Wednesday, March 29, 2006
ISLAM IN SPAIN
Dear Rajeev Srinivasan,
I would like to mention about the change in "Religious Minority" in Spain over a period of time, and how the people have taken it,
I am just copying what I have read:
Rewarding the Violent, Penalizing the Tolerant
our actions encourage behavior in accordance with our core beliefs, and penalize unacceptable conduct. The West is doing the precise opposite in its treatment of Muslim fanatics, especially in comparison to well-behaved minorities like Hindus.
Islamist reactions to Danish cartoons, films about the treatment of Muslim women, or books, which contradict Islamic myths, are well known. The meek surrender of Western media and educational institutions to barbaric Islamist mobs threatens to destroy democracy. Schools and educational institutions are especially complicit: numerous institutions have denied their student newspapers the right to publish the cartoons to avoid 'upsetting' Islamic students.
Curiously, as educational institutions bend over backwards and violate the principles of free speech to curry favor with Muslims (or perhaps to avoid jihadist violence), the educational system in California is taking a bigoted stance with respect to the peaceful Hindu minority. California school textbooks, while treating other religions including Islam with respect, have for years been describing Hinduism in inaccurate and demeaning terms which border on hate literature. The well-known inequality between the genders within Islam are described as 'different roles for men and women', while Hinduism is projected as a faith where 'women were less important than men'. The 'caste system', which has effectively disappeared from modern India, is dwelled on in excessive length; with the implication that it is a common feature even today (nothing could be further from the truth). Hindu beliefs are described as 'myths' while stories from other religions are presented as facts.
Additionally, the discredited 'Aryan invasion' theory is presented as the definitive truth about India's history.
In the 1800s, German thinker Max Muller, whose teachings were forerunners of Nazi ideology, created this supremacist theory, which suggested that the Hindu faith was imposed on India by light-skinned Aryan invaders. It thus implied that Hindus were foreigners who had no right to inhabit India. British colonialists eagerly seized on this racist fantasy to justify their imperial rule. Invaders ruled India by creating hatred and divisions within various Hindu castes by exaggerating caste discrimination among Hindus. The goal was to justify British and other foreign rule by portraying Hinduism as unjust.
Enemies of Hinduism and democracy employ this tactic very successfully today. Despite the fact that democratic India has abolished the caste system and provided enormous benefits to lower castes, various Stalinist and Islamist groups with backing from foreign sources have recruited low caste Hindus and tribes to form virulent terrorist groups who slaughter thousands of people every year. All of these groups wield tremendous influence in the West and operate through numerous front organizations. University campuses, which are often breeding grounds for all leftist and Islamist causes, are infested with 'scholars' and 'professors' who support this virulent bigotry against Hindus.
California school texts have drawn their teachings from this deep reservoir of hate. Despite the fact that other religions also discriminated based on class, race and gender, Hinduism was singled out in these books as being particularly complicit. When Islamic terrorists commit genocide, they are described in school texts as a misguided minority who do not represent the religion as a whole. Hindus apparently do not merit any such consideration: every age-old practice is re-hashed and misrepresented as evidence of the heinous nature of the religion itself.
The issue came to light when young Hindu children disclosed to their parents merciless harassment and physical assaults by classmates. Apparently, it had never occurred to the California school board that systematic demonization of a vulnerable minority would lead to oppression and cruelty. Or perhaps the knowledge that this peaceful minority would not respond by burning embassies or slaughtering civilians marked Hindus as legitimate targets.
Hindu parents and advocacy groups swung into action and proposed edits to the school texts. Organizations such as the Hindu American Foundation and Vedic Foundation backed the edits. The California Board appointed renowned history professor Shiv Bajpai to make recommendations; Dr Bajpai approved most of the changes. By this time the content of the offending texts had been advertised in India and elsewhere, but embassy burnings, killings, and violent protests did not materialize: the Hindu community followed the rules and proceeded by legal means.
Their decent conduct did not yield much benefit. A Germanic Harvard University professor of Sanskrit, Mike Witzel, who has aggressively promoted Aryan invasion theory, jumped into the fray. Mr. Witzel and a coalition of Communists and leftists, supposedly representing lower castes and 'disadvantaged groups', voiced their opposition to the edits. This motley crew included 'Friends of South Asia', whose website promotes an activist named 'Stalin K' and features leftist marches against American policy in Iraq.
These groups immediately began attacking the concerned Hindu parents and supporting organizations by accusing them of whitewashing Hindu history and downplaying caste and gender discrimination. Mr. Witzel made bizarre accusations, implying that these American Hindus were somehow connected to 'Hindu supremacist' political organizations in India. These accusations swayed the California Board: the decision was made to reject a very large number of proposed edits and leave much of the hate literature intact.
The outraged Hindu American Foundation retained a law firm and is committed to fighting the California School Board in court. It is a testament to Hindus that although their children are subjected daily to racially abusive teachings against their faith, and their protests are silenced by non Hindu promoters of hatred and division, this community still does not resort to violence.
On the other hand, Western society is betraying its own values through its hateful treatment of Hindus, and meek submission to violent adherents of other faiths. In addition to bowing our heads with shame, we ought to consider what type of message we are sending to fanatical opponents of our values who seek to destroy civil society.
Ron Banerjee is the director of the Hindu Conference of Canada. He can be reached at email@example.com "
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Subramaniam Swamy on sacrifice Vol 2
An Appeal from Francois Gautier
O Great Gurus and Swamis, Firstly, I bow down to all of you from the bottom of my heart. Having seen my little ego, the difficulty I have to quieten the incessant chatter of my mind, the problems in controlling my anger, I know how far you all have gone and how much you have risen above the pettiness of human nature.
India is in great danger today. It is attacked by many forces. And your enemies are united, even if it is in disunity, even if it is a temporary arrangement based on a common hatred. Christian conversions, the onslaught of Muslim fundamentalism, the abhorrence of communists for Hinduism, the infinite dangers of Globalisation and Americanisation, Sonia Gandhi's dangerous hold over the intellectual elite of India and her agenda of minority prodding against the majority community of India…
It is thus imperative that you all unite against the common enemy, for disunity has always been the curse of India and whichever enemy conquered this country, did it not because of superior strength, but because they were helped by Hindu betrayers. Remember the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar.
The Christians have a Pope, the Muslims the word of the Koran, communists have Der Kapital of Karl Marx, but Hindus are fragmented in a thousand sects, which often bicker with each other.It is thus of vital importance that Hindu gurus and swamis regroup under one umbrella. Each group and guru will retain its leadership and autonomy but will meet three times a year to review the situation and issue edicts will be binding to hundreds of millions of Hindus all over the world. There are too many gurus and swamis all over India and the world and it would not be possible to assemble them all in one group. Thus I propose that the twelve gurus in India who have the most disciples, represent all the other swamis and gurus. Amongst them of course, we should find Satya Sai Baba, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ammaji of Kerala, the Shankacharya of Kancheepuram, Guruma of Ganeshpuri, Shri Ramdev etc.
