circles are shaded dark, and 18 of the circles are shaded light. We perceive the dark circles as grouped together and the light circles as grouped together, forming six horizontal lines within the square of circles. This perception of lines is due to the law of similarity.[20]
3. Law of Closure—The law of closure states that individuals perceive objects such as shapes, letters, pictures, etc., as being whole when they are not complete. Specifically, when parts of a whole picture are missing, our perception fills in the visual gap. Research shows that the reason the mind completes a regular figure that is not perceived through sensation is to increase the regularity of surrounding stimuli. For example, the figure that depicts the law of closure portrays what we perceive as a circle on the left side of the image and a rectangle on the right side of the image. However, gaps are present in the shapes. If the law of closure did not exist, the image would depict an assortment of different lines with different lengths, rotations, and curvatures—but with the law of closure, we perceptually combine the lines into whole shapes.[19][20][21]
4. Law of Symmetry—The law of symmetry states that the mind perceives objects as being symmetrical and forming around a center point. It is perceptually pleasing to divide objects into an even number of symmetrical parts. Therefore, when two symmetrical elements are unconnected the mind perceptually connects them to form a coherent shape. Similarities between symmetrical objects increase the likelihood that objects are grouped to form a combined symmetrical object. For example, the figure depicting the law of symmetry shows a configuration of square and curled brackets. When the image is perceived, we tend to observe three pairs of symmetrical brackets rather than six individual brackets.[19][20]
5. Law of Common Fate—The law of common fate states that objects are perceived as lines that move along the smoothest path. Experiments using the visual sensory modality found that movement of elements of an object produce paths that individuals perceive that the objects are on. We perceive elements of objects to have trends of motion, which indicate the path that the object is on. The law of continuity implies the grouping together of objects that have the same trend of motion and are therefore on the same path. For example, if there are an array of dots and half the dots are moving upward while the other half are moving downward, we would perceive the upward moving dots and the downward moving dots as two distinct units.[22]
6. Law of Continuity—The law of continuity states that elements of objects tend to be grouped together, and therefore integrated into perceptual wholes if they are aligned within an object. In cases where there is an intersection between objects, individuals tend to perceive the two objects as two single uninterrupted entities. Stimuli remain distinct even with overlap. We are less likely to group elements with sharp abrupt directional changes as being one object.[19]
7. Law of Good Gestalt—The law of good gestalt explains that elements of objects tend to be perceptually grouped together if they form a pattern that is regular, simple, and orderly. This law implies that as individuals perceive the world, they eliminate complexity and unfamiliarity so they can observe a reality in its most simplistic form. Eliminating extraneous stimuli helps the mind create meaning. This meaning created by perception implies a global regularity, which is often mentally prioritized over spatial relations. The law of good gestalt focuses on the idea of conciseness, which is what all of gestalt theory is based on. This law has also been called the law of Prägnanz.[19] Prägnanz is a German word that directly translates to mean "pithiness" and implies the ideas of salience, conciseness and orderliness.[22]
8. Law of Past Experience—The law of past experience implies that under some circumstances visual stimuli are categorized according to past experience. If two objects tend to be observed within close proximity, or small temporal intervals, the objects are more likely to be perceived together. For example, the English language contains 26 letters that are grouped to form words using a set of rules. If an individual reads an English word they have never seen, they use the law of past experience to interpret the letters "L" and "I" as two letters beside each other, rather than using the law of closure to combine the letters and interpret the object as an uppercase U.[22]


Some of the central criticisms of Gestaltism are based on the preference Gestaltists are deemed to have for theory over data, and a lack of quantitative research supporting Gestalt ideas. This is not necessarily a fair criticism as highlighted by a recent collection of quantitative research on Gestalt perception.[23]

Other important criticisms concern the lack of definition and support for the many physiological assumptions made by gestaltists[24] and lack of theoretical coherence in modern Gestalt psychology.[23]

In some scholarly communities, such as cognitive psychology and computational neuroscience, gestalt theories of perception are criticized for being descriptive rather than explanatory in nature. For this reason, they are viewed by some as redundant or uninformative. For example, Bruce, Green & Georgeson[7] conclude the following regarding gestalt theory's influence on the study of visual perception:

The physiological theory of the gestaltists has fallen by the wayside, leaving us with a set of descriptive principles, but without a model of perceptual processing. Indeed, some of their "laws" of perceptual organisation today sound vague and inadequate. What is meant by a "good" or "simple" shape, for example?

— Bruce, Green & Georgeson, Visual perception: Physiology, psychology and ecology

Gestalt views in psychology

Gestalt psychologists find it is important to think of problems as a whole. Max Wertheimer considered thinking to happen in two ways: productive and reproductive.[25]

Productive thinking is solving a problem with insight.

This is a quick insightful unplanned response to situations and environmental interaction.

Reproductive thinking is solving a problem with previous experiences and what is already known. (1945/1959).

