Theology of Religion

Hindutva Understanding of Saffronisation

 Hindutva Understanding of Saffronisation

[Paper presented in the symposium jointly convened by

Church History Association of India and the Pontifical Institute, Alwaye]

Dr Vincent Kundukulam

2 November 2002

Vincent Kundukulam

Introduction

In the first session, listening to Dr. K.N. Panikkar, I am sure that we have deepened our understanding of saffronisation, its implications, and its far-reaching consequences for Indian society.

The topic that I deal with in this second session is ‘Hindutva understanding of Saffronisation’. Even though some call me an RSS-priest, I don’t stand amidst you now as their spokesman and I cannot be so. Neither the RSS would accept that. Still, if I prefer to speak on their behalf today that is because; it would give us a different outlook on saffronisation and it might stimulate a fruitful discussion on the topic.

I have divided my paper into three parts. At first we would see the Hindutva perspectives on Indian History, Education and Aryan Invasion. In the second part we would stipulate the reasons, which force RSS to proceed with the project of saffronisation in spite of the resistance emerging from various corners of the nation.  In the third part, I would make a brief critical evaluation of the Hindutva agenda behind saffronisation.

At the outset, let us recall that Sangh Parivar does not like the terms like saffronisation and talibanization. K.R. Malkani, one of the Hindutva ideologists, asks why should anybody be allergic to saffron? Saffron is a sacred color. It is the essence and symbol of Indian culture.  It represents sacrifice, asceticism, strength and purity. According to Dina Nath Batra, national general secretary of Vidhya Bharati, if the opponents mean the effort to bring the moral values of Indian culture in education by saffronisation, then government welcomes it. But to attribute a fanatic meaning to this term is an assault made on Hindu religion. (Organizer, 16 December 2001, 7)

The leaders of Hindutva call the process of rewriting history as de-colonization.  In the words of N.S. Rajaram, one of the contemporary intellectuals of Hindutva, saffronisation is nothing but correcting the colonial distortions and fabrications. (Saffronisation or de-colonization? Organizer, 2 September 2001) In this paper, however I make use of the term saffronisation because it is the key term of our discussion.

Now may I present before you the deliberations of Sangh Parivar on history of India, Aryan Invasion theory and Educational system. I don’t take any standpoint in this part, which I feel is necessary for the objectivity of our study.

Part 1 Hindutva perspectives on Saffronisation

1 History of India

We are taught in schools that India rose as a nation only in 1947 and its principal founders are Gandhi and Nehru. Before the colonization period India was just a confused mass of local kingdoms with no national consistency. But the advocates of Hindutva hold the view that India was a nation from time immemorial. For them the history of India can be traced from the Hindu texts like Vedas, Puranas and Itihasas. (The need for a new Indic School of Thought, Organizer, 10 June 2001)

According to Golwalkar the origin of Hindus is unknown to the scholars of history. Hindus are anadi, without beginning. To define Hindu people is difficult just as we cannot define God. Golwalkar writes in Bunch of Thoughts:

“We existed when there was no necessity for any name … We built a great civilization, a great culture and a unique social order. We had brought into actual life almost everything that was beneficial to mankind. Then the rest of humanity were just bipeds and so no distinctive name was given to us. When different faiths arose in foreign lands and those alien faiths came into contact with us the necessity for naming us was felt. And then given to us the name Hindus associated with river Sindhu’. (M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 1980, 73-74)

K.S. Sudarshan, the present Sarsanghchalak of RSS, referring to atharvaveda, places the origin of Hindu Rashtra at the moment of God’s creation.

“This glorious, powerful nation was born out of the strict penance done by the sages for the welfare of the world. Hence let us bow before this goddess, our motherland.” (K.S. Sudarshan, Why Hindu Rashtra?. 11-12).