The leadership of this group will be rotated every year and so can membership for that matter, as there are quite a few other gurus of India who have a huge following. The first year , Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has taken the lead in assembling gurus, and recently came to the defence of Shri Ramdev can take the mantle of leadership.This is a very important petition and we need as many signatures as possible to put pressure on gurus, who too often limit themselves to the success of their own movements. This petition should also be shown to all gurus by close disciples who happen to read it.It is not only Hinduism which is at stake, but the Sanatan Dharma, the Knowledge Infinite which came down, through the ages and has survived today only in India in a partial form. This Knowledge only can save the world.
Long Live Mother India
24. 3. 2006
41 Jorbagh, New Delhi 110003, India / Auromodel, Auroville, 605101, T.N. India
tel 91 4132622255 / 91 9811118828
Sandhya Jain on sonia gandhi, the runaway woman
The second time the lady fled a difficult situation was in 1999 when, after ruthlessly ousting the then Congress president Sitaram Kesri, she found Sharad Pawar and P.A. Sangma questioning her authority, particularly her desire to project herself as candidate for the Prime Minister's office. Rather than answer the questions raised, the lady quit in a sulk and her lieutenants then hustled up support for her, roughing up possible dissidents in the Working Committee, and organizing a bogus AICC meeting to endorse her coup.
The third time - which her media bards seek to project as the first time - was in May 2004 when President APJ Abdul Kalam gently advised her not to press her claim to be sworn in, owing to certain ambiguities in the Citizenship Act. At that time, she had procured letters of support from slavish UPA allies and supporting parties, and announced to a televised press conference that normally the leader of the majority alliance was sworn-in as Prime Minister. But this land is Bharat Mata, and somewhere an ageless Vikramaditya decided whom it would just not tolerate to sit upon its throne. Doubtless to her own surprise, Sonia Gandhi had to make a virtue of necessity. A televised renunciation drama was enacted, and Dr. Manmohan Singh was soon in the saddle.
Now, for the fourth time, Sonia Gandhi has run away from a thorny situation of her own making. Even friendly media analysts find it difficult to support the surreptitious manner in which both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die on Wednesday, when an all-party meeting had decided on the recess and resumption of the budget session. This, combined with a news leak about a proposed ordinance to protect the UPA chairperson from certain disqualification from the Lok Sabha, had former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee rushing with a protest delegation to President Kalam.
This put the spotlight uncomfortably upon Ms. Gandhi, because many of her actions as UPA and National Advisory Council chairperson are questionable. Ms. Gandhi has a propensity to settle scores with those who have incurred her personal wrath, even if they are not direct political foes, and this has landed her in her present predicament. The genesis of the present crisis lies in her soured relations with the family of megastar Amitabh Bachchan, which came into the open when the latters' wife, Jaya, made an oblique reference to the fact that no one defended her husband when incorrect insinuations were made about his involvement in the Bofors payoff scandal, the shadow of which falls squarely on Ms. Gandhi and her close friends.
Mrs. Jaya Bachchan later entered the Rajya Sabha as a member of the Samajwadi Party, with which Ms. Gandhi has a running dispute. Thereafter, a few things happened in quick succession. Mrs. Bachchan's membership of the Rajya Sabha was terminated on the ground that she held an "office of profit" as chairperson of the UP Film Development Council; a gleeful Congress said it would gun for SP ideological supremo, Dr. Amar Singh. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who was invited to inaugurate the international film festival in Congress-ruled Goa last year, was dis-invited from the function. He was also served a gigantic income tax notice while battling for his life in a Mumbai hospital.
But the humiliation of Mrs. Jaya Bachchan boomeranged when non-Congress parties decided to hit back. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee became vulnerable as the Trinamool Congress complained about his chairmanship of the Sriniketan-Shantiniketan Development Corporation in West Bengal. Several MPs are equally vulnerable on this count, which jurists concede is a grey area of the constitution.
But Sonia Gandhi has wielded real power of patronage as chairperson of the National Advisory Council, with Cabinet rank, and owes the nation an explanation. Her hand was seen in the scandalous drama which saw the Italian Ottavio Quattrochi making off with the Bofors kickback payments. When the matter became public, she left it to the hapless Prime Minister and others to protect her from the flak.
Since the UPA came to power, Ms. Gandhi has announced Government largesse to victims of tragedies and natural disasters, such as the victims of a fire in a Tamil Nadu school and the Tsunami victims in Tamil Nadu and Port Blair. In fact, she has a penchant for upstaging the Prime Minister and other competent authorities by reaching tragedy spots first and announcing government relief. More recently, after the public outcry against verdict in the Jessica Lall case, she directed Home Minister Shivraj Patil to amend the Criminal Procedure Code suitably to protect witnesses in criminal cases.
Since the budget for her 'recommendatory' office of NAC chairperson comes out of Government funds, there is little doubt that Ms. Gandhi draws benefits from the public exchequer for all her activities, and thus holds an 'office of profit', that too, one which appears to have little constitutional justification. Thus, when the chips were down, she was actually the most vulnerable of those being targetted for disqualification by respective political rivals.
Her resignation should not prevent the Election Commission from deciding the issue of the legality of her presence in the Lok Sabha on merits, as in the case of Mrs. Jaya Bachchan. This means the EC must adjudicate if Ms. Gandhi's interventions in the House, like those of Mrs. Bachchan, must be expunged, and her salary and emoluments returned to Parliament. And before Ms. Gandhi returns to the NAC, presuming it is exempted from the definition of 'office of profit,' there must be a public debate on the relevance of that office, its powers and privileges, and budgetary support.