This is a very common thinking. For example, when a person is given several segments of information, he/she deliberately examines the relationships among its parts, analyzes their purpose, concept, and totality, he/she reaches the "aha!" moment, using what is already known. Understanding in this case happens intentionally by reproductive thinking.

Another gestalt psychologist, Perkins, believes insight deals with three processes:

1. Unconscious leap in thinking.[18]
2. The increased amount of speed in mental processing.
3. The amount of short-circuiting that occurs in normal reasoning.[26]

Views going against the gestalt psychology are:

1. Nothing-special view
2. Neo-gestalt view
3. The Three-Process View

Gestalt psychology should not be confused with the gestalt therapy of Fritz Perls, which is only peripherally linked to gestalt psychology. A strictly gestalt psychology-based therapeutic method is Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy, developed by the German gestalt psychologist and psychotherapist Hans-Jürgen Walter and his colleagues in Germany, Austria (Gerhard Stemberger and colleagues) and Switzerland. Other countries, especially Italy, have seen similar developments.

Fuzzy-trace theory

Fuzzy-trace theory, a dual process model of memory and reasoning, was also derived from Gestalt psychology. Fuzzy-trace theory posits that we encode information into two separate traces: verbatim and gist. Information stored in verbatim is exact memory for detail (the individual parts of a pattern, for example) while information stored in gist is semantic and conceptual (what we perceive the pattern to be). The effects seen in Gestalt psychology can be attributed to the way we encode information as gist.[27][28]

Use in design

The gestalt laws are used in user interface design. The laws of similarity and proximity can, for example, be used as guides for placing radio buttons. They may also be used in designing computers and software for more intuitive human use. Examples include the design and layout of a desktop's shortcuts in rows and columns.[29]


An example of the Gestalt movement in effect, as it is both a process and result, is a music sequence. People are able to recognise a sequence of perhaps six or seven notes, despite them being transposed into a different tuning or key.[30]

Quantum cognition modeling

Similarities between Gestalt phenomena and quantum mechanics have been pointed out by, among others, chemist Anton Amann, who commented that "similarities between Gestalt perception and quantum mechanics are on a level of a parable" yet may give useful insight nonetheless.[31] Physicist Elio Conte and co-workers have proposed abstract, mathematical models to describe the time dynamics of cognitive associations with mathematical tools borrowed from quantum mechanics[32][33] and has discussed psychology experiments in this context. A similar approach has been suggested by physicists David Bohm, Basil Hiley and philosopher Paavo Pylkkänen with the notion that mind and matter both emerge from an "implicate order".[34][35] The models involve non-commutative mathematics; such models account for situations in which the outcome of two measurements performed one after the other can depend on the order in which they are performed—a pertinent feature for psychological processes, as an experiment performed on a conscious person may influence the outcome of a subsequent experiment by changing the state of mind of that person.

See also

• Psychology portal
• Amodal perception
• Cognitive grammar
• Fuzzy-trace theory
• Gestaltzerfall
• Graz School
• Hans Wallach
• Hermann Friedmann
• Important publications in Gestalt psychology
• James J. Gibson
• James Tenney
• Kurt Goldstein
• Laws of association
• Mereology
• Optical illusion
• Pál Schiller Harkai
• Pattern recognition (machine learning)
• Pattern recognition (psychology)
• Phenomenology
• Principles of grouping
• Rudolf Arnheim
• Solomon Asch
• Structural information theory
• Topological data analysis
• Wolfgang Metzger