In fact, for RSS ‘Hindus were one nation with one motherland long before the West had learnt to eat roast meat instead of raw. It was the Britishners, who, to achieve their ulterior motive, set afloat all mischievous notions regarding India’. (M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 1980, 109). According to Sangh Parivar Hindus were not only the first people but also the best people. The VHP claims that prior to the coming of the Muslims and the British, the Hindus did not know how to speak lies and there was no theft in Bharat. Bharat was a pure and holy land. (Hindu Vishva 33-34, quoted by C.V. Mathew, Saffron Mission, 1999, 210)

            The territory ruled by Aryans in the past was bigger than the present India. It comprised of the present Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. The influence of India had spread as far as Vietnam and even Indonesia. Bharat at that epoch is compared to a woman whose head is Himalayas, dipping her arms at Iran in the West and at Singapore in the East, with Sri Lanka as a lotus petal offered at her sacred feet. (M.S. Golwalkar, Bunch of Thoughts, 1980, 111). Explaining the tremendous Hindu influence of the past P.N Oak, write in a VHP monthly called Hindu Vishva, as follows:

The whole world was Hindu in the beginning. Many of the prominent non-Hindu shrines of today were at those period Hindu temples. The Dome of the Rock and the near by AL Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem were Krishna temples; St. Paul’s in London was a Krishna Mandir; Notre Dame in Paris was a Durga temple; Kaaba in Mecca was a Vishnu temple. Later they were proselytized as Christian and Muslim. (Forgotten temples, Hindu Vishva, 49-57, 64 cf. C.V. Mathew, Saffron Mission, 1999, 209-210)

2. Aryan invasion theory

Historians tell us that Aryans are alien forces, which came from Iran and infiltrated into India around 1500 B.C. The Hindutva leaders vigorously attack this theory saying that the British formulated it with vested interests. According to them, the British version of Indology is not based on the primary sources. The proposal of Aryan invasion theory was a historical accident. In 1784 Sir William Jones an English jurist of East India Company began to study Sanskrit for the better understanding of the legal and political traditions of India. In course of research he was struck by the extraordinary similarities between Sanskrit and ancient European languages like Latin and Greek. To account for this similarity some scholars postulated that the ancestors of Indians and Europeans might have once lived together in the same region and spoken the same language. Scholars called it Aryan language and their homeland was located between Germany and Turkestan. It is in this background that Aryans are illustrated as a people who migrated to India from the Middle East. Max Muller later assigned a date of 1500 BC for the composition of the Rig Veda, the oldest member of the Vedic corpus. (N.S. Rajaram, Historical divine: Archeology and Literature, 3 February 2002)

But the nationalist historians claim that excavations done in the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro (Punjab and Sindh) disapprove the European postulations. The archeological remains of the Indus valley civilization dated from 3100 BC to 1900 BC represent the culture described in Vedic literature. The secular historians reject the Vedic identity of Harappan civilization with ulterior motives. They insist that Harappans were a pre-Vedic people who were defeated by the invading Aryans and were forced to migrate en masse to South India, later known to be Dravidians. It was a device to keep intact the Aryan invasion theory. (N.S. Rajaram, Historical divine: Archeology and Literature, 3 February 2002)

Hindutva intellectuals note that the archeologists have not found any evidence of invasion or warfare enough to account for the uprooting of Harappan civilization. Whereas, the decline of Harappan civilization could be attributed to natural causes like drying up of vital river systems. It is known that there took place a severe 300 year drought between 2200-1900 BC which might have exterminated the Harappans. They claim that the theory of Harappans as Dravidians is also false. The earliest examples of South Indian writings use a version of the Brahmi script, which originated in North India. If the present day Dravidians were descendants of the Harappans why did they borrow a Brahmi script closer to Aryan origin? Harappans were a literate people and they might have had their own script. Can one rationally imagine that while Harappans migrated to the South’ they did not take up their script and that they adopted an Aryan script after 1000 years? To RSS the similarity between ancient Dravidian script and Brahmi of north is good enough to prove the relationship between Harappan and Vedic culture. (N.S. Rajaram, Historical divine: Archeology and Literature, 3 February 2002)

