BEATLE’S PLEA FULFILLED – 50 YEARS LATER – City of Seattle Resolution offers Condemnation

Written in January 2020

August 1st, 1971 represents a turning point in the history of Progressive Humanitarianism. For the first time name and fame were harnessed for the direct benefit of the nameless and forgotten. This was the Concert for Bangladesh and it was the first major benefit concert in history.

Former Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr along with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell and the band Badfinger along with Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Alla Rakha Qureshi and Kamala Chakravarty gathered together on behalf of the suffering people of Bangladesh. Working with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) the effort raised millions of dollars on behalf of the refugees of the 1971 Bangladesh war and famine.

It was a truly historic moment that has been recognized as “a brief incandescent revival of all that was best about the Sixties” Rolling Stone Magazine. Billboard magazine, “no politics involved. What is involved is starving children and for once, relief through 35 musicians who should represent the feeling of anyone who loves their music.”

Bangladeshi historian Farida Majid,”the “warmth, care and goodwill” of the August 1971 concerts “echoed all over the world.” Many were inspired to volunteer with UNICEF while others offered private donations to the Bangladesh disaster fund.

In June 1972 UNICEF honored George Harrison and Ravi Shankar with the “Child Is the Father of the Man” award for their ‘pioneering’ fundraising efforts for the refugees of Bangladesh. Bob Geldof also publicly acknowledged The Concert for Bangladesh as the inspiration for his 1985 Live Aid event recently highlighted in the film Bohemian Rhapsody.

In the aftermath of the Concert for Bangladesh, however, politics and the US government reared their ugly heads. Thus a majority of the charitable funds were held up in an IRS escrow account for 10 years before being released to the refugees of Bangladesh. Now on Feb 3rd, this coming Monday, the City of Seattle may add its dose of cold cynical dehumanizing politics to the lives of these very same refugees.

Read on to connect the dots.

Despite the efforts of George Harrison and company, the suffering and trauma has not ended for the victims of the Bangladesh crisis. 49 years later, thousands of Bangladeshi Refugees have remained Stateless. The Indian Government and the world’s various Human Rights organizations seemed powerless to help.

As an avid Beatle’s fan, amateur historian, community organizer and cultural activist I was keen to investigate the conditions of the people Harrison was so moved to help. Beyond sitting comfortable in Seattle, scanning Wikipedia for information, I personally went to Kolkata and West Bengal, India. Travelling the Indo-Bangladeshi border regions i met these people face to face. I saw the ground reality and put the faces of real human beings to the reports and statistics.

Screen Cap from my interview video with the Bangladeshi Hindu Refugees

During my 3 weeks there, I met hundreds of Hindu refugees living in squalor. With no land of their own, to this day they live in ramshackle structures hanging shelf-like above sewage clogged streams and river canals. I interviewed many victims of ethnic cleansing, rape and genocide. Heartbreaking scenes of helpless people holding pictures of murdered loved ones, copies of police and news reports confirming their accounts of violence, rape, land-loss, ethnic cleansing and mass murder. I was ashamed to the point of helplessness.

As a White American they assumed help was finally on its way for undoubtedly I could share their reports with the US President. I cried with them as they cried helplessly. Through the interpreter I had to gently reveal my inability to do anything beyond record their information and hopefully get the attention of others capable of helping to take note of their plight.

This was nearly 8 years ago. Beyond uploading their interviews to Youtube, I have been unable to help them.

Last December the Indian Government passed the CAA or Citizen Amendment Act. Finally the Indian Government was giving them full citizenship! My heart jumped for joy. Finally these suffering people for whom a Beatle appealed and the world soon forgot not only have a chance to live but can now thrive in their adopted homes.

Yet the world being what it is, and Indian politics, perhaps the world’s most tumultuous and chaotic, began to convulse. The Indian Government for its part clumsily enacted the bill ignoring the bad optics of the easily misconstrued Religious identity clause. Yet despite this, in the end, for all intents and purposes, the bill directly and positively impacts the lives of the Bangladeshi Refugees.

While the Muslim Bangladeshis gained an entire new country, The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the worlds 8th most populated country, it is overwhelmingly Muslim and is politically and socially Islamic. It is in fact the site of the 2nd largest Islamic religious gathering in the world. Obviously Bangladeshi Muslims have a safe place to call home.

Meanwhile the non-Muslim minorities that fled Bangladesh remained stateless. This CAA bill once and for all finally addresses this disparity.

Despite the great strides made by the Bangladeshi Government, Bangladeshi minorities continue to flee to India. There is obviously no safe space for them thus they flee.

Even today as the world rallies to the support of the Rohingya Muslims, Burmese Rohingya Hindus are denied help in Bangladeshi refugee camps for they rank lowest on the social totem pole. And in India thousands upon thousands of Bangladeshi Hindus remained Stateless, landless, forgotten living in squalid refugee camps. Finally more than 49 years after the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, this CAA bill represents the first glimmer of hope in their lives.