1. "gestalt". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
2. Koffka 1935, Principles of Gestalt Psychology, p. 176
3. Tuck, Michael (Aug 17, 2010). "Gestalt Principles Applied in Design". Retrieved 2014-12-19.
4. David Hothersall: History of Psychology, chapter seven, (2004)
5. Heider, F. 1977. Cited in Dewey, R.A. 2007. Psychology: An introduction: Chapter four - The Whole is Other than the Sum of the Parts. Retrieved 4/12/2014.
6. Humphrey, G (1924). "The psychology of the gestalt". Journal of Educational Psychology. 15 (7): 401–412. doi:1 Bruce, V., Green, P. & Georgeson, M. (1996). Visual perception: Physiology, psychology and ecology (3rd ed.). LEA. p. 110.
8. Bernd Bocian: Fritz Perls in Berlin 1893–1933. Expressionism – Psychonalysis – Judaism, 2010, p. 190, EHP Verlag Andreas Kohlhage, Bergisch Gladbach.
9. Joe Wysong/Edward Rosenfeld (eds): An Oral History of Gestalt Therapy, Highland, New York 1982, The Gestalt Journal Press, p. 12.
10. Allen R. Barlow, "Gestalt-Antecedent Influence or Historical Accident", The Gestalt Journal, Volume IV, Number 2, (Fall, 1981)
11. Mary Henle 1975: Gestalt Psychology and Gestalt Therapy; Presidential address to Division 24 at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Chicago, September 1975. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 14, pp 23-32.
12. See Barlow criticizing Henle: Allen R. Barlow: Gestalt Therapy and Gestalt Psychology. Gestalt – Antecedent Influence or Historical Accident, in: The Gestalt Journal, Volume IV, Number 2, Fall, 1981.
13. William Ray Woodward, Robert Sonné Cohen – World views and scientific discipline formation: science studies in the German Democratic Republic : papers from a German-American summer institute, 1988
14. Lettvin, J.Y., Maturana, H.R., Pitts, W.H., and McCulloch, W.S. (1961). Two Remarks on the Visual System of the Frog. In Sensory Communication edited by Walter Rosenblith, MIT Press and John Wiley and Sons: New York
15. Valentin Fedorovich Turchin – The phenomenon of science – a cybernetic approach to human evolution – Columbia University Press, 1977
16. Steven., Lehar, (2003). The World in your Head: A Gestalt View of the Mechanism of Conscious Experience. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. ISBN 0805841768. OCLC 52051454.
17. "Gestalt Isomorphism". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
18. Sternberg, Robert, Cognitive Psychology Third Edition, Thomson Wadsworth© 2003.
19. Stevenson, Herb. "Emergence: The Gestalt Approach to Change". Unleashing Executive and Orzanizational Potential. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
20. Soegaard, Mads. "Gestalt Principles of form Perception". Interaction Design. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
21. "Why Your Brain Thinks These Dots Are a Dog". Gizmodo UK. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
22. Todorovic, Dejan. "Gestalt Principles". Scholarpedia. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
23. Jäkel, F., Singh, M., Wichmann, F. A., & Herzog, M. H. (2016), "An overview of quantitative approaches in Gestalt perception.", Vision Research, 126: 3–8, doi:10.1016/j.visres.2016.06.004
24. Schultz, Duane (2013). A History of Modern Psychology. Burlington: Elsevier Science. p. 291. ISBN 1483270084.
25. Sternberg, Robert, Cognitive Psychology Fourth Edition, Thomas Wadsworth© 2006.
26. Langley& associates, 1987; Perkins, 1981; Weisberg, 1986,1995"
27. Reyna, Valerie (2012). "A new institutionism: Meaning, memory, and development in Fuzzy-Trace Theory". Judgment and Decision Making. 7 (3): 332–359.
28. Barghout, Lauren (2014). "Visual Taxometric Approach to Image Segmentation Using Fuzzy-Spatial Taxon Cut Yields Contextually Relevant Regions". Information Processing and Management of Uncertainty in Knowledge-Based Systems: 163–173.
29. Soegaard, Mads. "Gestalt principles of form perception". Retrieved 2012-04-06.
30. Ellis, Willis D. (1999). A source book of Gestalt psychology (Vol 2 ed.). Psychology Press.
31. Anton Amann, The Gestalt problem in quantum theory: Generation of molecular shape by the environment. Synthese, October 1993, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 125–156; Das Gestaltproblem in der Chemie: Die Entstehung molekularer Form unter dem Einfluß der Umgebung, Gestalt Theory, 1992, 14(4), 228-265.
32. Conte, Elio; Todarello, Orlando; Federici, Antonio; Vitiello, Francesco; Lopane, Michele; Khrennikov, Andrei; Zbilut, Joseph P. (2007). "Some remarks on an experiment suggesting quantum-like behavior of cognitive entities and formulation of an abstract quantum mechanical formalism to describe cognitive entity and its dynamics". Chaos, Solitons & Fractals. 31 (5): 1076–1088. arXiv:0710.5092. Bibcode:2007CSF....31.1076C. doi:10.1016/j.chaos.2005.09.061.
33. Elio Conte, Orlando Todarello, Antonio Federici, Francesco Vitiello, Michele Lopane, Andrei Khrennikov: A Preliminary Evidence of Quantum Like Behavior in Measurements of Mental States, arXiv:quant-ph/0307201 (submitted 28 July 2003)
34. B.J. Hiley: Particles, fields, and observers, Volume I The Origins of Life, Part 1 Origin and Evolution of Life, Section II The Physical and Chemical Basis of Life, pp. 87–106 (PDF)
35. Basil J. Hiley, Paavo Pylkkänen: Naturalizing the mind in a quantum framework. In Paavo Pylkkänen and Tere Vadén (eds.): Dimensions of conscious experience, Advances in Consciousness Research, Volume 37, John Benjamins B.V., 2001, ISBN 90-272-5157-6, pages 119-144
• Carlson, Neil R. and Heth, C. Donald (2010) Psychology the Science of Behaviour Ontario, CA: Pearson Education Canada. pp 20–22.
• Smith, Barry (ed.) (1988) Foundations of Gestalt Theory, Munich and Vienna: Philosophia Verlag, 1988.