In the light of these reasons RSS propagate that the Aryans were not a race but tribes, speaking Sanskrit or related languages. Aryans called themselves Aryans to distinguish their cultural traits from others. There was intermingling among the tribes. According to the RSS there were Dravidian rishies among the composers of the Rig Vedas. (M.R. Mallya, Marxists maneuvered to mould History, 20 January 2002)  In the book, ‘Aryans who are they?’ Shriram Sathe stresses that the original meaning of the term Aryan was ‘a well-cultured man’. The British and Christian Missionaries called Brahmins as Aryans in order to increase communal spirit among the Hindu sects and thus facilitate colonial rule in India. The propaganda that people speaking languages of north and that of south is also a tactic to divide Indian population into two Aryan-Dravidian clans. (1991, 13-27)

3. Education

            Hindutva leaders find various drawbacks in the present education programme. Progress of a nation depends up on the education system based on patriotism. The youngsters should have love and respect for motherland and those great noble men who strived for protecting and strengthening her culture. But the British education system crushed down the self-respect of Indians. Our children are never taught what our forefathers did. Even after Independence the same system of education is being continued without any change. That is why we don’t find self-esteem and valor among our youth. The talented youngsters are leaving for foreign countries. (N.S Rajaram, National Security is Paramount, Organizer, 4 November 2001)

            Another drawback of our education system is that it is information oriented and it does not help the building up of character. Information oriented education produce engineers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, bureaucrats, industrialists, etc.  who fulfill our material needs. But it does not form professionals with character. It happened due to the infiltration of the communists into the academic institutions and media since the time of Nehru who had leftist leanings. They purged of all aspects that would arouse Hindu ethos in the minds of youth. In the name of progressiveness they gave the Indian literature and art a leftist hue. They sidelined nationalist thought process by branding it as obscurantist, reactionary and fundamentalist. Consequently an authentic Indian worldview coming out of its culture is hard to be found in Indian education. (N.S Rajaram, National Security is Paramount, Organizer, 4 November 2001)

            National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) decided to modernize education by upholding these forgotten values of Indian civilization. J.S. Rajput, the director of NCERT states that the revised curriculum was prepared in accordance with the guidelines given by the education policy documents of 1986 and 1992. Government was merely implementing the recommendations of the parliamentary sub committee, headed by Congress leader S.B. Chavan. This committee had recommended introducing the basic of all religions to the school students. Young immature minds should be exposed not only to Harry Potter, Enid Blyton and Superman but also to the great stories from the lives of Rama, Krishna, Guru Gobind Singh, Hazrat Mohammed Saheb, Bhagawan Mahavir, Jesus Christ and other religious leaders. That would certainly provide a great understanding of India as a nation and its diversities to the children. NCERT has only put into practice the education about religions. (A. Raja, NCERT on the right path, Organizer 13 May 2001 & S. Khosla, Saffronisation: What is wrong with it?  Organiser, 9 September 2001)

Sangh Parivar argue that NCERT have deleted in the new textbooks, only those parts, which were repulsive to the sentiments of Sikhs, Jats, Buddhists, and Jains. A student of history in BA and MA may enjoy the freedom to be acquainted with variety of interpretations possible for a historical event. But that should not be the case for higher secondary schools. To drive this point home, they ask. Mahatma Gandhi at one stage of his life decided to sleep in the nude with one of his ashramite girls who was also in the nude. He did not make a secret of it. So he wrote about it in Harijan as he was testing his brahmacharya. Should this be mentioned in the history textbook for tenth standard students to provide them a contemporary version of Gandhiji’s character? Mahatma’s experiments with brahmacharya cannot be a fit subject for the edification of fifteen-year-old children. RSS believe that the higher secondary students need not be exposed to different views for a critical appreciation of history. (MV. Kamath, Organizer, 16 December 2001)

