ढोंग

ढोंग देखिये - पढ़े लिखे बहुत से लोग खुद को धर्म परिवर्तन कर बौद्ध ("जाग्रत व्यक्ति" या "प्रबुद्ध व्यक्ति") कहते है , अपने को भगवान बुद्ध जिन्होंने हिंसा/घृणा त्यागने का सन्देश दिया, का सबसे बड़ा भक्त समझते है, लेकिन यही लोग हिन्दू देवी देवताओं का मजाक उड़ाते हैं, हिन्दू समाज को गाली देते हैं, गीता, वेद, रामचरित इत्यादि को तरह तरह से तोड़मरोड़ कर समाज में घृणा और भ्रम फैलाते हैं, अम्बेडकर को ऊँचा बड़ा बताने के लिए गांधी, पटेल, नेहरू को गलियाते हैं। बुद्ध की नास्तिकता को आस्तिक हिन्दू दर्शन से तुलना कर आस्तिकों का मज़ाक उड़ाते हैं, पर दूसरे ही दिन आप को ये लोग बुद्ध और अम्बेडकर को भगवान मान कर उनके पैरों में दिया और अगरबत्ती जलाते हुए नज़र आते हैं, मत्था टेकते नज़र आते हैं। हिन्दुओं के बीच तो बुद्ध भगवान माने जाते हैं - पर इन झूठे बौद्धों ने हिन्दू देवी देवताओं, पुस्तकों, मिथकों इत्यादि के प्रति दलितों और पिछड़ों के बीच घृणा फैला रखी है। महात्मा बुद्ध ने क्या इसी घृणा और धूर्तता का सन्देश दिया था? बाबा साहब ने क्या इसी घृणा और धूर्तता का सन्देश दिया था?

RSS to train and appoint Dalits as priests in Hindu temples - 2006


NEW DELHI: Following up on its radical call last year to train and appoint Dalits as priests in Hindu temples, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has severely condemned the barring of Dalits from a temple in Orissa recently. 

An year-end editorial in the Sangh mouthpiece Panchjanya termed as unfortunate the discriminatory attitude of temple authorities at the Jagannath temple in Kerdagarh saying it was "shameful that even in 2006 there are temples where Dalits are disallowed ... Even God will desert the temple that Dalits cannot enter." 

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple was closed in mid-December with upper caste Hindus refusing to perform puja after three groups of Dalits, armed with a High Court order, entered the premises. 

The entry of the Dalits into the temple put an end to a 250-year-old ban, but the upper caste Hindus immediately closed the temple down saying it had been "desecrated". The imbroglio was later resolved by religious leaders, but deep-rooted resentment on both sides continues to simmer. 

The editorial further states that after the intervention of several senior religious leaders, Dalits have been allowed to enter the Kerdagarh temple. However, there are two paths leading up to the area from where devotees offer prayers - one for the "so-called upper castes" and one for Dalits. This, it says, is wrong and has to be amended forthwith. "There should be one path for all Hindus." 

The RSS has castigated what it repeatedly calls the "so-called uppers castes" for their discriminatory ways saying they are in fact of the "lowest levels" for doing so. "Those who are against allowing Dalits inside temples are against the Hindu Samaj", it states emphatically. "There should be no Hindu temple which discriminates against people on the basis of caste." 

Further, it says, "those Dalits who are being provoked to change their views through such incidents have to be assured that crores of Hindus are with them. 

It has also come down strongly on leaders of the "Hindu Samaj" for allowing situations which political opportunists can exploit. "The moment this controversy happened, political vultures started fuelling it ... Upholders of the Hindu Samaj have to ensure they allow no incident to occur that can be used by political opportunists. Nor should there be occasion for such an issue going to court." --a direct comment on the fact that Dalits had to approach the High Court for an order to enter the temple. 

Orissa temples have for long been embroiled in controversies arising out of incidents of caste or communal discrimination. The Jagannath temple in Puri famously turned away the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for being married to a non-Hindu. She had to view the temple from a building across the road.

सोनिया गाँधी को आप कितना जानते हैं ? (भाग-१)


जब इंटरनेट और ब्लॉग की दुनिया में आया तो सोनिया गाँधी के बारे में काफ़ी कुछ पढने को मिला । पहले तो मैंने भी इस पर विश्वास नहीं किया और इसे मात्र बकवास सोच कर खारिज कर दिया, लेकिन एक-दो नहीं कई साईटों पर कई लेखकों ने सोनिया के बारे में काफ़ी कुछ लिखा है जो कि अभी तक प्रिंट मीडिया में नहीं आया है (और भारत में इंटरनेट कितने और किस प्रकार के लोग उपयोग करते हैं, यह बताने की आवश्यकता नहीं है) । यह तमाम सामग्री हिन्दी में और विशेषकर "यूनिकोड" में भी पाठकों को सुलभ होनी चाहिये, यही सोचकर मैंने "नेहरू-गाँधी राजवंश" नामक पोस्ट लिखी थी जिस पर मुझे मिलीजुली प्रतिक्रिया मिली, कुछ ने इसकी तारीफ़ की, कुछ तटस्थ बने रहे और कुछ ने व्यक्तिगत मेल भेजकर गालियाँ भी दीं (मुंडे-मुंडे मतिर्भिन्नाः) । यह तो स्वाभाविक ही था, लेकिन सबसे आश्चर्यजनक बात यह रही कि कुछ विद्वानों ने मेरे लिखने को ही चुनौती दे डाली और अंग्रेजी से हिन्दी या मराठी से हिन्दी के अनुवाद को एक गैर-लेखकीय कर्म और "नॉन-क्रियेटिव" करार दिया । बहरहाल, कम से कम मैं तो अनुवाद को रचनात्मक कार्य मानता हूँ, और देश की एक प्रमुख हस्ती के बारे में लिखे हुए का हिन्दी पाठकों के लिये अनुवाद पेश करना एक कर्तव्य मानता हूँ (कम से कम मैं इतना तो ईमानदार हूँ ही, कि जहाँ से अनुवाद करूँ उसका उल्लेख, नाम उपलब्ध हो तो नाम और लिंक उपलब्ध हो तो लिंक देता हूँ) ।