External links

• Gestalt psychology on Encyclopædia Britannica
• Gestalt principles article in Scholarpedia, by Dejan Todorović
• Journal "Gestalt Theory - An International Multidisciplinary Journal" in full text (open source)
• International Society for Gestalt Theory and its Applications – GTA
• Embedded Figures in Art, Architecture and Design
• On Max Wertheimer and Pablo Picasso
• On Esthetics and Gestalt Theory
• The World In Your Head – by Steven Lehar
• Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience – by Steven Lehar
• The new gestalt psychology of the 21st century
• The Pennsylvania Gestalt Center
• Ecological Approach to Visual Perception
• James J. Gibson in brief
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:27 pm

Survey of the Francis Underhill Macy papers
by Online Archive of California
Accessed: 4/3/19



Description: Correspondence, reports, meeting materials, notes, lists, memoranda, printed matter, and photographs, relating to nongovernmental exchange programs between Americans and citizens of the Soviet Union and its successor republics, and to promotion of Gestalt psychology, environmentalism, nuclear safety and alternative energy sources in the Soviet Union and its successor republics.

Extent: 16 manuscript boxes (6.4 linear feet)

Restrictions: For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Availability: Collection is open for research.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:11 am

Francis Underhill Macy - improved Russia relations
by Peter Fimrite
Published 4:00 am PST, Tuesday, February 10, 2009



Taken about 1986. obit photo of Francis Macy, dedicated environmentalist, energy activist and citizen diplomat, whose ground-breaking work inspired fresh collaborative ventures with the former Soviet Union, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack in Berkeley on January 20th at age 81. Photo: Family Photo, Courtesy Photo

A memorial service will be held on Feb. 21 for Francis Underhill Macy, an environmental activist and expert on Russian culture who dedicated much of his life as a citizen diplomat working to improve relations with people in the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Macy, who advocated for racial equality long before the civil rights movement and was a well-known opponent of nuclear proliferation, died Jan. 20 in his Berkeley home from a heart attack. He was 81.

Born in Evanston, Ill., he was the youngest of four brothers whose parents were involved in the theater. Known to everyone as Fran, he received a bachelor's degree in government in 1949 from Wesleyan University, where he also excelled as an actor.

The course of his life began to take shape at Wesleyan, where he did what was, at the time, almost unthinkable. He became roommates with a black man named Chuck Stone, who would become a prominent journalist.

The two men worked together at one point trying to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C., and became lifelong friends.

After graduation, he enrolled at Harvard, where he turned heads rooming with another African American. He received a master's in 1951 in Slavic studies at Harvard and learned to speak Russian.

In 1953, he married Joanna Rogers, who embraced her husband's activism and remained his compatriot for life.

He began working for the Russian-language station Radio Liberty, which was based in Munich, at the height of the Cold War. He worked for the U.S. Information Service, which sent American citizen diplomats around the world to talk to people about American values and democracy.

The NSC's Project Democracy

Efforts to create "political development" programs date back to the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War, when Congress discussed, but declined to approve, several bills to establish a "Freedom Academy" that would conduct party-building in the Third World. The passage of the Title IX addition to the Foreign Aid Act in 1966 spurred renewed interest in such an agency. The Brookings Institute, one of the most important policy planning institutes, undertook an extensive research program on political development programs in coordination with the AID and other government agencies.37 In 1967, President Johnson appointed the three-member Katzenback Commission which recommended that the government "promptly develop and establish a public-private mechanism to provide public funds openly for overseas activities of organizations which are adjudged deserving, in the national interest, of public support."38 A bill was introduced in Congress in 1967 by Rep. Dante Fascell (D.-Fla.) to create an "Institute of International Affairs," but it was not approved.39 Meanwhile, the public outcry against intervention abroad in the early 1970s as a result of the Indochina war and the revelations of CIA activities, as well as the Watergate scandal, put these initiatives on hold for much of that decade.

Then, in 1979, with reassertionism taking hold, a group of government officials, academicians, and trade union, business, and political leaders connected to the foreign-policy establishment, created the American Political Foundation (APF), with funding from the State Department's United States Information Agency (USIA) and from several private foundations. The APF brought together representatives of all the dominant sectors of US society, including both parties and leaders from labor and business. It also brought together many of the leading figures who had been developing the ideas of the new political intervention, many of them associated with the transnationalized fraction of the US elite.40 Among those on the APF board were Lane Kirkland of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), former Republican National Committee chair William Brock, former Democratic National Committee chair Charles Manatt, international vice-president for the US Chamber of Commerce Michael Samuels, as well as Frank Fahrenkopf, Congressman Dante Fascell, Zbignew Brezezinski, John Richardson, and Henry Kissinger. The APF was chaired by Allen Weinstein, who would later become the first president of the NED. The names of APF activists and the composition of the APF board are revealing. They fall into three categories. One is members of the inner circle of second-generation post-World War II national security and foreign policymakers, such as Kissinger, Brezezinski, and Richard Allen, all former National Security Advisors. Another is top representatives of the four major constituencies that made up the post-World War II foreign-policy coalition -- the Democratic and Republican parties, labor and business. The third is operatives from the US intelligence and national security community. These intelligence and security operatives include people associated with the CIA and dozens of front organizations or foundations with which it works, as well as operatives from the USIA.