Thus for me, having actually met these people, having seen their plight and knowing their suffering first hand, I can accurately recognize this as a true fulfillment of the Humanitarian promise initiated by George Harrison’s concern made real by his Concert for Bangladesh.

In the 1970s and 1980s the US Government and IRS cold-heartedly withheld millions of dollars of Bangladeshi refugee funds. Now once again a branch of the US government is set to proclaim to the entire world and to these very same suffering Refugees that they do not count. In fact, in the words of the refugees, they see it as ethnic and ideologically based hatred coming from the USA. Good going Seattle!

How is this happening?! A resolution to be voted on Feb 3rd by the Seattle City Council is the culprit. Council member Kshama Sawant’s cold hearted politically calculated bill, while speaking high sounding words of concern and humanitarianism is in fact a cynical weaponized tool that dehumanizes an entire people. Beyond that it enables mass rape, ethnic cleansing and genocide for it attacks the final positive resolution that has finally brought hope into the lives of the victims involved.

By totally ignoring the Bangladeshi Refugees, Sawant’s resolution dehumanizes them for it loudly proclaims that their concerns are irrelevant and their suffering unworthy of mention what to speak of mitigation.

While the Indian Government was admittedly clumsy in its presentation of the CAA bill, if Progressive Seattle wants to respond, it can and must do better.

As the largest US city named after an Indigenous personality, Chief Se’ahl, Seattle is currently a leader in promoting equality and justice for all and in the recognition of the tragedies experienced by indigenous people. And these Bangladeshi Refugees are as indigenous as one can get.

Will Seattle now be at the forefront of condemning a living Indigenous community to irrelevance? Will the City of Seattle put the knife in their hearts by condemning their chance for a life of dignity by officially censuring the CAA as an act of hatred? Will the City of Seattle allow itself to be abused as a weapon in the ideological rivalries of chaotic and traumatised South Asian politics? Is the City of Seattle about to enact its own form of official dehumanization exemplified by the US Federal governments seizure of Bangladeshi charitable funds for these very same refugees?

It is a fact that strong emotions can cloud the mind and hijack reason. This resolution presented by Kshama Sawant appears to count on that. It is unscrupulous for it abuses our collective sense of fairplay and compassion in an attempt to punish Sawant’s ideological rivals in India.

Yet when seen through the prism of the thousands of very real human beings I met who are now benefiting from the CAA it is imperative to recognize what it truly means on the human level.

Therefore I urge the City of Seattle to reject this bill. Kshama Sawant is misleading our community in her attempt to harness our goodwill as a political weapon. Her resolution de-personizes an entire people. It is not representative of our Seattle. If passed it will represent a tragic betrayal of the humanitarian and compassionate ethos at the heart of our city.

It is in fact a direct rejection of the 1960s peace and love anti-war and Universal Goodwill exemplified by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s Concert for Bangladesh for it condemns the upliftment of the very same people their concert was meant to help.

If the city of Seattle truly wants to address the various humanitarian traumas that have long plagued South Asia, and if the City of Seattle is truly sincere about the human rights of all people, then the city of Seattle must officially offer these long-suffering Bangladeshi refugees asylum.

The current resolution as it stands now, is severely flawed and if passed will be trumpeted throughout India causing further anguish and traumatization of the Bangladeshi refugees. Is that truly the message the City of Seattle wants to send them?

Seems impossible for it is not a true reflection of our Seattle. Clearly it would be a heart breaking step backwards in our Collective efforts towards building a truly compassionate and socially responsible Society.

Ancient Syria’s Hari Culture & Akhenaten’s Eye of God

Note: Originally compiled and written in 1999, the article has been updated with relevant data and images.

Around 4,000 years ago,the Hurrians (The Hari) controlled an important empire called Mitanni. Known as the ‘nhrn’ (Naharin) by the ancient Egyptians, it is principally among the Mitanni that Vedic Aryan names and words occur. The Mitanni Capital City was known as Wasukanni or Vasukanni, a Sanskrit word translated as ‘mine of wealth’, but is in fact related to a Sanskrit name of God Vasudeva.

Mitanni capital was Wassukanni / Washukanni and its location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the River Habur, a tributary of the Euphrates. Washukanni is similar to the Kurdish word bashkani, bash meaning good and kanî meaning well or source (Kurdish has the same name, kani, for well and source). The Luwian word vasu also means good. The name is similar to the Sanskrit word vasukhani meaning ‘mine of wealth‘. Source

In a famous treaty between the Hittite ruler Suppiluliuma and the Mitanni king, Mattiwaza,(Mattiraja) about 1370 BC, the Aryan gods Mithra, Varuna, Indra and the twin Nasatyas are mentioned. Thus in the Mitanni kingdom Aryan gods were worshipped as well as Mesopotamian deities, which indicates an “Aryan Vedic element.”