पेश है "आप सोनिया गाँधी को कितना जानते हैं" की पहली कडी़, अंग्रेजी में इसके मूल लेखक हैं एस.गुरुमूर्ति और यह लेख दिनांक १७ अप्रैल २००४ को "द न्यू इंडियन एक्सप्रेस" में - अनमास्किंग सोनिया गाँधी- शीर्षक से प्रकाशित हुआ था ।
"अब भूमिका बाँधने की आवश्यकता नहीं है और समय भी नहीं है, हमें सीधे मुख्य मुद्दे पर आ जाना चाहिये । भारत की खुफ़िया एजेंसी "रॉ", जिसका गठन सन १९६८ में हुआ, ने विभिन्न देशों की गुप्तचर एजेंसियों जैसे अमेरिका की सीआईए, रूस की केजीबी, इसराईल की मोस्साद और फ़्रांस तथा जर्मनी में अपने पेशेगत संपर्क बढाये और एक नेटवर्क खडा़ किया । इन खुफ़िया एजेंसियों के अपने-अपने सूत्र थे और वे आतंकवाद, घुसपैठ और चीन के खतरे के बारे में सूचनायें आदान-प्रदान करने में सक्षम थीं । लेकिन "रॉ" ने इटली की खुफ़िया एजेंसियों से इस प्रकार का कोई सहयोग या गठजोड़ नहीं किया था, क्योंकि "रॉ" के वरिष्ठ जासूसों का मानना था कि इटालियन खुफ़िया एजेंसियाँ भरोसे के काबिल नहीं हैं और उनकी सूचनायें देने की क्षमता पर भी उन्हें संदेह था ।
सक्रिय राजनीति में राजीव गाँधी का प्रवेश हुआ १९८० में संजय की मौत के बाद । "रॉ" की नियमित "ब्रीफ़िंग" में राजीव गाँधी भी भाग लेने लगे थे ("ब्रीफ़िंग" कहते हैं उस संक्षिप्त बैठक को जिसमें रॉ या सीबीआई या पुलिस या कोई और सरकारी संस्था प्रधानमन्त्री या गृहमंत्री को अपनी रिपोर्ट देती है), जबकि राजीव गाँधी सरकार में किसी पद पर नहीं थे, तब वे सिर्फ़ काँग्रेस महासचिव थे । राजीव गाँधी चाहते थे कि अरुण नेहरू और अरुण सिंह भी रॉ की इन बैठकों में शामिल हों । रॉ के कुछ वरिष्ठ अधिकारियों ने दबी जुबान में इस बात का विरोध किया था चूँकि राजीव गाँधी किसी अधिकृत पद पर नहीं थे, लेकिन इंदिरा गाँधी ने रॉ से उन्हें इसकी अनुमति देने को कह दिया था, फ़िर भी रॉ ने इंदिरा जी को स्पष्ट कर दिया था कि इन लोगों के नाम इस ब्रीफ़िंग के रिकॉर्ड में नहीं आएंगे । उन बैठकों के दौरान राजीव गाँधी सतत रॉ पर दबाव डालते रहते कि वे इटालियन खुफ़िया एजेंसियों से भी गठजोड़ करें, राजीव गाँधी ऐसा क्यों चाहते थे ? या क्या वे इतने अनुभवी थे कि उन्हें इटालियन एजेंसियों के महत्व का पता भी चल गया था ? ऐसा कुछ नहीं था, इसके पीछे एकमात्र कारण थी सोनिया गाँधी । राजीव गाँधी ने सोनिया से सन १९६८ में विवाह किया था, और हालांकि रॉ मानती थी कि इटली की एजेंसी से गठजोड़ सिवाय पैसे और समय की बर्बादी के अलावा कुछ नहीं है, राजीव लगातार दबाव बनाये रहे । अन्ततः दस वर्षों से भी अधिक समय के पश्चात रॉ ने इटली की खुफ़िया संस्था से गठजोड़ कर लिया । क्या आप जानते हैं कि रॉ और इटली के जासूसों की पहली आधिकारिक मीटिंग की व्यवस्था किसने की ? जी हाँ, सोनिया गाँधी ने । सीधी सी बात यह है कि वह इटली के जासूसों के निरन्तर सम्पर्क में थीं । एक मासूम गृहिणी, जो राजनैतिक और प्रशासनिक मामलों से अलिप्त हो और उसके इटालियन खुफ़िया एजेन्सियों के गहरे सम्बन्ध हों यह सोचने वाली बात है, वह भी तब जबकि उन्होंने भारत की नागरिकता नहीं ली थी (वह उन्होंने बहुत बाद में ली) । प्रधानमंत्री के घर में रहते हुए, जबकि राजीव खुद सरकार में नहीं थे । हो सकता है कि रॉ इसी कारण से इटली की खुफ़िया एजेंसी से गठजोड़ करने मे कतरा रहा हो, क्योंकि ऐसे किसी भी सहयोग के बाद उन जासूसों की पहुँच सिर्फ़ रॉ तक न रहकर प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय तक हो सकती थी ।
जब पंजाब में आतंकवाद चरम पर था तब सुरक्षा अधिकारियों ने इंदिरा गाँधी को बुलेटप्रूफ़ कार में चलने की सलाह दी, इंदिरा गाँधी ने अम्बेसेडर कारों को बुलेटप्रूफ़ बनवाने के लिये कहा, उस वक्त भारत में बुलेटप्रूफ़ कारें नहीं बनती थीं इसलिये एक जर्मन कम्पनी को कारों को बुलेटप्रूफ़ बनाने का ठेका दिया गया । जानना चाहते हैं उस ठेके का बिचौलिया कौन था, वाल्टर विंसी, सोनिया गाँधी की बहन अनुष्का का पति ! रॉ को हमेशा यह शक था कि उसे इसमें कमीशन मिला था, लेकिन कमीशन से भी गंभीर बात यह थी कि इतना महत्वपूर्ण सुरक्षा सम्बन्धी कार्य उसके मार्फ़त दिया गया । इटली का प्रभाव सोनिया दिल्ली तक लाने में कामयाब रही थीं, जबकि इंदिरा गाँधी जीवित थीं । दो साल बाद १९८६ में ये वही वाल्टर विंसी महाशय थे जिन्हें एसपीजी को इटालियन सुरक्षा एजेंसियों द्वारा प्रशिक्षण दिये जाने का ठेका मिला, और आश्चर्य की बात यह कि इस सौदे के लिये उन्होंने नगद भुगतान की मांग की और वह सरकारी तौर पर किया भी गया । यह नगद भुगतान पहले एक रॉ अधिकारी के हाथों जिनेवा (स्विटजरलैण्ड) पहुँचाया गया लेकिन वाल्टर विंसी ने जिनेवा में पैसा लेने से मना कर दिया और रॉ के अधिकारी से कहा कि वह ये पैसा मिलान (इटली) में चाहता है, विंसी ने उस अधिकारी को कहा कि वह स्विस और इटली के कस्टम से उन्हें आराम से निकलवा देगा और यह "कैश" चेक नहीं किया जायेगा । रॉ के उस अधिकारी ने उसकी बात नहीं मानी और अंततः वह भुगतान इटली में भारतीय दूतावास के जरिये किया गया । इस नगद भुगतान के बारे में तत्कालीन कैबिनेट सचिव बी.जी.देशमुख ने अपनी हालिया किताब में उल्लेख किया है, हालांकि वह तथाकथित ट्रेनिंग घोर असफ़ल रही और सारा पैसा लगभग व्यर्थ चला गया । इटली के जो सुरक्षा अधिकारी भारतीय एसपीजी कमांडो को प्रशिक्षण देने आये थे उनका रवैया जवानों के प्रति बेहद रूखा था, एक जवान को तो उस दौरान थप्पड़ भी मारा गया । रॉ अधिकारियों ने यह बात राजीव गाँधी को बताई और कहा कि इस व्यवहार से सुरक्षा बलों के मनोबल पर विपरीत प्रभाव पड़ रहा है और उनकी खुद की सुरक्षा व्यवस्था भी ऐसे में खतरे में पड़ सकती है, घबराये हुए राजीव ने तत्काल वह ट्रेनिंग रुकवा दी,लेकिन वह ट्रेनिंग का ठेका लेने वाले विंसी को तब तक भुगतान किया जा चुका था ।