            Sangh Parivar accuses secular brigades and Christians of their vested interests in opposing saffronisation. The secularists always look to white skinned experts as authority as they have been formed by them.  They are afraid that nationalist version of history would shake their place in the nation. (N.S Rajaram, National Security is Paramount, Organizer, 4 November 2001) Christians command wealth and influence out of proportion in education and media. The westerners had given away valuable properties to the Christians in the best Indian cities. Even now the Christians perceive themselves as part of Europe. They want to continue the proxy colonialism through the control of education. The bishops and priests handle the educational institutions. It is to protect their wealth that they blackmail nationalist reforms. (Organizer 01/07/01)

Part 2 Understanding Hindutva concerns

We have seen the main thoughts of Hindutva with regard to Indian History, Aryan invasion theory and Education. Now in this second part we are making an attempt to understand them from their own perspective. As you know, much of our thoughts are shaped by our past experience. This is true not only of individual but also of society. If Hindutva has a stubborn attitude in rewriting history it might have its non-digested past.

4. Rectifying the Congress ideology of fanciful fraternity

            The Hindutva obsession of saffronisation may be seen as a step to rectify the Congress version of Indian history. RSS intellectuals are of opinion that the present version of Indian history is the result of Congress’ attempt to fabricate a composite Hindu-Muslim nationalism, which they thought would solve the Hindu-Muslim conflicts in India.

When the history of freedom movement was written, research workers were instructed not to record the incidents of violence displayed in the freedom movement. On the one hand, the Nehru government sought to convince the outside world that freedom struggle was based on Gandhian non-violence. On the other hand, in writing history Congress supposed that it would fortify Hindu-Muslim unity by omitting references to Muslim terrorism. Thus history became handmaid for Congress politics.

A statement published by the Indian History Congress of 1964 reveals the historical perspective of post-independent time.

“The historians cannot shrink their responsibility by burying their head in the false dogma of objectivity. History must not call to memory ghastly aberrations of human nature but of higher values of human life and the nobler deeds of humanity. The reason for omission is that such things bring in unhealthy trends which militate against the course of national solidarity”. (V.P. Bhatia, A Nation living on historic lies, Organizer 30, December 2001)

But this deliberate falsification of history, did not produce any positive result, says the RSS. The political goal of Hindu-Muslim unity was never achieved. On the contrary it led to a false notion of secularism. Therefore Sangh Parivar is now rewriting the history of India including the atrocities committed by Muslim invaders and the separatist tendencies shown by minority communities before independence.

5. Reaction to Marxist lobby

            The Hindutva authors remark that since the dawn of independence the Marxian historians had a stranglehold over Indian history writing because of the Nehruvian patronage. Many of the universities fell into their hands. Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra, R.S. Sharma, Bipan Chandra, our distinguished guest K.N. Panikkar, Irfan Habib are some who got upper hand in writing history. According to Sangh, these leftist historians made Indian history a sequence of invasions. They viewed India as a country of diverse cultures belonging to successive invaders, ultimately knit together by the British into a single country.

A significant part of their effort was to white wash the medieval period of Muslim rule in India. They purged history books that mention of any of the well-established fact of destruction and desecration of Hindu temples by Islamic rulers. Muslims had vandalized at several times Vijayanagar Empire after its defeat in 1565. Under Aurangzeb the Marathas had been crushed. Sikh guru was beheaded. Still the left minded historians did not treat Aurangzeb as fanatic. They refused to admit that Babar destroyed Ram Temple.

Coming to the modern period, left-oriented historians misinterpreted Shivaji and Maratha leaders. The Jatts had asserted themselves against Mughal emperors. They established kingdoms and protected people from the oppressors of Delhi. These were spontaneous uprising of the Indian people against foreign tyrannies. But Satish Sharma and others called the Jatts plunders. Shivaji and Maratha leaders were portrayed as Hindu chauvinists representing zamindari vested interests. They inducted derogatory remarks against Guru Teg Bahadur in the textbooks. Guru Bahadur was one who opposed Aurangzeb’s policy of forcible conversion. The Mughals beheaded him. RSS complains that Marxian historians make an assault of Indian civilization depending upon Persian records. (M.R. Mallya, Marxists maneuvered to mould History, 20 January 2002).