Comedy of errors A Drama of Sacrifice and Sycophancy at 10, Janpath
Name: Theatre of the Absurd
Genre: Slapstick comedy
Venue: 10, Janpath
Protagonist: Sonia Gandhi
Sidekick: Manmohan Singh
Orchestra: A.M. Singhvi and Co
Script & story idea: P.R. Das Munshi
The play begins: Much like the return of Sholay and Mughal-e-Azam back to the nation’s cinemas, the child prostitute Sonia Gandhi roadshow returned with a bang on the capital’s streets on March 23, barely two years after its debut in May 2004 when thousands, some brandishing revolvers, others bashing journalists, threatened lemming-like mass suicides if the sole hope of the country’s first family refused to don the mantle as Prime Minister.As the anti-national heavy bastardLeft parties and other opportunist motley groups and individuals unashamedly extended their support to the Italian-born, she heard the voice of conscience and renounced the country’s most powerful job amidst reports of the chiefs of armed forces expressing reservation over her ascension and her own dear children airing apprehensions about her security.As the television cameras moved out of Akbar Road, the sponsored crowds too started vanishing into the blue and the embodiment of sacrifice chose to become the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, enjoying cabinet rank and its resultant benefits.Then came the tainted ministers, the Volcker Report, the defreezing of the British accounts of her country cousin Ottavio Quattrocchi and the mother of all scams, the Scorpene Submarine Deal.Her acts of political vendetta too backfired, one after another beginning with Jharkhand and then Bihar but the proverbial last straw turned out to be a desperate attempt to get even with friends-turned-foes, the Bachchans. The limpets and sycophants lampooned and gloated as the Election Commission recommended the disqualification of veteran actress and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan on the grounds of her holding an office of profit as Chairperson of the UP Film Development Council.As the Opposition, particularly the TDP hit back seeking Madam’s disqualification for holding an office of profit as Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, the firefighters of the Congress party got into the act deciding to adjourn the Parliament sine die and get it prorogued in the most brazen manner unheard of in democratic history and then bring an ordinance to save her from certain disqualification.An alert fourth estate got wind of it and soon cries like Baaki sab to bahana hain, Sonia ko bachana hain (the rest is all excuse, the aim is to save Sonia) rent the august Houses of Parliament as the Opposition launched an offensive. But the architects of the 1975 Emergency bothered little about Parliamentary niceties and got the House adjourned sine die, much to the chagrin of the Opposition parties and even the UPA’s own allies.Over 60 NDA MPs, led by none other than former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee himself marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan and urged him not to sign any ordinance that was aimed “solely and exclusively” to save Sonia Gandhi. “I don’t think they will bring any such ordinance. If it does, then this government will go”, roared Vajpayee.The President also informed a joint delegation of Samajwadi Party and TDP leaders that he has already forwarded over 40 petitions (including against Gandhi) seeking disqualification of MPs for holding offices of profit. “What is good for Peter should be good for Paul”, said Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh referring to the different yardsticks by which Jaya Bachchan and Sonia Gandhi were sought to be measured. Fearing a public backlash ahead of the Assembly polls in Kerala and West Bengal, the Left parties too expressed reservations about such a move.BJP’s Ananth Kumar too filed an application seeking her disqualification even as Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon said the law was same for everybody and he would consider the petition against Gandhi when it is referred by the President.Unnerved, the PR managers were summoned and the word was spread that Gandhi had reservations about the proposed ordinance and in the afternoon of March 23, in an action replay of her rejection of Prime Ministership, she declares, “I am in politics and public like not for any selfish ends. I have taken a pledge to serve the people of the country…I resign as a member of Lok Sabha and NAC Chairperson.”Soon, protesters descend from nowehere, burn effigies of BJP and shout slogans against BJP and other Opposition leaders even as Gurudas Kamat puts in his paper and ask other fellow Congress MPs to follow suit. Sidekick Manmohan Singh peeks out from the curtains and hails her as the “country’s tallest leader”. The curtains are drawn.
All About a Child Prostitute – Antonio Maino
The SC, interalia, suggests these critical tests to find out if any office is an office of profit. Does the body in which office is held enable the holder to wield influence or power by way of patronage? Does that body give funds, land, scholarships etc? Sonia Gandhi's chairmanship of the National Advisory Council, which is all-powerful and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which not only dispenses funds but is also funded by the Budget, clearly tested positive. And with the Bachchan boomerang well on its way back zeroing in on the Signora's scalp, the chips were truly down. So, it was better to become saint before being banished to the wilds, and in any case it was not a new script.
A saint renounces but once. However, here is a saint who does that at the drop of a hat, only to be back in some post, sooner than later. Even in the current drama, Saint Sonia, while claiming that she is in politics not for self-interest, has promised to become an MP again. The saint garb, obviously is a compulsory dress code to occupy the moral pulpit and an attractive attire to lure the gullible public. Sonia knows by experience that in this country of saints, savants and sages, it pays to be saintly. Aah, how she has mastered our culture!
But the saint too must come under the scanner, particularly when her saintly instincts consistently coincide with that of the fabled fox after those grapes. Power, like grapes, too will turn sour once out of reach and Sonia has only emulated that fox all along. Look at the roster of her seeming sacrifices: Early 1998, after feigning dis-interest, she literally grabbed the chair of the AICC presidentship after bundling and booting out an infirm Kesari. The honourable pretext for 'sacrificing' him was to save the party that her husband and M-in-law nourished and died for, but clearly with the BJP on the rise, she needed the party more to protect herself on Bofors.
Cut to April 1999, this great Saint Superior, announced in full public view in front of Rashtrapathi Bhavan that she had the support of 272 MPs, a patent lie, only to back out quietly after Mulayam spoiled the party. But not before hectic parleys were held with all parties and projecting her as the next PM, the precise reason why Mulayam + Amar did what they did! It is that revenge that was being taken out now, against Mulayam, Amar, Bachchan & co, but which had backfired. Enter, the Vindictive Saint!
Again, in May same year, when the trio of Pawar, Sangma and Anwar raised the foreign origin issue from within the party, she resigned the post of Congress presidentship. After a 9-day dusserah outside her residence with Congmen, warts and stalwarts alike, begging and beseeching her and after she had had her fill watching the Grand old party of her 'husband and M-in-law', firmly sprawled on terra firma like doormats, she relented from her saintly sadism. But not before the troublesome trio was disposed of in a 'grand act of inner party democracy'. The saint was safe with her position secure!
May 2004, the Saint was born again. With the Congress all set to head a coalition, Sonia's candidature as PM was a foregone conclusion. Why else did she become an MP in the first place if her intention was not to become the PM? Was she so naive as to believe that her devoted partymen would let her go? Added to that, she allowed herself to be elected as Congress Parliamentary Party leader, and by convention and imputation, the PM-to-be. Clearly her Prime Ministerial ambitions were flashing like neon signs, as in April 1999. But, suddenly, after a visit to Rashtrapathi Bhavan with support letters, a hitherto silent inner voice surfaced and she opted out. The Rashtrapathi, apparently, convinced her of the utter untenability of her credentials, in the context of her foreign origins, and the eager lady promptly turned reluctant saint. The renunciation ritual was gone through to the accompaniment of breast-beating and bleatings of Congressmen. But here was a saint who renounced post without renouncing power. An act as saintly as the fox is pious!
Circa March 2006, the Congress charade is back on show with Saint Sonia getting resurrected, lest she lose the saintly touch. But, the saint has a strange saintliness about her, a selective saintliness rather. It did not surface when the oil-for-vouchers scam was halted just a hairline from her doorstep. Instead, she sacrificed Natwar. Then again, her saintliness went on a sabbatical when her very Italian friend and compatriot Q walked away with the Bofors loot, after profiting endlessly out of every office in the Capital; no consciences stirred, no inner voices were heard. The Saint in her did not demur when Parliament shut shop post haste, to facilitate the passing of an Ordinance to save her, an incontrovertible proof of the pudding that was cooking in the Cong kitchen. But when the cat was out and disqualification became shamefully imminent, the halo is back, with national interest and secularism as alibis. This after wielding unbridled power without an iota of responsibility for the last two years. What a coincidence that this saint has singularly benefitted from her own 'supreme' sacrifices all through! And wonder of wonders, the Saint's fingerprints can be seen nowhere. She is always sought, never the seeker, the hidden 'hand' behind all actions and the inner voice prompting Congmen's noises. Sycophantic Congress would ensure Sonia's sanctity, having mastered the art of deciphering her very saintly signs and signals!
'I have done the right thing', says Sonia now. Sure, but only after all attempts at doing wrong things have either failed or boomeranged. Her unsaintly traits are very revealing: Sonia would rather sulk and scoot than stand scrutiny only to emerge holier than thou, oozing ethics, propriety and what not. To paint her as a saint is the utimate taint on real saints and anything truly saintly.
Rather, it's time the nation renounced this sinister saint with a past, even if it means sacrificing the Congress and its future. The latter would also be in keeping with the wish of Gandhi, the Mahatma, if not Maino! All the more because, Congmen of today cannot tell one from the other!