राजीव गाँधी की हत्या के बाद तो सोनिया गाँधी पूरी तरह से इटालियन और पश्चिमी सुरक्षा अधिकारियों पर भरोसा करने लगीं, खासकर उस वक्त जब राहुल और प्रियंका यूरोप घूमने जाते थे । सन १९८५ में जब राजीव सपरिवार फ़्रांस गये थे तब रॉ का एक अधिकारी जो फ़्रेंच बोलना जानता था, उनके साथ भेजा गया था, ताकि फ़्रेंच सुरक्षा अधिकारियों से तालमेल बनाया जा सके । लियोन (फ़्रांस) में उस वक्त एसपीजी अधिकारियों में हड़कम्प मच गया जब पता चला कि राहुल और प्रियंका गुम हो गये हैं । भारतीय सुरक्षा अधिकारियों को विंसी ने बताया कि चिंता की कोई बात नहीं है, दोनों बच्चे जोस वाल्डेमारो के साथ हैं जो कि सोनिया की एक और बहन नादिया के पति हैं । विंसी ने उन्हें यह भी कहा कि वे वाल्डेमारो के साथ स्पेन चले जायेंगे जहाँ स्पेनिश अधिकारी उनकी सुरक्षा संभाल लेंगे । भारतीय सुरक्षा अधिकारी यह जानकर अचंभित रह गये कि न केवल स्पेनिश बल्कि इटालियन सुरक्षा अधिकारी उनके स्पेन जाने के कार्यक्रम के बारे में जानते थे । जाहिर है कि एक तो सोनिया गाँधी तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री नरसिम्हा राव के अहसानों के तले दबना नहीं चाहती थीं, और वे भारतीय सुरक्षा एजेंसियों पर विश्वास नहीं करती थीं । इसका एक और सबूत इससे भी मिलता है कि एक बार सन १९८६ में जिनेवा स्थित रॉ के अधिकारी को वहाँ के पुलिस कमिश्नर जैक कुन्जी़ ने बताया कि जिनेवा से दो वीआईपी बच्चे इटली सुरक्षित पहुँच चुके हैं, खिसियाये हुए रॉ अधिकारी को तो इस बारे में कुछ मालूम ही नहीं था । जिनेवा का पुलिस कमिश्नर उस रॉ अधिकारी का मित्र था, लेकिन यह अलग से बताने की जरूरत नहीं थी कि वे वीआईपी बच्चे कौन थे । वे कार से वाल्टर विंसी के साथ जिनेवा आये थे और स्विस पुलिस तथा इटालियन अधिकारी निरन्तर सम्पर्क में थे जबकि रॉ अधिकारी को सिरे से कोई सूचना ही नहीं थी, है ना हास्यास्पद लेकिन चिंताजनक... उस स्विस पुलिस कमिश्नर ने ताना मारते हुए कहा कि "तुम्हारे प्रधानमंत्री की पत्नी तुम पर विश्वास नहीं करती और उनके बच्चों की सुरक्षा के लिये इटालियन एजेंसी से सहयोग करती है" । बुरी तरह से अपमानित रॉ के अधिकारी ने अपने वरिष्ठ अधिकारियों से इसकी शिकायत की, लेकिन कुछ नहीं हुआ । अंतरराष्ट्रीय खुफ़िया एजेंसियों के गुट में तेजी से यह बात फ़ैल गई थी कि सोनिया गाँधी भारतीय अधिकारियों, भारतीय सुरक्षा और भारतीय दूतावासों पर बिलकुल भरोसा नहीं करती हैं, और यह निश्चित ही भारत की छवि खराब करने वाली बात थी । राजीव की हत्या के बाद तो उनके विदेश प्रवास के बारे में विदेशी सुरक्षा एजेंसियाँ, एसपीजी से अधिक सूचनायें पा जाती थी और भारतीय पुलिस और रॉ उनका मुँह देखते रहते थे । (ओट्टावियो क्वात्रोची के बार-बार मक्खन की तरह हाथ से फ़िसल जाने का कारण समझ में आया ?) उनके निजी सचिव विंसेंट जॉर्ज सीधे पश्चिमी सुरक्षा अधिकारियों के सम्पर्क में रहते थे, रॉ अधिकारियों ने इसकी शिकायत नरसिम्हा राव से की थी, लेकिन जैसी की उनकी आदत (?) थी वे मौन साध कर बैठ गये ।
संक्षेप में तात्पर्य यह कि, जब एक गृहिणी होते हुए भी वे गंभीर सुरक्षा मामलों में अपने परिवार वालों को ठेका दिलवा सकती हैं, राजीव गाँधी और इंदिरा गाँधी के जीवित रहते रॉ को इटालियन जासूसों से सहयोग करने को कह सकती हैं, सत्ता में ना रहते हुए भी भारतीय सुरक्षा अधिकारियों पर अविश्वास दिखा सकती हैं, तो अब जबकि सारी सत्ता और ताकत उनके हाथों मे है, वे क्या-क्या कर सकती हैं, बल्कि क्या नहीं कर सकती । हालांकि "मैं भारत की बहू हूँ" और "मेरे खून की अंतिम बूँद भी भारत के काम आयेगी" आदि वे यदा-कदा बोलती रहती हैं, लेकिन यह असली सोनिया नहीं है । समूचा पश्चिमी जगत, जो कि जरूरी नहीं कि भारत का मित्र ही हो, उनके बारे में सब कुछ जानता है, लेकिन हम भारतीय लोग सोनिया के बारे में कितना जानते हैं ? (भारत भूमि पर जन्म लेने वाला व्यक्ति चाहे कितने ही वर्ष विदेश में रह ले, स्थाई तौर पर बस जाये लेकिन उसका दिल हमेशा भारत के लिये धड़कता है, और इटली में जन्म लेने वाले व्यक्ति का....)
(यदि आपको यह अनुवाद पसन्द आया हो तो कृपया अपने मित्रों को भी इस पोस्ट की लिंक प्रेषित करें, ताकि जनता को जागरूक बनाने का यह प्रयास जारी रहे)... समय मिलते ही इसकी अगली कडी़ शीघ्र ही पेश की जायेगी.... आमीन
नोट : सिर्फ़ कोष्ठक में लिखे दो-चार वाक्य मेरे हैं, बाकी का लेख अनुवाद मात्र है ।
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If this is what secularism means,give me Hindutva