The Hindutva intellectuals have the feeling of not being listened to the above-mentioned gang of historians. Their domination has created a sense of inferiority complex among the Hindutva historians. Having BJP government at the Center, the humiliated nationalist historians are trying to impose their hegemony in Indian history. Saffronisation is part of freeing Indian history from the clutches of Marxian forces. By introducing a new version of history they want to dump the Marxist oriented books to the archives.

6. In search of founding India on Hindutva

            The whole world is at present undergoing a radical change. The old established order does not cease to be, nor does the new one come up all at once. India is not an exception to this global cultural transformation. At this transitional period, Sangh Parivar is in search of a new set of principles that would build up a prosperous Bharat.

            For Sangh Parivar, secularism cannot be the founding stone of Indian polity because it is a negative concept. All it means is the negation of any role for organized religion in the government. This is a deeply flawed vision because it denies any role for India’s spiritual tradition in national life. What defines a nation is its history and tradition. In the case of India, unfortunately this place is occupied by western culture. The important issues determining the future of Indic civilization like what Indian civilization is, when India as a nation first arose, how to reform Indian society and how India can achieve its right place in the world are yet resolved according to western parameters. (The need for a new Indic School of Thought, Organizer, 10 June 2001)

Hindutva intellectuals see that the western ideologies are failing to address the spiritual needs of humanity. They are incapable of creating a world order that transcends dogmatism or exclusivism. Western consumerism is becoming more and more rampant rendering a life of ease and immorality to the upcoming generation. Therefore India cannot lay its foundation upon western materialism. Besides, no country in the human history became great on borrowed thoughts and technologies. It is in this context that we have to understand Hindutva agenda for saffronisation in building up the nation.

Golwalkar, while discussing the essentials of building up a nation points out five elements. They are geographical territory, race, religion, culture and language. (We or Our Nationhood Defined, 1939, 39) Among them he considers cultural unity as more fundamental and enduring in welding a country into a nation. He writes:

People should have evolved a definite way of life molded by community of life-ideals, of culture, of feelings, sentiments, faith and traditions. If people thus become united in a coherent and well-ordered society having common traditions and aspirations, a common memory of the happy and unhappy experiences of their past life, common feelings of friendship and hostility and all their interests intertwined in one identical whole – then such people living as children of that particular territory may be termed as nation. (Bunch of Thoughts, 1966, 161).

The whole attempt of saffronisation is nothing but fabricating a common heritage for Indians, a monolithic understanding of India’s friends and foes, victories and failures, blessings and curses.

Nationalists rediscover and reinterpret in their own way the Indic tradition and portray Hindutva as the present ideological and practical offshoot of Sanatana Dharma. They militate for a swadeshi impression in every sphere of our national activity such as language, education, politics, economy and cultural values. That is why Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee spoke in Hindi on the historic occasion of the address by President Bill Clinton of USA to the joint session of Parliament in 2000. The Sangh justifying Prime Ministers’ choice commented that if the speech was delivered in English the entire world might have come to know that even after five decades of political freedom Bharat has not developed its national language. (Organizer, 16 April 2000)

Conclusion

In conclusion I don’t want to again synthesize my paper. My objective was to expose and understand Hindutva stand on saffronisation. I would conclude by saying that what happens in India is also to be understood in relation to the international panorama.

A clash of civilizations is occurring through out in the world today, a war of cultures at various levels in both our personal and public lives. This clash is partly due to rising historical and cultural awareness on the part of newly independent countries. The new independent countries fight for a share in global market of cultures. The western civilization continues its domination by subordinating the rest through new forms of cultural manipulation: control of the media and new information networks, control of the entertainment industry, control of educational institutions and curricula, etc. (The need for a new Indic School of Thought, Organizer, 10 June 2001).