The terrorists are attacking India’s soul By Varun Gandhi
Shri Guruji anticipated the Chinese aggression
After nearly 18 long months of illegal incarceration without any charge, Shri Guruji was released unconditionally from Betul Jail on July 13, 1949. When he arrived at the Nagpur Railway Station at noon, more than 30,000 people gave him a tumultuous welcome. Thousands of people shed tears as they saw Shri Guruji’s father garlanding his own son who had successfully come out of the fiery ordeal. Four days later, Shri Guruji went to Madras to thank T.R. Venkatrama Shastri personally for having taken the trouble to draft a Constitution for the RSS, for having taken the initiative to meet Patel and Nehru and strongly advise them to lift the ban on the RSS and to release Shri Guruji from prison and finally for issuing a very strong statement against the Government of India for having acted in such a dictatorial manner in the first few months of independent India, which he thought was a cruel mockery of freedom. After several months of orchestrated fraud, untruth and falsehood enacted with the full might of the State, the government itself came out candidly with the truth in the Bombay Legislative Assembly on October 14,1949. In replies to questions raised by Lallubai Patel from Surat, the Minister for Home and Revenue, Government of Bombay, said: a) The lifting of ban on the RSS was unconditional; b) Its leader Shri Golwalkar had given no undertaking to the government. Thus, it can be seen that the Congress leaders in New Delhi smartly transferred the dirty responsibility of making the above truthful but very unsavoury statements from their point of view, to the Congress Government of Bombay. It became clear to all concerned—the whole of India and the wider world outside—that the Government of India had tried to arm-twist Shri Guruji and to crush the RSS. The real eye-opening fact was that not even a single Swayamsevak of the Sangh was charge-sheeted or prosecuted anywhere in the country on any of the politically and baselessly trumpeted charges against the Sangh, including the charge of ‘assassination of Mahatma Gandhi’. The whole dishonesty of the Government of India right from the start can be seen from a letter sent by Sardar Patel to Pandit Nehru on February 27, 1948, less than a month after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948: “I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of the investigations regarding Bapu’s assassination case. All the main accused have given long and detailed statements of their activities. It also clearly emerges from the statements that the RSS was not involved in it at all.” Even after sending this letter, Government of India, which meant Nehru and Patel, did not have the grace to release Shri Guruji till August 1948. As Shri Guruji had been out of touch with the Swayamsevaks all over India from February 1, 1948, till July 12, 1949, when the ban on the RSS was lifted, it became very much necessary for Shri Guruji to undertake a nation-wide tour. Shri Guruji’s “All Bharat Tour” began in August 1949 and lasted till January 1950. Wherever he went, he received spontaneous and tremendous ovations. The overwhelming public response to the function at Delhi on August 23, 1949, attracted the worldwide attention. The BBC reported on the radio: “Shri Guruji is a shining star that has arisen on the Indian firmament. The only other Indian who can draw such huge crowds is Pandit Nehru.” The Indian Press too flashed the highlights of this function. History may have but few examples of lakhs and lakhs of people giving a leader, without any governmental authority, such a rousing reception wherever he went. Shri Guruji rose to Himalayan heights of magnanimity, forbearance and statesmanship by giving this message at all his public meetings: “Let us close this chapter of the ban on the Sangh. Do not let your minds be overcome with bitterness for those who, you feel, have done injustice to you. If the teeth were to bite the tongue, do we pull out the teeth? Even those who have done injustice to us are our own people. So we must forget and forgive.” This was Shri Guruji’s Sanatana Dharma in action in answer to Nehru's and Patel’s low-level politics marked by hatred, jealousy, prejudice and arrogance of unbridled power. Wherever Shri Guruji went, he received spontaneous and tremendous ovations. The overwhelming public response to the function at Delhi on August 23, 1949, attracted worldwide attention. The BBC reported on the radio: “Shri Guruji is a shining star that has arisen on the Indian firmament.” The post-Independence era has witnessed many a campaign launched by the Swayamsevaks for upholding and refurbishing aspects of national faith and veneration in various spheres of life. Dr Hedgewar’s views of the future set-up of Bharat after the attainment of freedom was in tune with the essence of our national ethos. The jottings that he put down on the day the Congress adopted “Complete Independence” as its goal in 1930 are clear and emphatic: “The Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindustan. It is therefore clear that if Hindustan is to be protected, we should first nourish the Hindu culture. If the Hindu culture perishes in Hindustan itself, and if the Hindu society ceases to exist, it will hardly be appropriate to refer to the mere geographical entity that remains as Hindustan. Mere geographical lumps do not make a nation. The Sangh will cooperate with the Congress in the efforts to secure freedom, so long as these efforts do not come in the way of preserving our nation’s culture.” Shri Guruji in his penetrating and perceptive analysis of the directions in which the post-Independence Bharat was being led by the Congress and other rulers said: “Today we find everywhere attempts to recast our life pattern in the mould of an American, English or Russian way of life. How can we call it swatantra (freedom) which has no ‘swa’ (our national genius) in it? Then it is only paratantra. If Lenin is kept as the ideal, it becomes Lenin-tantra, not swatantra. In fact, preservation and propagation of our national life values, i.e. our Sanatana Dharma and samskriti, have always been held in our historical traditions as the raison d’etre of swatantra.” Taking these as our firm guidelines, the Swayamsevaks have been trying to manifest the nation’s pristine genius in diverse fields of national endeavour for the last 58 years of our Independence. They have always kept before them the following message of Dr Hedgewar and Shri Guruji: “Wherever and in whatever position you are, do not forget that you are a Swayamsevak. Always and everywhere consider yourself a Sangh Pracharak, devoted to carrying the message of Sangh.” Shri Guruji had a clear vision of the ideal conditions in every sphere of national life. Bharat could never be strong to fulfill its destiny unless every aspect of the nation’s life was informed with the pure and inspiring ideology of the Sangh. On August 2, 1954, 100 Sangh Swayamsevaks stormed the Portuguese enclaves of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The attack was led by Vinayak Rao Apte, Pune Sanghachalak. They attacked the main police headquarters at Selvassa and forced the 175 soldiers there to surrender unconditionally. The national tri-colour flag was hoisted and the region handed over to the central government on the same day. Likewise, the first to unfurl the national flag over the Panaji Secretariat in Goa in 1955 was a Swayamsevak working as a teacher in Goa. He was put in a Lisbon jail for 17 years till 1972, well after Goa was liberated in 1961. I cannot help surmising that the Government of India was not interested in his earlier release only because he was a Swayamsevak! Shri Guruji was the first public leader to give out the news of illegal occupation by Chinese government of large chunks of our strategic Himalayan borders in 1960. In 1960, when Pandit Nehru and Chou-En-lai were jointly touring our country singing the lullaby of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, Shri Guruji’s was the lone voice laying bare the dragon’s teeth hidden behind that enchanting slogan. Nehru had romantic love for Chou-En-lai and ignored the timely warning of Shri Guruji. When Pakistan attacked Bharat in 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minister, personally rang up Shri Guruji who was then touring Maharashtra and requested him to be in New Delhi for the All Leaders Conference the following day. Shri Guruji placed the entire RSS at the disposal of the Government of India to fight the invaders and to safeguard the integrity of our motherland. In Delhi, for the entire period of 22 days of war, police duties like traffic control and patrolling were transferred to Swayamsevaks to free the police for more pressing tasks. Right from the beginning of the war, everyday hundreds of Swayamsevaks daily reported at the General Military Hospital, Delhi, to offer blood. The military looked upon