By Tavleen Singh 

The Dar-ul-Uloom’s fatwa last week condemning Imrana to a marital life of unmitigated hell and absolving her rapist father-in-law comes as no surprise to me. It comes as no surprise because last year I had the dubious pleasure of visiting the Dar-ul-Uloom in Deoband and seeing for myself what this Islamic school that inspired the Taliban is really like. 




It was this inspiration that caused the Taliban to execute women in Kabul’s infamous football field for crimes they often did not know they had committed. It was this inspiration from Deoband’s interpretation of the shariyat that caused the Taliban to ban education for women and to punish them for such supposed misdemeanors as wearing white socks and shoes that made a noise when they walked. 


Now, Deoband rules that Imrana, a mother of five children, of Charthawal village, district Muzaffarnagar, in UP is haraam for her husband, Noor Ilahi because she dared protest publicly about being raped by her father-in-law, Ali Mohammad. 


It is typical of the Deobandi interpretation of the laws of Islam that they have not condemned the rapist. And, if you were following the story you would have noticed that the bearded maulvis who expounded on the subject on television hinted that they did not believe she could have been raped. “Taali donon haathon sey bajti hai,” said one bearded monster with a smug smile on his face. 


As a Muslim woman Imrana showed extraordinary courage in going public at all because under Islamic law rape can only be punished if four male witnesses exist. They never do. Her only hope now is that the normal laws of the land are implemented and her father-in-law charged and punished under them. Her personal life is ruined because her wimp of a husband has already announced that he will obey the fatwa from Deoband. 


There are wider implications of Imrana’s story and they should concern us all. What should concern us is that the Dar-ul-uloom will get away with its outrageous interference in the law. What should concern us even more is that the Dar-ul-uloom should exist at all on the soil of India. If you are shocked that I can say something so politically incorrect let me describe for you what this institution of Islamic teaching looks like. 


During the general election in May last year I happened to drive past Deoband on my way to cover election stories in UP and since I had heard of how the Taliban took their inspiration from the Dar-ul-Uloom decided that it would be worth my while to stop and take a look at this influential school. 


Deoband is a shabby, little hick town with a dusty, disorderly collection of half-built shops as its main bazaar and its shabbiness makes the magnificence of the Dar-ul-Uloom even more startling. But, I go too fast. I drove through the dusty bazaar, along a gutted road to arrive at a pair of tall, black wrought iron gates. Beyond these gates I could see several fine, white-washed Islamic buildings and beyond them a magnificent mosque that seemed almost bigger than the town of Deoband. At the entrance was a white-bearded gentleman in traditional Islamic clothing — a long kurta over loose pajamas that barely reached his calves. I asked him if I could meet the chief Maulana and after several minutes on the telephone to someone to whom he conveyed my request he said I could not meet him because a) I did not have an appointment and b) I was not veiled. 


This irritated me and I pointed out that this was India and not Saudi Arabia and in any case I was not Muslim and that if the Maulana was so keen on purdah then perhaps he should be in it. 


At this point a group of bearded students walked by and asked what was going on. When I explained they said I should go to the main office and make an appointment to come back another time. Knowing that I would never have any desire to come back to the Dar-ul-Uloom I decided that as I was there I could at least look around the famed seminary. 


So, despite the protests of the white bearded watchman I strolled onto the grounds and found myself in a little bit of Saudi Arabia. All the men I saw were bearded and in Islamic clothes, a small bazaar on the campus sold books only in Urdu and Arabic and when I stopped to talk to a group of young men they said (in Urdu) that they could not talk to me because they spoke only Arabic and I had been rude about their Maulana. I never found out what they considered rude but thought them not just rude but nauseatingly fanatical. 


The whole atmosphere was medieval and extremely unpleasant especially if you happened to be a woman. In the forty minutes or so that I spent in the Dar-ul-Uloom I saw only one other woman and she was so heavily veiled that only her eyes and a bit of her nose were exposed. So you see why the fatwa that punishes the victim and not the rapist comes as no surprise to me. 


Finally, two questions. Why is a seminary that can only breed Islamic fanatics allowed to exist in India? Will the government of India take action against the maulvis who issued that fatwa declaring Imrana haraam for her husband? Both questions demand answers from ‘secular’ leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav. And, if this is the secular India they want to build then give me Hindutva any old time.



http://archive.deccanherald.com/Deccanherald/jul22005/panorama164941200571.asp

SIR JOHN HERSCHEL ON HINDU MATHEMATICS.



[The following extract from Herschel's article "Mathematics" in David Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia (Philadelphia, 1832) is reprinted because it contains facts little known and arguments too good to be ignored. At the time when the article appeared, Colebrooke's great translation of the standard Hindu works of Algebra was still fresh in the public mind. (London, 1817.)  Albert J. Edmunds.]

So early as the latter part of the tenth century (A. D. 980) Gerbert, having learned of the Moors in Spain their system of arithmetic, had imparted it to his countrymen the French, whence it rapidly spread over Europe, and continues in use to the present moment. The Moors and Arabs, by their own unanimous avowal, derived this admirable invention from the Hindus who, there is good reason to believe, were in possession of it at least from the time of Pythagoras. The story of this philosopher's visit to the Brahmins is well known, and a suspicion may be entertained that his time there was better employed than in picking up the ridiculous doctrine of the transmigration of souls. Boetius relates the singular fact of a system of arithmetical characters and numeration employed among the pythagoreans, which he transcribes, and which bears a striking resemblance, almost amounting to identity, with those now in use, whose origin we know to be Hindu. The discovery (generally so considered) of the property of the right-angled triangle by the same philosopher, is a remarkable coincidence. This was known ten centuries before to the Chinese, if we may credit the respectable testimony of Gaubil. It was well known to the earliest Hindu writers of whom we have any knowledge, and who appear to have derived it from a source of much more remote antiquity. It is scarce conceivable that a Greek invention, of such extreme convenience as the decimal arithmetic, should have been treated with such neglect, remaining confined to the knowledge of a few speculative men, till, from being communicated as a mystery, it was at last preserved but as a curiosity ; but the aversion of that people to foreign habits will easily account for this, on the supposition of its Hindu origin.

An abstract truth, however, is of no country, and would be received with rapture, from whatever quarter, by men already advanced enough to appreciate its value. We are then strongly inclined to conclude that in the latter as well as in the former instance Pythagoras may have acted only the part of a faithful reporter of foreign knowledge, though the reverse hypothesis, viz., that the first impulse was given to Hindu science at this period by the Greek philosopher, might certainly be maintained.

However this may be, the great question as to the origin of algebra, which has been the cause of so much speculation, seems at length, by the enlightened researches which have of late been made in Hindu literature, nearly decided in favor of that nation. It will be proper to state, as briefly as is consistent with perspicuity, the grounds of this conclusion. The earliest Hindu writer on algebra, of whom any certain or even traditional knowledge has reached us, is the astronomer Aryabhatta who, from various circumstances, is concluded to have written so early as the fifth century.

It is true, the work of Diophantus takes the precedence of this in point of antiquity by about a hundred years, nor is it at all intended to deprive the Greek author of the merit of independent invention. Indeed the comparison of the state of knowledge in the two countries at the periods we speak of, is decidedly favorable to the independence of their views. By what we know of the Hindu author it appears that he was in possession of a general artifice of a very refined description (called in Sanskrit the kattaka, or "pulveriser") for the resolution of all indeterminate problems of the first degree,
and also of the method of resolving equations with several unknown quantities. It is very unlikely that these methods should have arisen at once or been the work of one man, especially as they are delivered incidentally in a work on astronomy., Now, of the latter of them we are not sure that Diophantus had any knowledge, as, although he resolves questions with more than one condition, he
always contrives, by some ingenious substitution, to avoid this difficulty. Of the former he was certainly ignorant. His arithmetic, indeed, though full of ingenious artifices for treating particular
problems, yet lays down no general methods whatever, and indicates a state of knowledge so far inferior to that of the Hindu writer that no supposed communication with India about the third or
fourth century would at all account for the phenomena. But there is yet stronger evidence. The Brahma-siddhanta, the work of Brahmagupta, a Hindu astronomer at the beginning of the seventh
century, contains a general method for the resolution of indeterminate problems of the second degree: an investigation which actually baffled the skill of every modern analyst till the time of La Grange's solution, not excepting the all-inventive Euler himself. This is a matter of a deeper dye.