To win over the western cultural domination the indigenous nations highlight the failures of post modernity, which is identified with the Euro-centric cultures.  Post modernity and philosophy have disclosed the fact that the cosmos would ever remain mystery for man in spite of the discoveries. Science, technology and computers are not everything. Thus disqualifying reason and science the new nations propose comforting certainties of supra-rational faiths as a solution to the problems of human life. They take refuge in religion to give the individual and the society a sense of identity with the distant past and the limitless future. The development of religio-centric nationalism in different countries especially in the Islamic ones is to be understood in this background. Saffronisation is one aspect of the growing Hindu religious nationalism.

 

4. Critical appraisal

4.1) As the proponents of Hindutva claim, had India always been a nation with its people having strong nationalistic feelings? It may be correct to say that there existed certain elements common to the life-style of people who were living in India, which might be the result of the interactions that happened in course of centuries. The interpretations given by the Brahmins to the values and traditions of social life also might have helped assimilation of culture by majority of people. But still existed big differences from caste to caste, race to race and religion to religion in the cultural patterns.

But actually speaking ancient India had never been a nation in the modern sense of the word. Today nation is understood as a systematic communitarian life with the authority centered on a government. This is entirely a new concept. Ancient India had never been politically united except during the period of Mauryan rulers (BC 325-187). (R. Kothari, Politics and the People, 19889, 481). The notion of India as a Hindu nation in the modern sense of the term might have begun only by 1920s says G. Pandey. According to him one of the primary initiative to launch the notion of Hindu rashta was taken by Swami Shradananda a leader of Aryasamaj. In his pamphlet ‘Hindu Sanghatan Saviour of the Dying Race’ he extolled Hindus to build temples all the towns here as the preliminary step in the formation of a Hindu nation. (Hindu and Others, 1993, 242-243)

It is not just merely the Sangh Parivar who misinterprets and twists history. All the nationalists have done that according to the needs of fostering unity among their adepts. Pandey observes that during the struggle for independence Indian national Congress had claimed that India had a definite geographical territory that demarcated it from other countries. It also upheld the view that India had rich tradition of being tolerant towards other cultures and ideologies. Akbar’s period was projected as testimony of the Indian ability to lead a life harmonizing various religions. They argued also that India can be economically self-reliant.

The claims of the Sangh are based merely on myths of Epics and Puranas and not on the historical facts. What is more dangerous is that they exclude the non-Hindu communities from the Hindu Rashtra in the light of mythical interpretation of the history. As K.N. Panikkar says the leaders of Hindutva divide the history of India into three periods: ancient Hindu period as the golden age, the medieval period as that of decline and the modern period as that of revival. The glorification of the ancient Indian history and the denial of medieval period is a tactic to deny the cosmopolitan nature of Indian culture, to establish that Hindutva alone is the national culture and to depict non-Hindus as the second-class citizens. (Communalism in India, 1991, 1-3)

4.2 The tribals do not agree with the Hindutva reinterpretation about the origin of Aryans. They hold the view that they are the real inhabitants of India. The statement of the spokesmen of the Indian tribals at the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Geneva, in August 1987 emphasized their original Indian identity: “From historical anthropological and sociological points of view we know that we are the Indigenous Tribal People of India from pre-historic times with distinct social, economic, political and territorial identities. The Aryan invaders, the Moslem dynasties and finally the British had established their colonization in India. But as Adivasis i.e. Indigenous Tribal Peoples, we will still maintain our distinct identity” (M.E. Prabhakar, Towards A Dalit Theology, 1989, 22).