Suttarna, son of Kirta, King of Mittani Cylinder seal impression of Suttarna, son of Kirta (Collon 1975) (Legend; Suttarna, son of Kirta, King of Mittani)

In this particular treaty, between the Hittite King Shuppilulima and Mattiwaza (Mattiraja), king of the Hurrian (Hari)kingdom of Mitanni circa 1350 BC, listed among the divine witnesses “Mitra-ash, Uruwana, Indra, and the Nashatiyanu gods, the very Mithra, Varuna, Indra, and the Nasatya gods of the Vedic/Hindu pantheon”

Two lions are defeated by a central single human-headed lion-man in bird costume; A Dynastic Emblem of Mitanni King Shaushtatar, 1450 BC. Note the Winged Disc overhead. This was ancient humanity’s visual symbol of Hari (God), Sudarshan = auspicious vision with the Eagle Garuda

Another treatise from the State Archives of the Hittite Empire was discovered in Boghaz-keui in modern Turkey. It is a treatise on chariot racing and it uses Sanskrit words such as “Aikavartana=One Turn, Teravartana=Three Turns, Panzavartana=Five Turns, Sattavartana=Seven Turns.”

Mitanni Seal 1500–1350 B.C.

“The Hittite archives of Hattusa, near present-day Bogazkale contained what is the oldest surviving horse training manual in the world. The elaborate work was written c. 1345 BCE on four tablets and contains 1080 lines by a Mitanni horse trainer named Kikkuli. It begins with the words, “Thus speaks Kikkuli, master horse trainer of the land of Mitanni” and uses various Indo-Iranian words for horse colours, numbers and names. Examples: Assussanni a form of Sanskrit asva-sani meaning ‘horse trainer’, aika wartanna meaning one turn (cf. Vedic Sanskrit ek vartanam),
tera wartanna meaning three turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit tri vartanam),
panza wartanna meaning five turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit panca vartanam),
satta wartanna meaning seven turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit sapta vartanam), and navartanna meaning nine turns (cf. Vedic Sanskrit nava vartanam).” Source

Mitanni Divinities. Source: The Hurrians – William Gerhot

Excavations in El-Amarna, Egypt have revealed that during the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, Kings and Princes with typical Vedic names were ruling in the region of modern day Syria. Some of these names are Artamanya, Aryavirya, Yashodatta, Barattarna, Dushrata and Suttarna.

The royal seal of the King of Mitanni Sauššatar or Shaushtatar (late 15th century BC-c. 1440-1410 BC) was a winged eight-pointed sun disk, flanked by two lions and two eagles.

From Mitannian proper names such as Shuwardatta one can also infer the presence of the Vedic Sun God Surya in the Mitanni pantheon. Surya was also worshiped by the Vedic Aryan Kings of Babylon, the Kassites, by the name of Suryash.

The so-called Sun worshipping ‘heresy’ of Pharaoh Akhnaton was in fact a revival movement. It was an attempt to return to Egypt’s original religious tradition. This tradition was centered upon the worship of God through the Sun. As an obvious visual manifestation, the Sun was recognized as an ‘Auspicious Vision’ or Su Darshan of God. Thus rather than the sole object of devotion, the Sun served as a via medium between the worshipper and God.

Akhnaton was born in the beautiful Charuk palace, in Thebes, in or shortly after 1395 B.C., (some scholars place his birth a few years later.) At the young age of 12, Akhnaton was crowned King of Egypt. Records show that in the beginning, he merely reigned, while his Mitanni Mother, Queen Tiy, actually governed.

The King of the Mitanni, King Dashratha (Dushratta),writing to congratulate him on his accession, addresses himself to Queen Tiy, not to Akhnaton directly. Even in later letters of this period, Dashratha writes to Akhnaton advising him to “refer to his mother” about important matters.

At the age of eighteen years, he came into complete power of the Kingdom. It was at this time that he proclaimed his faith in One God-The Sun, which he designated by the name of Aton, ie. The Disk or Fiery Orb. He publicly proclaimed his faith in Aton, as the God of Gods.

Akhnaton’s Symbolism of God represented by the Sun as an Auspicious Vision Disk or Su-Darshan Chakra. The Sun’s Rays or Corona, reach down giving Mercy or Karuna. The Ankh or Egyptian Cross is also a variation of the Sudarshan Disk as is the Swastika. Thus all these emblems and traditions have been identified as Solar Cults. Yet ultimately they are all rooted in worship of the Supreme God Hari.

Some have claimed that as a Sun worshipper, Akhnaton was more of an Animist Nature worshiper rather than a devotee of A Supreme Godhead. However Akhnaton’s own words confirm that this is not the case. Akhnaton spoke of the Sun disk as being the Eye of Aton and a representative of Aton’s Power.

In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna or Hari directly identified Himself with the various archetypes at the foundation of creation

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Sun is also described as one of the unlimited eyes of God’s Universal form. In the Brahma-Samhita the Sun is also described as the Eye of God. Akhnaton’s reverance of the Sun is properly understood in this context.


Great Source of Mittani related Artifacts and Information from the University of Pennsylvania