The Greeks cannot for a moment be thought of as the authors of this capital discovery ; and centuries of patient thought and many successive efforts of invention must have prepared the way to it in the country where it did originate. It marks the maturity and vigor of mathematical knowledge, while the very work of Brahmagupta, in which it is delivered, contains internal evidence that in his time geometry at least was on the decline. For example, he mentions several properties of quadrilaterals as general which are only true of quadrilaterals inscribed in a circle. The discoverer of these properties (which are of considerable difficulty) could not have been ignorant of this limitation, which enters as an essential element in their demonstration. Brahmagupta, then, in this instance retailed, without fully comprehending, the knowledge of his predecessors. When the stationary character of Hindu intellect is taken into the account, we shall see reason to conclude that all we now possess of Hindu science is but part of a system, perhaps of much greater extent, which existed at a very remote period, even antecedent to the earliest dawn of science among the Greeks, and might authorize as well the visits of sages as the curiosity of conquerors. 

Hang in there!

I am listening to radio, amid all those Saturday-worries, sitting in my room. It is a great sunny day fortunately. I am really hopeful today of finishing my long-pending tasks. The anchors just used a phrase "hold on to". When it reached my ears, I couldn't understand its meaning. I was completely new to me. So I looked into my dictionary for its meaning. There I found a lot of other phrases that use the word hold. Hang on to something means " to hold firmly and not let it go". A related phrase is "hang it up" which means "to quit". It actually makes sense - when you say I am going to hang it up - it sounds more like hanging your clothes on the line. I am trying to make sense of it by its literal meaning. Another one related to it is "let it all hang out" which means to be completely relaxed. As you know hang out means to go out to enjoy and relax, away from your routine activities. So let it all hang out means - let everything relax. There is another one, generally used in informal conversation. It wasn't new for me and that is - hang on there! -- actually it is hang in there! It is used normally to say stay there and face the difficulties that you have to and I will be there to help in a while. Hang together means to be together in a times when the family or group is facing a danger or difficulty. When you say hang on, during your telephonic conversation, it means that you want the person to stay online, and wait for you until you come back.

Ramayan, Mahabharat historical sources, West dubs them myth


Y Sudershan Rao, chairperson, Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), says colonial and Marxist historians have dominated history writing in India for long. He feels there is a need to "Indianise" history and, for that, our epics and itihasas including Ramayana and Mahabharata should be treated as historical sources. Rao tells ET that he does not need any certification from the likes of Romila Thapar. Excerpts:


Mughal era depiction of Rama going into battle


The first event that you organized, the Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Lecture, saw frayed tempers with former VC of MG University, Kerala, Rajan Gurukkal, openly challenging keynote speaker Dr SN Balagangandhara...

Professor Balagandhara is a very well known philosopher and theoretician. I invited him to speak because he's neither Marxist nor Rightist in his approach. His question to Indian historians was that do Indians need a history or a past and whether historiographical methods can be applied to our Itihasas and Puranas. According to him, our history-writing is influenced by Christian theology. His ideas are ahead of his time. Gurukkal, who was the commentator at the memorial lecture, called him intellectually shallow. Perhaps he has not read any of Balagangadhar's works. Rajan just wasn't prepared to accept any criticism.

But many historians were unhappy you invited a philosopher to talk about history...

Is history the domain of only professional historians? Marx was not a historian. Was (DD) Kosambi a historian? But they wrote history and gave us tools of analysis and historiographical procedures. These disciplinary borders only exist in India. Nowhere else in the world would people ask you if you have a Masters in History before you, say, deliver a talk on Ashoka. Philosophy is one area where all sciences or social sciences ultimately merge. This is why we award a doctorate of philosophy in all subjects.

So does India, according to you, need a history or a past?

History writing in India is just about 300 years old and is not exactly reflective of our past. The first generation of history writers in India was European, the second generation was nationalist and the third generation in the post-Independence era was dominated by Marxists, who use European tools of analysis. The Europeans have not considered Puranas and Itihasas as historical sources and simply called them myths. If Rama's story is not true then how has he survived in the collective memory for so long? People do not care whether Ram is historical or not. He is truth for them. India's need is a special study of its past and the truth of its past cannot be denied. We need to Indianise our history writing.

You say Ramayana and Mahabharata are "truths", but we have many versions of both in our country. So what is the real truth?

I am not here to question the beliefs of people. The content of one Ramayana may be different from the other but the existence of Ram, Sita and Ravan is consistent. That's the truth. I might not know anything about my great great grandfather but I can't deny his existence for lack of evidence or how else would I be here? Similarly Rama's existence need not be proved by historical procedure. What benefit are you (historians) going to get if you deny the existence of Rama? Why do you want to try to prove he is not there?

History writing in India has always been a Left Vs Right debate. Will you try to change it?

ICHR is willing to debate all issues but historians participating should have a scientific temper. They should not get emotional. (Rajan) Gurukkal, for instance, was emotional in his comments and he wanted to condemn everything. Adi Shankaracharya and Mandana Misra once participated in a debate on Veda and Karma where the adjudicator was Misra's wife herself. She declared Shankaracharya as the winner knowing well that her husband would have to renounce the world and be Shankaracharya's disciple. That should be the scientific spirit.

RSS reiterates that India is a Hindu country. How would you define a Hindu?

Hinduism is a term that has been coined recently. In ancient literature, we called it Sanatan Dharma. We didn't have a name for our religion because we had none. Perhaps we didn't have any religion before Buddhism. It was after Buddha's death that books were written on Buddhism and it became a cult or religion. Hindu in ancient times was a name given to people who were living to the east of the Indus river up to Kanyakumari. Hindus were religious, nonreligious and irreligious. As a historian, I look at it that way.

Would you want to reopen the debate on whether Aryans were invaders/settlers or indigenous?

Aryans are called outsiders only by colonial and Marxist writers. We have evidence that points to indigenous origin of Aryans. Scholars in India have been aware of it, but are they (Marxist historians) ready to accept it? One needs a scientific spirit for that. Even if we organize a debate here in ICHR, will those people (Marxist historians) be part of the discussion? For instance, it's a known finding that the city of Dwarka exists under water. Inspite of recent archaeological evidences historians are still following colonial theories with regard to Hindu culture or Aryan debate.

What about suggestions that modern medical science was there in ancient India. For instance, Lord Ganesha and plastic surgery?

I don't think so. I think scientific concepts could have been there in ancient times but not actual examples of, say, plastic surgery.

Your appointment has is seen as a political decision. Historian Romila Thapar has said you haven't published in any peer reviewed journal. 

That's her opinion. 

But have these questions been posed to any other chairperson before?