the Sangh as a friend in need. Likewise, during the 1971 war, the Swayamsevaks played a vital role in assisting the Government of India in their war efforts against Pakistan. Shri Guruji was the first public leader to give out the news of illegal occupation by Chinese government of large chunks of our strategic Himalayan borders in 1960. In 1960, when Pandit Nehru and Chou-En-lai were jointly touring our country singing the lullaby of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, Shri Guruji’s was the lone voice laying bare the dragon’s teeth hidden behind that enchanting slogan. During the Emergency in 1975-77 imposed by Indira Gandhi, our country was plunged into dark internal slavery and every single cherished value of free and democratic life was smothered. Indira Gandhi repeated the mistake of Nehru and Patel and imposed a ban on the RSS. In those dark days, the Swayamsevaks rose as one man in the cause of the people. Winston Churchill’s heroic words can be applied to the Swayamsevaks and the RSS: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that if Bharat Mata and Sanatana Dharma last for a thousand years, men will still say this was their finest hour.” Shri Guruji had a clear vision of the ideal conditions in every sphere of national life. Bharat could never be strong to fulfill its destiny unless every aspect of the nation’s life was informed with the pure and inspiring ideology of the Sangh. Shri Guruji pioneered the creation of many fields of such constructive activities. Through his tremendous drive and initiative, he created several powerful nationwide organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Shishu Mandir educational institutions. To the political field Shri Guruji gave two priceless jewels like Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. On June 5, 1973, Shri Guruji passed away peacefully in Nagpur after a lifetime of ceaseless activity for the advancement of Sanatana Dharma, the glory of Bharat Mata and victory of Bharat without losing sight of the ultimate ideal of achieving Akhand Bharat. Like Swami Vivekananda, he embodied the spirit of India. In my view, he was amongst the greatest of our nationalists. The best tribute to him was paid by R.K. Karanjia of Blitz of Bombay: “He had no axe to grind, and in the pursuit of his ideals languor was not in his heart, weakness was not in his word, weariness was not on his brow. It would be good if other political leaders emulate his example of dedicated life and win the respect and confidence of his followers.”
GOOD HINDU – So Far, But NO MORE!
A virile Hindu Agenda must have two components:  What Hindus should believe in and do, to qualify to be a good Hindu;  What Hindus, being the overwhelming majority of the nation’s population, should be obliged to do for the religious minorities and what Hindus have a right to expect from them in the national interest. At present, most Hindus think that if they go to temples, sing bhajans, and participate in festivals, they become good Hindus. While that is necessary, it is, however, not sufficient in the present historical context to be a good Hindu. At present, Hinduism is under siege from foreign religious forces and is suffering from apathy of Hindus at home. Moreover, just because Hindu religion says ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhaav’, we as Hindus cannot treat all religions as equal and let preachers and missionaries of other religions do what they like in the country. In fact all religions are not equal. Till 1000 years ago the Hindu religion was the most humane religion, with practical prescriptions on how to lead a peaceful life, stress free and regarded other religions as alternative, even if more obscure, paths to God. It had a magnificent record of human rights in receiving from abroad those persecuted in their own countries and giving them full freedom to practice their religious beliefs here. No other religion has had such a track record of practising ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakkam’. Hence, Hinduism can not be equated to other religions. Of course, due to subsequent degeneration and treacherous foreign invasions, the Hindu religion developed certain retrograde practices, most pernicious being linking the caste of a person to his birth antecedents. Nowhere in our holy scriptures is this linkage mentioned. In Uttara Gita, Krishna Bhagwan specifically states that caste has no connection with birth but to gunas [attributes]. The idea of varna vyavastha was not a hegemonist order but for decentralising the sources of power in a society. These sources were identified as knowledge, the state, commerce, and land. Whoever made a life using any one of these sources of power then acquired that caste, viz., designated as Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Shudra respectively. To ensure that there is no concentration of power, nobody could have more than one caste. If a person committed any heinous crime, then that person was ostracised. That person’s children were not automatically ostracised if they were not in the same mould. For example, Valmiki was born to an ostracised parent, but Goddess Saraswati herself taught him mantras and gave him vidya. He then became a rishi and wrote the Ramayana. Veda Vyasa was similiarly born to a shudra fisherwoman. But as a rishi he wrote the Mahabharata. Same is true of our greatest poet Kalidasa born to a vanavasi, but circumstances enabled him to be accepted as a scholar. Vishwamitra was born in a Kshatriya family and became the rishi of rishis. On the other hand, Ravana was recognised as a scholarly Brahmin having done tapasya in Kailash and received boons directly from Lord Shiva. But he lost it all due to his torment of an innocent lady, Sita. In the great debate between two rishis, Bhrigu and Bhardwaja, this conception of castes as having nothing to do with birth was made amply clear. But the British imperialists and later their Oxbridge educated Indian stooge historians— mostly professors in JNU in Delhi—twisted all this and linked it to the completely bogus Aryan-Dravidian race divide concoction to generate caste hatred, and subsequently to Marxist class struggle to please their new bosses, the KGB. Hence, Hindu religion is not equal to other religions but in fact better structured for pursuit of happiness through devotion. Because of it’s commonwealth character of having no one God but manifested in many, not one Mecca or Church but temples galore, nor just one book of scripture but a feast of rich religious texts, Hinduism is the most democratic and tolerant religion. It is distinguished from other religions in that it charts a way of discipline for everyone, virtuous or past sinner, to have God’s darshan in this life. In Islam and In Uttara Gita, Krishna Bhagwan specifically states that caste has no connection with birth but to gunas [attributes]. The idea of varna vyavastha was not a hegemonist order but for decentralising the sources of power in a society. Christianity, one can meet God only after death. I am writing all this to say that when we say “Garv se bolo ham Hindu Hain” it is not because we are proud to be born Hindu but because Hinduism is the world’s most well structured and practical theology, besides being the oldest and continuing religion. Those who want to know how practical it is, need only to read Chapter 12 of the Bhagavat Gita for a synopsis on how to be near and dear to God for anyone, high or low. Hence Hindus must believe that while we respect all other religions as equally capable of leading to God, even if not as sensibly, nevertheless it is the duty of a Hindu to propagate Hinduism, defend it collectively, and organise for it. Because of Hinduism’s contemporary relevance, we should see that Hindus remain not less than 85 percent of the population. Hindu religion is not safe if it is in a minority as the experience in Kashmir, Bangladesh and Pakistan has proved to us. Hence, we should stoutly oppose religious conversion of Hindus to other faiths. Such conversions are bound to be on inducements or by a confidence trick of the missionary. We should, therefore, not be spectators as we were when the Kanchi Mutt Shankaracharya was dragged as a common criminal to prison on a cooked up case or the Pakistani-Bangladeshi conspiracy to damage temples and kill innocent people in Varanasi. Since the Indian Airlines plane hijack to Kandhahar in December 1999, the terrorists have become more audacious as we have tried to quietly suffer their atrocities or capitulated to their demands. Now to be a good Hindu one should stand up and say “Thus far, but no more !” Those who lack the spine or the stomach to say so, should be asked to get out of the way. We need today a virat Hindu samaj, and not a collection of selfish bhajan mandalis claiming to be Hindus petitioning God to give them some goodies. One Hindu lion is better than ten thousand Hindu goats. Either Hindus must learn to hunt when attacked, or be