The prominence of the USIA is significant, since this is an agency with a long track record in political and psychological operations. It was created by the Eisenhower administration in 1953 as an agency within the NSC at the recommendation of a top-secret report issued by the President's Committee on International Information Activities.
Its explicit purpose was to conduct propaganda, political and psychological operations abroad in conjunction with CIA activities.41 A National Security Action Memo in 1962 stipulated coordination among the USIA, the AID, the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department in waging political warfare operations, including civic action, economic and military aid programs.42 Based on research programs it conducts directly or commissions governmental and non-governmental agencies to conduct, the USIA selects propaganda themes, determines target audiences, and develops comprehensive country plans for media manipulation and communications programs. As part of Project Democracy, USIA activities were greatly expanded in the 1980s.43

The APF recommended in 1981 that a presidential commission examine "how the US could promote democracy overseas." The White House approved the recommendation for Project Democracy. At its onset, Project Democracy was attached to the NSC, and supervised by Walter Raymond Jr., a high-ranking CIA propaganda specialist who worked closely with Oliver North, a key player in the Iran-Contra scandal, on covert projects.44 "Overt political action," explained Raymond, could help achieve foreign-policy objectives by providing "support to various institutions [and]... the development of networks and personal relationships with key people."45 Raymond explained that the creation of the NED as a "vehicle for quasi-public/private funds" would fill a "key gap" in US foreign-policy -- it would be a "new art form."46 Raymond and his staff at the NSC worked closely with Democratic Congressman Dante Fascell of Florida. Fascell chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee which would draft the legislation creating the NED and organized support for the project within Congress.47

In June 1982, in a speech before the British parliament considered the symbolic inauguration of the new policy, Ronald Reagan announced that the United States would pursue a major new program to help "foster the infrastructure of democracy around the world."48 A secret White House memo on the minutes of a Cabinet-level planning meeting to discuss Project Democracy held two months later, in August, set the agenda: "We need to examine how law and Executive Order can be made more liberal to permit covert action on a broader scale, as well as what we can do through substantially increased overt political action."49 Then, in January 1983, Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 77 (NSDD 77), which laid out a comprehensive framework for employing political operations and psychological warfare in US foreign policy. At least $65 million was allocated by the administration to underwrite the activities and programs contemplated in the NSC directive.50 NSDD 77 focused on three aspects of Project Democracy.51 One aspect was dubbed "public diplomacy" -- psychological operations aimed at winning support for US foreign policy among the US public and the international community -- and involved an expansion of propaganda and informational and psychological operations. The directive defined "public diplomacy" as "those actions of the US Government designed to generate support for our national security objectives." An Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD) operating out of the White House was established.52 The General Accounting Office ruled OPD an illegal domestic propaganda operation in 1988. Another aspect set out in the NSC directive was an expansion of covert operations. This aspect would develop into the clandestine, illegal government operations later exposed in the hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s. Parallel to "the public arm of Project Democracy, now known as the National Endowment for Democracy," noted the New York Times, "the project's secret arm took an entirely different direction after Lieut.-Col. Oliver I. North, then an obscure National Security Council aide, was appointed to head it."53

The final aspect was the creation of a "quasi-governmental institute." This would engage in "political action strategies" abroad, stated NSDD 77.54 This led to the formal incorporation of the NED by Congress in November 1983. While the CIA and the NSC undertook "covert" operations under Project Democracy, some of which were exposed in the Iran-Contra investigations, the NED and related agencies went on to execute the "overt" side of what the New York Times described as "open and secret parts" of Project Democracy, "born as twins" in 1982 with NSDD 77.55 But while the Iran-Contra covert operations that grew out of Project Democracy were exposed and (assumed to be) terminated, the NED was consolidated and expanded as the decade progressed. With the mechanisms in place by the mid-1980s, the "reassertionists" turned to launching their global "democracy offensive." "The proposed campaign for democracy must be conceived in the broadest terms and must weave together a wide range of superficially disparate aspects of US foreign policy, including the efforts of private groups," noted one Project Democracy consultant. "A democracy campaign should become an increasingly important and highly cost-effective component of ... the defense effort of the United States and its allies."56 The countries in which the NED became most involved in the 1980s and early 1990s were those set as priorities for US foreign-policy. "Such a worldwide effort (a 'crusade for democracy'] directly or indirectly must strive to achieve three goals," one Project Democracy participant explained. "The preservation of democracies from internal subversion by either the Right or the Left; the establishment of new democracies where feasible; and keeping open the democratic alternative for all nondemocracies. To achieve each of these goals we must struggle militarily, economically, politically and ideologically."57