4.3. As part of renovating the educational programme on the basis of Hindutva its leaders remove from the school syllabus lessons about the eminent non-Hindu pioneers and induct the ideology of Sangh Parivar in the curriculum. When BJP rose to power in UP, its educational minister Rajnath Singh included the Sangh’s interpretation of Ramjanmabhoomi issue in the school textbooks. Also the BJP government in MP tried to restructure the syllabus right from primary to University levels according to the ideals of Hindutva. Shivaji and Pratab appeared as national heroes and Aurangazeb was portrayed as a revolutionary. Even Mahatma Gandhi was not spared from their assault. Lessons about Upadhyaya and Hedgewar were included in textbooks. Special privileges are allotted to schools run by Vidhyabharati (India Today, 15 August 1992, 133-135)

Other matters

History: But the pseudo-secular historians dismiss them as mythology. They define the history of India in the light of European parameters. The westerners refuse to accept the relevance of Indian traditions not because they are wrong. It is meant to undermine the culture of Indian subcontinent and subordinate it to the West. (The need for a new Indic School of Thought, Organizer, 10 June 2001) Hindus were forming one community in India since time immemorial of which the Maurya rein (322-187 BC) and Harsha dynasty (640 AD) are latest examples.

In 3rd and 4th chapters of his famous work, We or Our Nationhood Defined Golwalkar  concludes: “National existence is entirely dependent up on the co-coordinated existence of the five elements constituting the Nation idea – Country (geographical territory) race, religion, culture and language. That is the final incontrovertible verdict of theoretical discussion and their practical application to the world conditions past and present” (39)

Education: NCERT director J.S. Rajput in his reply to Shri V.R. Krishna Iyer said that the utility, acceptability, credibility of education would not be judged only by employer and experts but also by communities. (Organiser, 13 May 2001). This appears as a genuine statement but may be deceiving in the sense that Sangh remains for Sangh Parivar the moral power om whom people have conferred their authority.

There is no mathematics as such in any Veda. All ancient mathematics is being called ‘Vedic Maths’ for the sake of convenience. So there is no point in opposing it as Hindu Mathematics.

Malkani observes that retired justice V.R. Krishna Iyer who had earlier associated himself with the critics has in a letter to the HRD Minister said: I drop my criticism of the NCERT stand”

They hate Vedic maths, Sanskrit, Yoga and Jyotish. It is impossible for them to accept that Vimanashastra of sage Bharadwaja and Raja Bhoji Paramar describe the construction of aeroplanes and that Mundakopanishad speaks of nuclear energy. Dr. Bokare compiled the economic ideas right from the days of Vedas to Kautilya in a book called Hindu economics. (N.S Rajaram, National Security is Paramount, Organizer, 4 November 2001)

Aryan invasion theory: RSS refuses Aryan invasion theory and establishes Vedic presumptions as historical. It aims at implementing a systematic programme to rationally connect Harappan archeology and Vedic literature. Hindutva leaders believe that Indian civilization dates to around 3 to 4 thousand BC. Saraswati river flew through the heart of Indus and the Rig Veda was composed here. (M.R. Mallya, Marxists manoeuvred to mould History, 20 January 2002)

To facilitate the cultural integration of tribals into the Hindu Samaj RSS evokes tribals’ loyalty to the practice of Hindu values like solidarity, honesty, hospitality, modesty, etc. The same way Sangh highlights the patriotism of tribals. The tribal armies of Bhils, Malvas and Kolis have fought against Mughals. It was Jiwa Mahala, a tribal soldier who saved the life of Shivaji in Pratapgarh hills.

The Vanavasis Kalyan Ashram has recently changed the name of Adivasis as vanavasis, in order to refute the tribal claim of being the original inhabitants of India. For RSS Vanavasis is the appropriate name to designate the tribals. (Tribals: Treasure trove of India, 1993, 1) It has also put up several means to hinduize tribals. To convince tribals of their Hindu identity Sangh Parivar shows that tribal culture goes along with the Hindu culture. For example, the tribal worship of nature is also popular among Hindus. This strategy of hinduization is evident in the words of Despande, the founder of VKA in Chattisgarh. He told me in an interview: “Through various activities we try to convince the tribals that their identity is in no way distinct from that of the Hindus. If these tribals progress in the economic sector without any nationalistic feeling they would turn to be the greatest enemies of the country. Is it right to help them progress economically without nurturing up their nationalistic feelings?”  (Tribals: Treasure trove of India, 1993, 2-14)