hunted and consumed. So, what should a good Hindu believe in ? In my view such a Hindu should hold that:  India is an ancient land of the Hindus with the longest unbroken civilisation; Every Hindu must, therefore, debunk and reject the Aryan-Dravidian race migration theory;  A Hindu should retaliate in hot pursuit of aggressors when his religious symbols and his country are attacked, and a good Hindu would prefer to lose everything than submit to tyranny or blackmail, or be afraid of risking nuclear war when the nation’s integrity is at stake;  A Hindu must repudiate the birth-based concept of caste system and seek Hindu consolidation by recognising no other social categorisation except by educational attainment;  A Hindu must strive to communicate with other Hindus in Hindi with a Sanskrit vocabulary, and keep Sanskritising Hindi till it becomes Sanskrit;  A Hindu will resolutely oppose collective or group conversion of Hindus to other religious faiths by demanding a comprehensive legislation to ban such conversions, while the same time being ever ready to welcome back to the Hindu fold any Muslim or Christian by conversion without allowing the caste factor to be an obstacle in their assimilation. Such a good Hindu has an obligation to defend religious minorities but only if the obligation bilateral. When the Kanchi Mutt Shankaracharyas were arrested on a false case, not one Christian or Muslim organisation condemned it even though the Supreme Court described the foisted cases as “without prima facie merit”. Why do Christian and Muslim feel this disconnect with the travails of the Hindu community? This disconnect has enraged the Hindus who feel that secularism is a one-way traffic of Hindu largesse to minorities, with no reverse obligations. This needs to be corrected by creating an environment in the country in which Hindus and other minorities feel that they are joint legatees of the Hindu civilisation. This can be achieved if Muslims and Christians accept that their ancestors are Hindus and cherish this legacy. If they do, and I believe the silent majority amongst them do, then India will become a family of Hindus and those whose ancestors are Hindus. India can then justifiably be called Hindustan. In such a Hindustan, there will be no majority and minority but only rich and poor, privileged and deprived, and educated and illiterate. Difference in religion need not mean a difference in culture. That is the Hindustani mindset, a sixth requirement of a good Hindu. Thus, a Hindu agenda aims at building a national outlook in which Hindus and minorities accept that they are from a common lineage and equal partners, and thus have a equal responsibility to fight and sacrifice for the Hindu heritage. All six items of the Agenda would then apply not only Hindus but on the minorities as well.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Reminiscences of an Ordinary Admirer : By Arabinda Ghose
A sentinel in the vedantic tradition By Ashok Singhal
Shri Guruji: A saint who renounced his sainthood
India, Maharishi Aurobindo said, is not just a geographic piece. It is Parashakti concealed in physical landscape. It would require more than a mere reason and intellect to understand the consciousness that is India. A seeker who endeavours to explore the consciousness of India has to transcend the limits of reason. He has to travel into mystic and metaphysical domains to capture her deeper and mysterious inner personality. This is the substance of Maharishi Aurobindo’s understanding of India. The course of her history too cannot be grasped without such understanding of this mystic dimension of her personality. Her survival—when all her sister civilisations had been reduced to archival materials by armies driven by religious fanaticism that marched across the face of the earth—and her re-emergence are not explainable except by the mystic element in the Indian civilisation, which seems to guarantee a kind of durability and continuity to the Indian civilisation, something that destiny seems to have denied to others. Even the way the freedom movement of India evolved too cannot be captured purely in rational terms. It needs penetrative contemplation to see the drive of mystic India behind physical and manifested India in powering the freedom movement. The Indian people, let down by its divided traditional military and intellectual leadership and fatigued for nearly a century, suddenly woke up and worked themselves to kinetic effect and rose up to win freedom in the 20th century. That is, the masses of India, substituting for their traditional leaders, rose up and agitated to free India. How did this happen? Was it just an accident of history or the reassertion of the Soul of India? The rise of the Indian people to assert their nationalism was not an accident of history. There were mystic powers working to drive India’s freedom. There was, of course, a direct and perceivable link between Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and Swami Vivekananda, who rearticulated the idea of this ancient nation in the modern world. But, there was a mystic and unseen link between the spiritual penance and mission of Sri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda in the 19th century and the intense wave of nationalism that swept across India in the 20th century. It is this subtle link—not fully comprehended by Indian intellectuals—that triggered massive and exponential growth of nationalist activities that eventually led to freedom. A rational or superficial study of Sri Ramakrishna, without factoring this mystic phenomenon, would hardly link him to the nationalist movement to free India while a deeper contemplation would make it difficult to de-link his disciple and rebellious Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, from the nationalist spirit that constituted the soul of the freedom movement. While the spiritual penance of Sri Ramakrishna constituted the secret reservoir of energy for the nationalist drive of Swami Vivekananda, the explosive ideas of Swami Vivekananda became the inspiration for hundreds and thousands of nationalist initiatives all over India. It is undeniable that the ideology of the RSS is clearly and explicitly traceable to the gigantic nationalist ideas and thoughts that emanated from Swami Vivekananda. But apart from this ideological inspiration that there was a live and direct spiritual link between the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda spiritual nationalist penance and the evolution of the RSS, it is least noticed in Indian intellectual discourse. Perceived from this domain of mystic India, one of the silent, but most powerful, initiatives in the cause of this ancient nation, that was subtly but not explicitly linked to Ramakrishna-Vivekananda spiritual-nationalist tradition was the emergence of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS]. It is undeniable that the ideology of the RSS is clearly and explicitly traceable to the gigantic nationalist ideas and thoughts that emanated from Swami Vivekananda. But apart from this ideological inspiration that there was a live and direct spiritual link between the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda spiritual nationalist penance and the evolution of the RSS, it is least noticed in Indian intellectual discourse. The bridge that constituted this direct spiritual link between Sri Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition and the RSS, was Shri Guruji Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghachalak of the RSS who shaped the intellectual and spiritual foundations of the RSS. But this subtle, least known, link between the kinetic RSS and spiritually potent Sri Ramakrishna Order is not within comprehension of rational India, which does not recognise mystic aspects of existence. The spiritual vision to rebuild the ancient nation in India, which had slipped into centuries of drift, re-emerged in the advent of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. Sri Ramakrishna was among the greatest of the saints of India who lived and demonstrated that all faiths are ultimately harmonisable. But the condition for harmony is mutual and true respect among the different faiths. The mutual respect of different and even differing faiths towards one another is the essence of Sanatana Dharma, the timeless Indian wisdom for all times and its unique contribution for the entire humankind. The absence of true, mutual respect of faiths leads to civilisational, cultural and religious clashes. But the mutual respect has to be rooted in the faiths themselves, not to be left to the option of the faithful. This is the essence of Sanatana Dharma. As Swami Vivekananda said Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa took avatara to save Sanatana Dharma which, decades later, Maharishi Aurobindo defined as the nationalism of the Indian nation. Sri Ramakrishna was the answer to the urge of the times in the 19th century that called for