Were these questions posed to Irfan Habib. He enjoyed two terms at ICHR. No media questioned him whether he was Marxist or with the Congress then. Romila Thapar is a historian and so am I. Do I need a certification from other historians to become the ICHR chairman? I have been appointed by the government and not a political party




Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/ramayan-mahabharat-historical-sources-west-dubs-them-myth-y-sudershan-rao/articleshow/45171587.cms?curpg=2

The Great Stink in London


In the summer of 1858, the city of London came to a standstill. Government could barely function; people resisted the urge to leave their homes, but demanded action from the government. What had brought London to its knees was the overwhelming stench that radiated from the surface of the River Thames.

supporters of Thames reform was an English chemist and physicist named Michael Faraday. He staunchly supported a complete reformation of the toxic river, so much so that after a boat ride along its surface, he composed and sent a letter to the editor of The Times newspaper. The letter, entitled ‘Observations on the Filth of the Thames,’ would soon become the public’s rallying point for an overall restoration of the Thames. Faraday wrote a blunt dissection of the situation regarding the polluted river. He described how he had tossed pieces of paper into the water which had almost immediately disappeared proving that ‘the whole of the river was an opaque pale brown fluid’ and that the river was nothing more than ‘a real sewer.’ Faraday also made it very clear when he cautioned that ‘if we neglect this subject, we cannot expect to do so with impunity; nor ought we to be surprised if, ere many years are over, a hot season give us sad proof of the folly of our carelessness.’

For centuries, England’s most famous river played the role of dumping ground for all of London’s various wastes—human, animal, and industrial. As the population of London grew from a tiny Roman fort into a large, metropolitan city, the amount of waste it produced expanded exponentially. By the 1600’s, many people began to recognise that the pollution of the city’s most vital water source was becoming a problem. Yet with no comprehensive idea on how to fix the issue, no action was taken and the people of London continued to use the Thames as both a water source and a rubbish bin. By the arrival of the 19th century, the problem had been left to stew for too long. Enough waste and pollution had accumulated in the Thames to make it the most contaminated and unhygienic river in the world.

Though the situation with the Thames was noticeable before the onset of England’s Industrial Age, it was the summer of 1858 that finally brought it to the attention of lawmakers. That particular summer, all of London was feeling the affects of an oppressive heat wave and as a result, all the sewage in the Thames began to ferment in the scorching sun—centuries of waste was literally cooking in the monstrous heat. The result was a smell as offensive and disgusting as can ever be imagined. It spawned accounts such as the following: there were “stories flying of men struck down with the stench, and of all kinds of fatal diseases, up-springing on the river’s banks.”

Luckily enough for the denizens of London, even the elite were not exempt from such an odious odour: ‘The intense heat had driven our legislators from those portions of their buildings which overlook the river. A few members, indeed, bent upon investigating the matter to its very depth, ventured into the library, but they were instantaneously driven to retreat, each man with a handkerchief to his nose.’

Members of Parliament tried at first to stay the course and continue their sessions without agreeing to any drastic plans of reform. They knew that any action taken in regards to ridding the stench would involve an arduous overhauling of the entire infrastructure of the Thames. Many lawmakers were hesitant to make such a commitment and tried instead to relieve their own battered senses.

Their first attempt to quench the stench involved dousing the curtains of Parliament in a mixture of chloride and lime. When that didn’t work, they even considered removing the entire government from the Westminster area—despite the newly constructed building they had only recently acquired. That idea was quickly dropped and soon, days had passed without the formation of a solid resolution. Eventually, the stench simply began to overpower the staunch sensibilities of many of the Members, some who could even be ‘seen fleeing from the Chamber, handkerchief to nose, complaining loudly about the “Stygian Pool” that the Thames had become.’

Thankfully, through a combination of pubic pressure and abject nasal suffering, Parliament finally chose to act instead of leaving the issue for another “hot season.” They also began to realize that simply relocating the seat of government would not do anything to alleviate the suffering of the people who could not move away from the toxic Thames.

Within a record of eighteen days, a bill was created, passed, and signed into law that would refurbish the entirety of the River Thames. Indeed, many found the situation ironic, as this passage illustrates:
‘In 1855 the condition of the Thames appalled the eminent scientist but three yeas later, in 1858, the hottest summer on record reduced it to a state in which it offended a more influential body: the politicians whose recently rebuilt hoses of Parliament stood upon its banks. This proximity to the source of the stench concentrated their attention on its causes in a way that many years of argument and campaigning had failed to do and prompted them to authorise actions which they had previously shunned.’

Disregarding the motives behind the renovation, London’s most important river was finally getting the care it so rightfully deserved. The reformation of the Thames included not only the implementation of a sewage system—to be designed by the English civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette—but also a construction of embankments along its sides. With these reforms, the Great Stink slowly began to dissipate and Londoners could breathe proper sighs of relief—not only for the clear air, but also for the other benefits that accompanied the integration of change. Not only did the Thames gradually evolve into one of the cleanest rivers in the world but the implementation of a functioning sewage system also aided in the elimination of several waterborne illnesses that had plagued London for centuries.

So while the Great Stink might have been deplorable and hideously offensive to everyone’s delicate senses it nonetheless helped to push forward a reform that had been waiting to be realized for centuries.

Healthcare in India


It is a daunting task to erect an efficient and well-functioning publicly-funded health system in low-resource settings such as India. Although India has a vast system of publicly-funded health facilities, most of them are under-resourced. Even basic amenities, such as electricity and running water, are non-existent in a number of health facilities. Health system strengthening in India was never really based on "Health for All" principle. WHO and the likes always focused on result oriented primary care interventions. Consequently, the health system that we have today is fragmented and unable to respond to crises appropriately in time. However, in 2005, the central government of India took another step towards strengthening publicly-funded health system by introducing a nationwide program. The program has been extended to 2017. The most important thing to remember while analyzing Indian context is that Health is basically a state subject. Some states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala have well-functioning publicly-funded health systems. It is up to the state government how it responds and acts when the Center offers financial and technical assistance. For most of the northern Indian states, health has never been a political priority. Health systems in these states are dysfunctional and corruption is rife everywhere. A lot of states are now slowly trying to develop capacities so that they can have good health system in place but they still have a long way to go. As far as Modi is concerned, his main thrust is on getting country's economy back on track as early as possible. A happy economy means having enough money for the implementation of health system reforms. I don't see substantial changes taking place in the health systems of North Indian states, especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, for next 5 years or so. 

BTW, I was born and bred in rural Uttar Pradesh. I lost a 3-month old sister in the year 1985 just because there were no health facilities around my village. The nearest private/public doctor was 15 kilometers away from my home. My father and grandfather both were out of station. For a young Indian mother whose social behavior and freedom of movement was constrained by several cultural and economic factors, the thought of traveling 15 kilometers on her own, roaming around in an unknown city, looking for a child specialist in the district hospital was unimaginable and scary. My mother did not go and waited for my father to come back. By the time, my father came home, my sister had already taken her last breath. Very little has changed over last 3 decades in my state. There was one midwife per 5000 people in 1990. Today, it is less than 1 midwife per 8000 people. Most of them are in their 50s and will soon retire from the job. The state centers for midwife training have not produced a single midwife since 1990. The whole system is in shambles, but who cares? Not even people!!! :(

RSS’ written Constitution – A response to Vidya Subramaniam


Vidya Subramaniam’s article titled “The Forgotten Promise of 1949″ in the Hindu (08th October, 2013), is premised on two historical assertions. First is that the RSS was banned in February, 1948 not because of complicity in Gandhiji’s murder but because of its involvement in “violence and subversion” that created the atmosphere for Gandhji’s death. The second claim is that the RSS’s written constitution and its commitment to be non-political are a result of M.S. Golwalakar’s acceptance of Sardar Patel’s firm precondition for lifting the ban. Both these statements are factually incorrect.