In countries designated as hostile and under Soviet influence, such as Nicaragua and Afghanistan, the United States organized "freedom fighters" (anti-government insurgents) in the framework of low-intensity conflict doctrine, while the NED and related organs introduced complementary political programs. Those countries designated for transition from right-wing military or civilian dictatorships to stable "democratic" governments inside the US orbit, including Chile, Haiti, Paraguay, and the Philippines, received special attention. By the late 1980s and early 1990s ,the NED had also launched campaigns in Cuba, Vietnam, and other countries on the US enemy list, and had also become deeply involved in the self-proclaimed socialist countries, including the Soviet Union itself. While these first programs were tied to the 1980s anti-communist crusade, the NED and other "democracy promotion" agencies made an easy transition to the post-Cold War era. As the rubric of anti-communism and national security became outdated, the rhetoric of "promoting democracy" took on even greater significance. Perestroika and glasnost highlighted authentic democratization as an aspiration of many peoples. But US strategists saw in the collapse of the Soviet system an opportunity to accelerate political intervention under the cover of promoting democracy. In the age of global society, the NED and other "democracy promotion" organs have become sophisticated instruments for penetrating the political systems and civil society in other countries down to the grassroots level.

-- Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony, by William I. Robinson

In 1961, Mr. Macy led the first ever citizen diplomatic mission into the USSR. The group of Russian-speaking American graduate students were the first Americans many locals had ever met.

"The word got out and, rain or shine, there were long lines of people waiting to talk to young Americans," said Mr. Macy's wife, who accompanied him on the mission. "It changed their attitude about Americans. They saw for the first time that Americans were real people, not the rich capitalist racists who fit into the Stalinist stereotype."

It was such a moving experience that Mr. Macy turned down a prestigious government posting in Moscow and joined the Peace Corps. He also took time to join the 1963 March on Washington and was there when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

"Fran saw that when you bring people together, magic happens," said his wife.

Between 1964 and 1972, he served as deputy Peace Corps director in India, country director in Tunisia and Nigeria and finally as director of all Peace Corps programs in Africa.

In 1983, Mr. Macy organized an exchange program. He has since taken delegations of educators, environmentalists, psychologists and civic organizers to Russia and the former Soviet republics for talks and professional training.

He got involved in nuclear issues after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, which occurred while he was in Russia. In 1995 he founded the Earth Island Institute's Center for Safe Energy, which has trained hundreds of activists in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

He and his wife, an activist, author and teacher of Buddhist theory, have been involved in many local environmental groups and causes, including the Nuclear Guardianship Project, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability and Tri-Valley CARES, a watchdog group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his sons, Christopher of Amsterdam and Jack of Berkeley; his daughter, Peggy Macy of Berkeley; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:50 am

Kremlin angry as Radio Liberty Airs: After delay, U.S.-financed broadcasts begin in Chechnya today
by Anna Badkhen
Chronicle Staff Writer
Published 4:00 am PST, Wednesday, April 3, 2002



Moscow -- Today's premiere of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in the volatile North Caucasus region -- including breakaway Chechnya -- may sour U.S.-Russia relations, the Kremlin says.

"The launch of the service is likely to fuel extremism not only in Russia but elsewhere in the world, given the ties between Chechen terrorists and international terrorist groups," said Alexei Volin, the Putin administration's deputy chief of staff.

The U.S.-financed broadcast in local North Caucasus languages had been scheduled to begin in late February but was delayed at the request of the State Department on the ground that it could set back efforts to start a dialogue with Moscow on ending the Chechnya war, according to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.

Some analysts, however, said Washington was more afraid of upsetting its budding partnership with Russia in the war against terrorism.

Russia, which is fighting its second war in separatist Chechnya since 1994, portrays Chechen rebels as terrorists who deserve no media coverage. Russian journalists generally accept the Kremlin's spin on the war -- that the army is fighting the good fight to rid the region of Islamic rebels.

"This move (by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) is incompatible with the common fight against terror and with the spirit of budding relations of partnership between Russia and the United States," read a Foreign Ministry statement handed to a senior U.S. diplomat yesterday.

"Launching specific propaganda broadcasts in the region, including Chechnya, could seriously complicate efforts by the (Russian) government to stabilize the situation in the area."

The Russian military force has been accused of random detentions of Chechen civilians, arbitrary killings and demanding bribes for the release of imprisoned Chechens and even for dead bodies. These actions have been reported by Western journalists but have never been broadcast on Russian television.

The Kremlin says the U.S. view of the campaign, reflected by previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, inflates the brutality of Russian troops and diminishes the atrocities committed by the rebels in the name of independence.

The few Chechens who have television sets are allowed to see only Russian reports based on information provided by the army. Moscow has set up a radio station that broadcasts in Chechen, but local citizens say the coverage is biased.

As a result, many Chechens who speak Russian have turned to the Russian services of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty or the BBC as their main source of news.