consolidating the scattered spiritual forces of India. Sri Ramakrishna, the potential energy, turned kinetic in form through Swami Vivekananda to prepare the ancient nation to battle for freedom to pursue its mission. Sri Ramakrishna spoke of Sanatana Dharma, but not of the Indian nation. But, Swami Vivekananda, who constituted the expression of the soul of Sri Ramakrishna emphasised and mandated the worship of the nation, the Hindu nation, as the only God for the next 50 years, for Sanatana Dharma to re-emerge. Maharishi Aurobindo’s conception that Sanatana Dharma and India are one and the same and they cannot be severed and one cannot survive without the other explains that when Sri Ramakrishna spoke of Sanatana Dharma he actually spoke of India and when Vivekananda spoke of India he actually spoke of Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma constituted the potential of which India was the kinetic effect; if Sanatana Dharma was the contemplative thought, India was its action-platform. So if Sri Ramakrishna’s work constituted the contemplation, Swami Vivekananda’s work was the resultant action based on the contemplation. When Swami Vivekananda gave Indians the mission to rebuild India and to position India as the spiritual guide to the world—the Jagat Guru—he was saying what Sri Ramakrishna had left unsaid for his chosen disciple to say. But Sri Ramakrishna did give a clue to what he had contemplated and spiritually directed his disciple Swami Vivekananda to expound. He told his disciples: “While other religions which are also true will come and go it is Sanatana Dharma which will ultimately prevail” [Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 20-10-1884]. So taking cue from his Master, Swami Vivekananda prescribed this mission to rebuild India to save the world from intolerance and violence promoted by exclusive faiths, by reinstating, reliving and protecting Sanatana Dharma, which was central to Sri Ramakrishna’s experience. Swamiji also made this mission of India clear in his spectacular address to the World Parliament of Religions. Sri Ramakrishna did give a clue to what he had contemplated and spiritually directed his disciple Swami Vivekananda to expound. He told his disciples: “While other religions which are also true will come and go, it is Sanatana Dharma which will ultimately prevail” [Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 20-10-1884]. So taking cue from his Master, Swami Vivekananda prescribed this mission to rebuild India to save the world from intolerance and violence promoted by exclusive faiths, by reinstating, reliving and protecting Sanatana Dharma, which was central to Sri Ramakrishna’s experience. But this expansive mission that Swami Vivekananda called upon this nation to undertake was not to be exclusive task of the Ramakrishna Order. But it would appear from his address at Madras how Swami Vivekananda wanted the Hindu society to be organised, namely through man-making training for youth. The instrument that was chosen by destiny to concretise the mission of Swami Vivekananda on the field and to spiritualise and consolidate the patriotic forces of India was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The mystic and spiritual link between this clarion call of Swami Vivekananda and the RSS was Shri Guruji as Shri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar was first known to his students in Benaras Hindu University. Before destiny willed him to carry on, on the ground, the mission unveiled by Swami Vivekananda in his lecture titled My Plan of Campaign at Madras through the RSS, he had been initiated into the spiritual stream of Ramakrishna Mission by Swami Akhandananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Given his deep spiritual leaning, had Shri Guruji been born in early part of the 19th century, he would perhaps have become a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and also perhaps a monk in the Ramakrishna Order. Had he been born in the later part of the 19th century he would have become a companion-disciple of Swami Vivekananda. But, he was born in the 20th century when the need of the times had changed from consolidation of spiritual forces to the kinetic task of rebuilding the ancient nation—the Hindu India. This called for more intense physical activity on the ground than a monastic order could engage in. So the potential energy of Sri Ramakrishna transformed into kinetic energy in Swami Vivekananda who began urging particularly the youth of India to undertake work of nation-building. The mandate of Swami Vivekananda became the agenda for the forces fighting for India's freedom. The freedom movement that took shape in diverse ways—from revolutionary dimensions of Maharishi Aurobindo to the extremist politics of Balgangadhar Tilak to the moderate campaign of Mahatma Gandhi—was undeniably influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s idea of worship of Bharatmata, the Motherland. Whether it was Gandhi or Tilak, Nehru or Rajaji, all were one in acknowledging that Swami Vivekananda had laid the moral and intellectual basis for Indian freedom movement. Thus the movement for Indian freedom was only apparently political but its real foundation was rooted in the spiritual dimensions implicit in Sanatana Dharma. While those who fought for freedom only thought how to win freedom, one of the freedom fighters, Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, was deeply disturbed by another issue and that was how India lost its freedom. He diagnosed that lack of unity, even strategic unity, among the Hindus was the reason why we lost freedom. He wanted to address this lacuna in the national character of Hindus which made conquest of India by foreign and colonial forces possible. He intensely contemplated for a remedy for this structural weakness of the Hindu society. The result was that Dr Hedgewar founded the RSS to repair and remove this distortion in the national psyche. He set as mission of the RSS man-making and nation-building, which Swami Vivekananda had mandated for India and its global mission. Shri Guruji came in contact with Dr Hedgewar a little more than a decade after Dr Hedgewar had founded the RSS. Thus Shri Guruji met Dr Hedgewar not as an impressionable child or as a boy, but as a grown-up man and as the initiated disciple of the Ramakrishna Order. Shri Guruji soon began experiencing Dr Hedgewar as a spiritualist in intense action, a karma yogi. So he decided to dedicate himself to the mission that Dr Hedgewar wanted to hand over to Shri Guruji, namely, the mission of RSS. Just as a young and rebellious Narendra, who came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna, spiritually transmigrated into Vivekananda, a saint, the touch of Dr Hedgewar transformed Shri Guruji, the other way, from a saint-in-the-making into a servant and worshipper of Mother India. Dr Hedgewar diagnosed that lack of unity, even strategic unity, among the Hindus was the reason why we lost freedom. He intensely contemplated for a remedy of this structural weakness of the Hindu society. The result was that Dr Hedgewar founded the RSS to repair and remove this distortion in the national psyche. He set as mission of the RSS man-making and nation-building, which Swami Vivekananda had mandated for India and its global mission. Thus Shri Guruji subsumed his high personal spiritual stature and abandoned his penance for personal spiritual advancement, which would have led him to sainthood, to undertake the more and perhaps the most arduous dimension of Swami Vivekananda’s agenda, namely man-making and nation-building through the RSS. This decision of Shri Guruji might have in effect denied him of his rightful place among the great saints of India. Renunciates give up normal life, name and fame, but they are eternally elevated to rank among the revered saints. But Shri Guruji consciously and gladly renounced sainthood and turned a social scavenger to rid the Hindu society of the evils that it had accumulated over centuries. So apart from renouncing fame, which would have accrued to him as saint, he willingly accepted, as gift for the nation-building he committed himself to, the dirt with which his uninitiated detractors smeared him. He knew that a nation that was undermined by invasions and colonialism and a nation that had a message for harmony of faiths and cultures of the world cannot rise to give that message to the world without experiencing excruciating pain for its transformation and undergoing great sacrifices. He unreservedly accepted Dr Hedgewar’s dignosis that a nation is only as great as its ordinary people are and not as great as its great men are. So he accepted with determination the onerous challenge of man-making and character-building work among ordinary Hindus for re-establishing Sanatana Dharma by unifying Hindus with a non-conflicting and assimilating agenda. He was firm in his convictions that all who were born in India are Hindus by culture, irrespective