The most serious deficiency in Ms. Subramaniam’s article is that it quotes selectively from communications from the Government and Sardar Patel without any reference to how the RSS and Golwalkar reacted to these communications and the allegations contained in them.
It needs to be emphasized at the very outset that the ban on RSS was lifted by the Government unconditionally and this was the official position of the Government itself.
On 14th October, 1949, a member of the Bombay Legislature, Mr. Lallubhai Makanji Patel, asked the Home Minister Morarji Desai on the floor of the house- “Whether the lifting of the ban is condition or unconditional? (and) Whether the leader of the R.S.S. has given any undertaking to the Government?
Answering on behalf of Morarji Desai, Mr. Dinkarrao Desai said “it was unconditional” for the first question and “No” for the second one. Having accused RSS of the most heinous crimes including dacoity and arson, Congressmen all across the country were finding it difficult to explain sudden lifting of the ban. Purely as a face-saver, rumor was spread that the ban was lifted only because RSS gave some kind of an undertaking to control its activities within the framework of a constitution, whose terms were set by the Government.
Sardar Patel has never acknowledged the existence of any such undertaking and, more importantly, Golwalkar stoutly denied it. When asked by a journalist if there was any secret undertaking, Golwalkar replied-”I would have preferred to lay down my life than do anything derogatory to this great organization. There was no compromise, there was no undertaking…” If Sardar Patel had indeed “won out” in securing an undertaking before lifting the ban, as Ms. Subramaniam claims, wouldn’t he have contradicted such an assertion from Golwalkar?
Also, would a government which justified the ban with such grave charges as “arson, robbery, dacoity, and murder” be so meekly satisfied that it would lift the ban on the basis of some undertaking?
So let us consider why exactly the government lifted the ban.
This is what the Government Communiqué, which banned RSS on 04thFebruary 1948, said:
It has been found that in several parts of the country individual members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have indulged in acts of violence involving arson, robbery, dacoity, and murder and have collected illicit arms and ammunitions.  They have been found circulating leaflets exhorting people to resort to terrorist methods, to collect fire arms, to create disaffection against the Government and suborn the Police and the Military.”
This was five days after Gandhiji’s assassination. Just three weeks before the assassination, on 06th Jan 1948, Sardar Patel issued a statement that was directly contrary to what was mentioned about the Sangh in the ban-communiqué. Targeting his own party men, he said:
“In the Congress those who are in power feel that by virtue of their authority they will be able to crush the RSS by danda(force)…danda is meant for dacoits and thieves…The RSS men are not thieves and dacoits. They are patriots…only their trend of thought is diverted” (“The Hindu”, Madras dated 7th Jan. 1948.).
It was clear that of these Congress men “in power”, Nehru was foremost in wanting to use the danda against the RSS. Even just before Gandhiji’s assassination, on 29th Jan at Amritsar, Nehru had vowed to “demolish” the RSS. Gandhiji’s assassination was just an excuse. The charged atmosphere following the assassination strengthened the hands of those who had been against the RSS from much before.
The recently published compilation of correspondences between Nehru and Patel titled “Nehru-Patel: Agreement within Differences” reveals the serious differences that existed between the two leaders regarding the RSS. Some correspondences also reveal that Patel was miffed with Nehru’s interference with Home Ministry affairs.
Therefore it is highly likely that the ban was a result of only Nehru’s instigation as Sardar Patel, who said “RSS men are not thieves and dacoits” just weeks before, could not have been party to a communiqué which describes the RSS as exactly that- thieves and dacoits.
It needs to be pointed out that soon after the ban Golwalkar issued a statement disbanding the RSS in abidance of the law. Right from the date of the ban and his subsequent arrest, Golwalkar had been writing letters after letters challenging the government to prove any of the allegations contained in the ban-communiqué.
In a letter dated 03rd Nov, he told Nehru that it is most unfair to “level charges…allow private individuals and parties to carry on a campaign of vilification against us under cover of the Government bail and at the same time gag us by use of Emergency Legislations like Public Safety Acts.”
He repeatedly challenged Nehru and Patel to either provide evidence in support of the allegations or lift the ban. In a letter addressed to Nehru, Golwalkar pointedly asked “if really the Central and Provincial Government are in possession of incriminating evidence against the R.S.S. or certain of its members, is it not right to expect at least a few successful prosecutions against the alleged wrong-doers?”
After initially refusing to respond to several letters, Nehru wrote to Golwalkar on 10th Nov, 1948 shifting the entire responsibility to the Home Ministry and declining Golwalkar’s request to meet him. It was therefore left entirely to Patel to defend the continuance of the ban. Patel did write a scathing letter to Golwalkar on 11th August- the letter which forms the cornerstone of Vidya Subramaniam’s piece.
However in a letter written soon thereafter Patel claimed that the ban was only a result of feedback from provincial governments and urged the Sangh “to adopt fresh lines of technique and policy (which) can be only according to the rules of the Congress.” Patel was reiterating his old demand that the RSS should merge with the Congress.
As months passed, the inability of the Government to prove anything substantial against the Sangh made the case for continuance of the ban extremely tenuous. The enthusiasm with which RSS workers recommenced activities for the brief period that Golwalkar decided defy the ban convinced the Government that the ban had made no dent to the morale of the Swayamsevaks.
Eminent personalities from various fields began to speak against the ban. Bharat Ratna awardee Dr. Bhagawan Das wrote on 16th October, 1948:
“I have been reliably informed that a number of youths of the R.S.S… were able to inform Sardar Patel and Nehruji in the very nick of time of the Leaguers’ intended ‘coup’ on September 10, 1947, ….If these…self-sacrificing boys had not given the very timely information ….there would have been no Government of India today, the whole country would have changed its name into Pakistan…what is the net result of all this long story?  Simply this-that our Government should utilise, and not sterilise, the patriotic energies of the lakhs of R.S.S. youths.”
Another eminent person, T.R. Venkatarama Shastri, former Advocate General of Madras, decided to play a more active part in convincing the Government about the unreasonableness of the ban. He went to Delhi and met Sardar Patel.
It was to Shastri that the Government first broached the issue of a written constitution for the Sangh. While Golwalkar did feel that this requirement was unnecessary and even unfair, in principle he did not have any difficulty in accepting the suggestion.
The constitution was drafted by the RSS leadership, not based on any terms set by the Government, but based on a note prepared by the founder, Dr. Hedgewar. The Government began to dither on the issue. First HVR Iyengar, Secretary to the Government of India, objected to the manner in which the draft was sent. Then he objected to the language used by Golwalkar in answering the objections raised by the Government to some provisions of the Draft.
Finally when it became clear that the Government was not serious on lifting the ban, Shastri decided to write a detailed statement indicting the Government for its duplicity. This statement, which was given to the press on 09th July, was scheduled to be published in “the Hindu” on 13thJuly. On the night of 12th July, 1949 news flashed on the All India Radio that ban on RSS was lifted.
The Government did raise some objections to the content of the draft Constitution sent by Golwalkar. However the commitment to remain out of politics was never a bone of contention because the stipulation was very much a part of the original draft sent on behalf of the RSS.
The RSS was envisaged by Dr. Hedgewar as a non-political outfit right from inception and any stipulation to this effect in the written constitution had nothing to do with Sardar Patel’s insistence. In fact when Dr. Hedgewar chose to take part in Congress’s Non-Cooperation movement in 1931 he did so only after formally resigning from the RSS.
Therefore the ‘condition’ that the RSS should have a written constitution was only a face saver for a government which was facing an insurmountable task in justifying the ban. More importantly, the non-political nature of the Sangh was part of its founding principles and had nothing to do with Patel’s insistence. Vidya Subramaniam’s article is one-sided and is factually incorrect.