Tom Dine, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, said the new service will provide "perspectives that you cannot get elsewhere" in Chechen, Avar and Circassian -- the languages spoken by ethnic groups in Chechnya and the republics of Dagestan and Karachayevo-Cherkessia.

"Our news will be of the region, produced by correspondents who are in the region," Dine said. "We'll be able to let people think things through in their own language."

Dine said the station plans to use correspondents based in Brussels, Grozny, Chechnya's capital; Nazran, the capital of the republic of Ingushetia; and Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. The two-hour broadcasts will be put together in Prague and transmitted from Istanbul.

The Kremlin's Volin, however, fears that some programming in Chechen will be done by "members of Chechen radical groups," an allegation Dine vehemently denies.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives funds from the U.S. government. It was established in 1949 to spread pro-Western news to Eastern European countries and to promote democratic values and institutions. In 1975, it merged with Radio Liberty, which had been broadcasting in the Soviet Union.

The station became a symbol of democracy and free speech in the Soviet Union, where millions of people secretly listened to its broadcasts that were banned and jammed by the KGB.

When former President Boris Yeltsin came to power after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he embraced the radio station and even signed a decree to create its Moscow-based Russian service.

The honeymoon ended after Russia sent troops into Chechnya for the second time more than two years ago. In 2000, Russian troops arrested and held for several weeks a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reporter named Andrei Babitsky, who had angered Moscow by frequently interviewing Chechen rebels.

When the U.S. Congress first opted last year to finance broadcasts to the North Caucasus region, the Kremlin called the decision "interference into Russia's internal affairs" and threatened to shut down the station's Russia service.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:23 am

A Look Back … The National Committee for Free Europe, 1949
by Central Intelligence Agency
Historical Document
Posted: May 29, 2007 04:10 PM
Last Updated: May 25, 2017 03:14 PM



On June 1, 1949, a group of prominent American businessmen, lawyers, and philanthropists – including Allen Dulles, who would become Director of Central Intelligence in 1953 – launched the National Committee for Free Europe (NCFE) at a press release in New York. Only a handful of people knew that NCFE was actually the public face of an innovative "psychological warfare" project undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That operation – which soon gave rise to Radio Free Europe – would become one of the longest running and successful covert action campaigns ever mounted by the United States.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.

The book is based on extensive archival research both in the United States and in Germany, Poland, and Hungary, as well as on interviews and the author’s own experiences. It uses CIA materials, in part declassified at the request of the author, extensively. Johnson concentrates on the origins and role of RFE/RL in the context of U.S. national security strategy, with particular attention to the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in covertly organizing and funding RFE/RL from 1949 to 1971. And he details RFE activities during the most important East European crises of the era—Poland and Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

-- Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond, by A. Ross Johnson

George Kennan of the Department of State could be considered the godfather of NCFE. He – more than any other official – pressed the National Security Council to reorganize covert action planning and management. This resulted in the creation of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) at the CIA in September 1948 and the appointment of the visionary OSS veteran Frank G. Wisner as its chief.

Kennan proposed that OPC work through an "American freedom committee" in dealing with anti-Communist émigré groups in the United States to develop operations abroad. The idea was to fund selected émigrés in their activities to demonstrate that the newly imposed Soviet-style dictatorships in Eastern Europe oppressed the aspirations of their people. NCFE was the American umbrella for these exiled European figures in the United States, raising private funds through Crusade for Freedom to supplement CIA funding and organizing exile activities to reach back to their occupied homelands.

From the start, Wisner and OPC regarded NCFE as one of their signature operations. As the Cold War reached perhaps its most dangerous phase, NCFE and other projects (such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1950, and Radio Liberty, which began broadcasts to the Soviet Union in 1953) rallied anti-Communist intellectuals, politicians, and activists to fight the Soviets in a contest for the peoples' "minds and loyalties."

NCFE soon gave rise to its more famous progeny, Radio Free Europe, which began broadcasting behind the Iron Curtain on July 4, 1950. Radio Free Europe aired programs to Eastern Europe in six languages. For decades, it was a beacon of hope to people who had otherwise lost access to the outside world.

CIA subsidies to the Free Europe Committee (NCFE's later name) ended in 1971, after Sen. Clifford P. Case (R-NJ) revealed that it received covert assistance. After that date, all CIA involvement ended, and Radio Free Europe was publicly funded by Congressional appropriation through the presidentially appointed Board for International Broadcasting. RFE merged with Radio Liberty (RL) in 1976 in a new non-profit corporation, RFE/RL, Inc. Oversight was assumed in 1995 by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, responsible for all non-military U.S. international broadcasting.

Today the programs of RFE/RL – radio, internet, television, and mobile – reach 27 million people in 26 languages and 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans, as well as the Baltic states.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:25 am

Radio Liberty, the CIA on the beach of Girona
by Irina Schytcheva
5 March, 2019




Radio Liberty was an American radio station built in Costa Brava in the Cold War, to broadcast anti-Communist propaganda. This media was a prop provided by the United States to strengthen the Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. Specifically designed for the CIA, The Central Intelligence Agency, a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of US. This radio was located on the beach of Pals in Girona. A city located 99 km northeast of Barcelona, at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants, and Güell. One of the biggest Catalan cities and where you will find the amazing Dalí museum!