of whatever faith and worship practices they followed as suited to their spiritual needs. He saw no conflict between worship practices of different faiths and cultural nationalism of this ancient nation. This, he believed, is the real assimilation and integration. This is precisely the assimilative concept in which the Western countries commend to themselves and practice today for assimilating and integrating the minorities into the mainstream culture and identity of the respective nation. But it was precisely for this noble assimilative thought and concept of cultural nationalism based on it—which Shri Guruji articulated perhaps ahead of times—that the Indian establishment led by powerful men like Pandit Nehru undermined, even delegitimised, Shri Guruji and his work. But Shri Guruji stood by his conviction, which was good for all times and not by convenience of times. In this sense, he substantially moved away, from contemporaneity to see and work on the future of not just his motherland but also the whole world. Now, the whole world, whether it is the West or the Rest, seems to be inclined to accept his view that minorities should be assimilated into the mainstream of a nation for unity and integrity of nations. The mystic and spiritual link between this clarion call of Swami Vivekananda and the RSS was Shri Guruji as Shri Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar was first known to his students in Benaras Hindu University. Before destiny willed him to carry on, on the ground, the mission unveiled by Swami Vivekananda in his lecture titled My Plan of Campaign at Madras through the RSS, he had been initiated into the spiritual stream of Ramakrishna Mission by Swami Akhandananda. Shri Guruji was thus both a spiritualist and a nationalist visionary who considered atomised spiritualism only an individual’s selfish advancement when Sanatana Dharma was under pressure unless it was practised for promoting and preserving Sanatana Dharma for the collective good of the society. Shri Guruji thus renounced personal spiritual pursuits and sainthood, which would have made him reverent and famous. Thus, abandoning his spiritual pursuits he turned into an ordinary servant of Mother India. He, a saint, dwarfed himself into a mason for nation-building through mighty effort of RSS. Now it is the rising India and its global influence, which is the result of the organisation’s work, which will stand high, not even the name of the organisation, nor the names of millions who were inspired by Shri Guruji, the architect and mason of the temple of Mother India, himself. All of them, including Shri Guruji, will remain anonymous unless future history, fairly written, chooses to record their great work. If history did its job fairly, it would do credit to it as a truthful discipline, but that would not make any difference to Shri Guruji who commanded his colleagues not to make any memorial for him. This is real renunciation, real sainthood. When great leaders like Rajaji and Jayaprakash Narayan paid tributes to Shri Guruji they particularly referred to him and revered him as a saint. Yes, Shri Guruji was a saint but he was not just a saint in the sense of one who pursued moksha for himself. But, he was a saint who renounced his sainthood also in the mission of re-establishing Sanatana Dharma, which Maharishi Aurobindo defined as the soul and the very idea of Indian nationalism. The motto of his life was: Rashtraya swaha; Idam namaha. (The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) Shri Guruji saw no conflict between worship practices of different faiths and cultural nationalism of this ancient nation. This, he believed, is the real assimilation and integration.
Friday, March 24, 2006
BJP shows the way in Rajasthan
Last week I visited a village in Rajasthan that Prince Charles is due to visit next week. I went for the same reason he is going. To witness the operation of a water project that has transformed the lives of the people of Artiya, and many other villages, by providing them with that most basic of human needs: clean water. As someone who spends a considerable amount of time in a village in Maharashtra that does not have water I am passionate about the subject and make it a point to find out as much as I can about alternative means of providing what massive and very expensive government schemes have failed to deliver despite more than fifty years of trying.
Jal Bhagirathi projectThree years ago when I was in Jodhpur to interview the Maharajah for a television programme, I found him in the process of starting a project called Jal Bhagirathi. Gaj Singh of Jodhpur has chosen to stay out of politics but makes it a point to keep close touch with the people of his former kingdom and their most desperate complaint was the need of water. So he sought the help of Rajendra Singh, whose water project in Alwar has won him international recognition, and with his help set up Jal Bhagirathi which essentially helps villagers revive their traditional water conservation systems that were abandoned after Independence because evil politicians told them water would soon be gushing gut of taps. This has not happened even in our towns and cities and is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future which is why projects like Jal Bhagirathi are so important.I went to Artiya with Mahendra Mehta, a former civil servant who is now Project Director of Jal Bhagirathi. He is even more passionate about water than I am and on the hour-long drive from Jodhpur to Artiya gave me a detailed tutorial on why things had gone so wrong on the water front in India. `The situation all over the country, he said is grim because we are seriously depleting our groundwater resources end the biggest reason for this is free power to farmers. Unless this stops, we are in serious trouble’. Another populist idea from our Nehruvian socialist days that has served mainly to make people believe that government is obliged to give them everything without demanding anything in return.Mehta explained that the fundamental principle of Jal Bhagirathi was that nobody would get anything free. Unless the village comes up with thirty per cent of the cost, no project gets started. It is a system that clearly works because 175 projects under Jal Bhagirathi have come up in the past thirty years.The first thing you see when you get to Artiya is a large and impressively full lake. So many months after the last monsoon this is remarkable in itself but a short conversation with the villagers and I discovered the even more remarkable fact that thanks to Jal Bhagirathi this was their only source of clean water. A grizzled old man who described himself as the sarpanch-pati (husband of the sarpanch, she is illiterate) said, ‘We get water from the government but it is brackish and when we drink it we get sick so this water has made all the difference to our lives’.Mr. Mehta explained that although the tank had always been there, it had been shallow and badly lined and so it did not hold rainwater well. Jal Bhagirathi helped the village deepen the tank and line it properly and this had made the difference. Jal Bhagirathi’s basic work is the restoration and revival of old water bodies and creating awareness of the need for this. First, a ‘jal sabha’ (water meeting) is held, than a ‘jal samiti’ (water committee) formed, then the project gets approved a Jal Parishad before anything happens. And, Mr. Mehta emphasised, no money gets paid by Jal Bhagirathi in advance not even for the construction of village tanks.That this is important you realise if you travel in rural India and discover that the biggest damage socialism did was to give the people the idea that they would get everything free. In Artiya and nearby Bhakri my conversations with local people consisted of a litany of complaints of which the biggest one was unemployment. They wanted the famine relief programmes to start again, they said, because it was the only form of employment in the area. But, Jodhpur is just over forty kilometers away and all along the highway I noticed factories coming up where jobs could surely be had. When I asked Mr. Mehta about this he said, ‘government policies have made them dependent on schemes like famine relief which provide jobs in the village itself. So they will not take the trouble to go out and look for work.’
Break the mindsetIt is a mindset that Jal Bhagirathi seeks to break by making villagers pay at least partly for water projects. It is a mindset that needs to be broken all over India if our villagers are to participate more fully in the process of development and economic growth.On the drive back to Jodhpur I noticed a dusty pipeline laid untidily by the side of the road. It carried water and was broken at several points because nobody had even bothered to bury it underground. Over the years thousands of crores have been wasted on unwieldy government schemes of this kind when what we need is for thousands of Jal Bhagirathis to bloom.