 

Astrology

 

Astrology is a subject difficult to believe but even more difficult to disbelieve. We scientifically admit that there is an inescapable and undoubted linkage between terrestrial bodies and celestial bodies. Sun and the moon cause tidal waves. Why can’t then we guess that these planets have some influence on life on earth? Fact is that life is full of uncertainties. Therefore man would always try to know the future.  We teach meteorology, which is not accurate any way. Why can’t then teach astrology? There are lots of cases where the predictions of astrologists have come true like the death of Patel, Maulana Azad, Nehru, etc. Regular courses in astrology would check the growth of bogus astrologers who bring a bad name to astrology. (K.R. Malkani, In Defense of Saffronisation, Organizer, 30/9/01).

Reconversion

            As part of hinduizing the non-Hindus the process of shuddhi is being implemented, the Reconversion of former Hindus who are now Muslims or Christians. The Sangh holds that the present non-Hindu Indians were once Hindus and were converted to other religions through force and deception. It alleges that conversions from Hindu fold to other religions are mainly due to inducements, persuasion and fraudulent means. Deoras, the third Sarsanghchalak has explicitly said that the Sangh would not allow conversion of Hindus to other religions any more and those who have already left Hinduism should be brought back to Hindu fold by persuasion. (Maharashtra Herald, 15 January, 1984)

Appointments

The pseudo-liberals and the secular brigade launch a vicious campaign against the appointments of professionals with an RSS background on any position of authority by the Government as if belonging to that patriotic organization is a sin of highest order. For example, they opposed the appointment of Bhishma Kumar Agnihotri as ‘Ambassador at large’ for NRIs and PIO (People of Indian Origin) and as an advisor in the Indian embassy in Washington with the personal rank of ambassador. He is the RSS chief in USA and is associated with BJP. If there is nothing wrong in appointing crypto-Communists and defeated Congress leaders to sensitive diplomatic positions, how the appointment of an eminent professor and lawyer as advisor will hurt the national interests? (Shyam Khosla, Saffronisation: What is wrong with it?  Organiser, 9/9/01)

Sanskitisation

            Even Nehru had said: “If I was asked what is the greatest treasure which India possesses and what is her greatest heritage, I would answer unhesitatingly that it is the Sanskrit language and literature and all that contains.” On 4th October 1994, Justices Kuldip Singh and Hansaria of the Supreme Court upheld the primacy of Sanskrit: “In view of the importance of Sanskrit for nurturing our cultural heritage, making of Sanskrit alone as an elective subject, while not conceding this status to Arabic and or Persian would not in any way militate against the basic tenet of secularism”. The real fear of the pseudo-secularists according to Malkani is that NCERT would strengthen Indian culture. The British were aware that all our knowledge and wisdom was hidden in Sanskrit literature.Hence they deliberately called it a dead language. But culture, which includes religion, is the soul of a nation. Every nation must protect its culture. Life is unnavigable without the mast, sail and flag of religion. (K.R. Malkani, In Defense of Saffronisation, Organizer, 30/9/01)

This is yet another epic war between Hindus and anti-Hindus, a veritable Mahabharat. As prophesied by Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi this country’s honor is surely going to shine forth one day. (K.S. Sudarshan, Organizer, march 19, 2000)

I make use of this opportunity to express my deep felt gratitude towards Dr. Panikkar for his great contributions to Indian history and to the social sciences, which were of great help for my doctoral studies. What I appreciate in Dr. Panikkar is that he rereads and interprets history not merely on the basis of written sources but also on the basis of data that he collects from different states of the country. He actively involves and cooperates with the secular minded people’s movements, visits areas of communal riots, and writes vigorously to defend secular fabric of Indian culture. Thank you very much Dr. Panikkar for your service to secularism and for your enriching deliberations.

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