What were the antecedents of its creation?

The rapprochement campaign began in 1937 in the New York Times. In 1943, the Special Services Office of the CIA sent to Spain the wife of the Count of Romanones, Aline Griffith. In 1947 Franco dictated the Law of Successión or “Ley de Sucesión” “Spain will be a Kingdom”, they sign then with the “kingdom of Spain”. Foster Dulles and William F. Jr. Buckley praised the figure of Franco in 1957. That year the agreement was signed to mount the station. Buckley’s brother, James L, was president of RFE-RL from 1982-1985.

The interior of Radio Liberty

Who supported the radio?

The pillars of the radio were: the CIA, large companies with their economic contributions and the military. Its work was to issue propaganda to the countries of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (URSS) with the objective of “achieving its liberalization”. They did it from Spain that was kidnapped by a dictatorship. It was one of the most powerful in the world, with the most innovative material at the time.

Why on the beach of Pals?

The Americans decided to build it in this little paradise of Costa Brava because of its strategic position, since the waves that emitted bounced with the stratosphere and went directly to the city of Moscow.
Marina Capdevila wanted to give life and color to this building, painting more than 2000 m2 of surface in 12 days of hard work. See this magic and historic place from the top in this video!

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:46 am

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond (review)
by Malcolm Byrne
Journal of Cold War Studies
The MIT Press
Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 2012, pp. 213-215



In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by Malcolm Byrne: A. Ross Johnson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond. Washington, DC: Wilson Center Press, 2010. 304 pp. $55.00.

A video marking 60 years of broadcasting at Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) begins with a grainy, black-and-white clip of Ronald Reagan narrating a promotional film about the radios. As footage of a radio tower rolls by, Reagan intones: "This powerful 135,000-watt Radio Free Europe transmitter pierces the Iron Curtain with the truth, answering the lies of the Kremlin, and bringing a message of hope to millions."

This tongue-in-cheek glimpse of a bygone era is entertaining, but the segment also unintentionally points up one of several ambiguities that have shadowed RFE and RL ever since Ramparts magazine and The New York Times published articles in 1967 exposing the radios' ties to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Were the stations supposed to be independent sources of news and information, as their sponsors claimed? Or were they just propaganda tools of the U.S. government, as the ham-handed Reagan promotional video unwittingly suggests?

Ross Johnson's fervent hope in this valuable new book is to be able finally to settle some of these nagging questions and misperceptions. By focusing on RFE's and RL's formative first two decades, he not only fills a gap in the literature but manages to convey many of the subtleties and complexities about the radios' formation and early development that helped give rise to their somewhat ambiguous image.

The chief cause of this ambiguity was RFE's and RL's relationship to the CIA. Johnson does not see that connection as a problem and explains why in his view the agency turned out to be a helpful, even necessary, institutional base. One reason was policy-related. George Kennan conceived of the idea to establish a broadcasting operation using Soviet-bloc émigrés as a weapon of psychological warfare, which placed it squarely under the purview of institutions like Frank Wisner's Office of Policy Coordination and the CIA.

The relationship also had a financial basis. Voice of America (VOA) already existed through public funding. In the postwar environment it was highly unlikely that Congress would be willing to appropriate money for a second, similar-sounding government radio operation. Far easier to use the agency's clandestine funds.

Another source of confusion is the fact that the nature of RFE's and RL's mission changed over time. RFE's first broadcasts out of New York in July 1951 were unvarnished propaganda salvos against the Soviet-bloc regimes—"short and negative," reflecting the perspective of U.S. hardliners. Only after management succeeded, following some political and bureaucratic struggle, in transferring production and transmission [End Page 213] operations from New York to Munich did "a second RFE" emerge, eventually developing a quite different role as "surrogate broadcaster" for the captive nations. The service would no longer be a simple mouthpiece for the United States but one run substantially by émigré broadcasters who were thought to know best what would work with their audiences.

The decision to grant considerable autonomy to the individual services was critical to RFE's (and RL's) long-term success. But it also played a part during RFE's bleakest episode—the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Johnson calls that experience "the story that never dies." His defense of the overarching—and relatively circumspect—official policies that were in effect well before the uprising is spirited but also well-sourced. So is his critique of certain instances in which the guidance coming from headquarters was not honored in the breach. The violations that did occur, he says, were less dire than many have believed. What is more, the really egregious broadcasts more likely came from the "many other foreign radio stations" that were broadcasting to Hungary during the revolution (such as the right-wing Radio Madrid).

Some of these points are disputed by other researchers (and certainly many Hungarians are unlikely to be persuaded), but Johnson's access to all the available recordings, log tapes...
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