~ Aditya Reddy 

GANDHIJI AND RSS—A MUTUTALLY RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIP


I have quoted from Shri Guruji’s letter because it exposes the lie, still being spread by our detractors today, that the RSS was fi lled with hatred for Gandhiji and had a hand in his assassination. The letter clearly underscores the RSS’s respect and admiration for Gandhiji and its abhorrence toward his assassin. It is necessary to dwell a little more here on the mutually respectful relationship between the two. In its Ekatmataa Stotra, a set of Sanskrit prayers as an ode to India’s national integration, the RSS regards the Mahatma as one of the pratah smaraneeya personalities (persons worthy of being reverentially remembered every morning). Addressing the Sangh Shiksha Varg (the annual training session for would-be organisers of the RSS) of 1946—when Gandhiji was still alive—Shri Guruji had described him as Vishwa vandaneeya (deserving of being revered across the world).



Gandhiji first visited a RSS camp on 25 December 1934 at Wardha in Maharashtra, where he had established one of his ashrams. Gandhiji had come to Wardha and learning that about 1,500 swayamsevaks of the RSS had assembled in the town, he expressed his desire to visit the camp. He was accompanied by Mira Behn and his secretary Mahadev Desai. He was garlanded with fl owers and given a guard of honour. ‘I am tremendously impressed,’ said Gandhiji speaking of his visit, referring, in particular, to the fact that there was no caste distinction among the volunteers and no untouchability towards those belonging to so-called ‘low’ castes. 

Soon after Independence, when the atmosphere in the country was marred by communal violence and lack of trust between Hindus and Muslims, Gandhiji sent out a message that he wanted to talk to Shri Guruji. Shri Guruji immediately went to Birla House to see him on 12 September 1947. Gandhiji mentioned to him the various complaints about the Sangh that he had received in Calcutta and Delhi. Shri Guruji assured him that, although he could not vouch for the behaviour of each swayamsevak, the Sangh’s policy was purely service of Hindus and Hinduism. It did not threaten any other community, he clarified. The Sangh might not believe in ahimsa (non-violence), but neither did it advocate aggression. The swayamsevaks were only taught the art of self-defence.

Any organisation inspired with the high ideal of service and self-sacrifice will never fail to grow in strength all the time.’It should be evident from the above that, despite its differences with Gandhiji on certain issues, the RSS held him in high esteem. It is also evident that Gandhiji reciprocated this positive attitude. Therefore, the thought of assassinating him would have seemed heinous and sinful to the Sangh. But, sadly, falsehood often triumphs over truth in a nation. Thus, in spite of the RSS having had no role whatsoever in Mahatma’s murder—a fact that would later be established by a government-appointed commission of enquiry—there was a shrill demand from some quarters for a ban on the RSS.


In this meeting between Gandhiji and Shri Guruji, both agreed that every effort should be made to control the communal frenzy immediately. During his evening prayer meeting that day, Gandhiji referred to his talk with Shri Guruji and told the audience that the RSS leader was anguished over the gruesome violence all around and that he would make an appeal for peace and normalcy. The appeal was duly published in the press and also broadcast by AIR. In the same meeting, Gandhiji told Shri Guruji that he wished to address a gathering of RSS workers. Accordingly, on 16 September 1947, he came to meet some fi ve hundred RSS swayamsevaks assembled at Delhi’s Bhangi Colony. Here he recalled his visit, thirteen years earlier, to the RSS camp in Wardha. ‘Some years back, when the founder of the Sangh was alive, I had visited your camp. I was highly impressed to see the spirit of discipline, complete absence of untouchability and simple, rigorous style of living. 


Even those in the Congress who were suspected to be sympathetic towards the RSS were not spared from this malicious campaign, launched primarily by the communists. They publicly demanded Sardar Patel’s resignation ‘for his failure to protect’ the Mahatma and also called for the removal of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Union Cabinet for his association with a ‘communal organisation’, meaning, thereby, the Hindu Mahasabha. Ironically, they disregarded the fact that it was at Gandhiji’s insistence that Pandit Nehru had included Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Dr Mookerjee, both of whom did not belong to the Congress, in his first Cabinet formed after August 1947. Gandhiji had made this suggestion to the Prime Minister because he wanted India’s first government to be truly broad-based in its representation and national in its character.

~ excerpts from My Country, My Life by L.K. Advani (Former Deputy Prime Minister of India)

Wendy Doniger Episode: An Analysis


Wendy Doniger is once again back in news, as always, for the wrong reasons. This time the Penguin decided to withdraw her book rather than face the criminal charges in the court of law. For those who may not be fully aware of the facts of the matter, briefly the story is as follows. Wendy Doniger published her book entitled ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ in 2009. She holds high sounding Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor Chair in History of Religions at the University of Chicago. Even before the publication of this book, she and her students have published many books denigrating Hinduism. Most of her own and her students’ dissertations/books on Hinduism have often been described as pure pornography by even the most serious academic journals.Doniger and her students work around a central theme called “Psychoanalysis of the Hindu Religion”. Their approaches show serious problems with the training, competence and the mindset of academic scholars of Hinduism and raise questions about their parochial approaches and methodologies and at the same time the peer reviews. The image of India and Hinduism are distorted by these scholars.

Imagine the psychological damage wrought on an Indian who is made to read a text that says that ‘Ganesa’s trunk symbolises a limp phallus; Ganesa’s broken tusk is a symbol of castration complex of Indian men; his large belly and love for sweets are proof of Hindu male’s enormous appetite for oral sex; Lord Siva is interpreted as a womaniser whose temples encourage ritual rape, prostitution and murder; Ramakrishna Paramhamsa was a conflicted homosexual and a paedophile who sexually abused Swami Vivekananda; Lord Rama caused oppression of Indian minorities and women; Laxman had illicit relationship with Sita, Goddess Kali is the mother with penis; tantra temples are centers of rape and murder rituals, and so on. This section also gives examples as to how American scholars not only try to justify such outrageous writings but also how various foundations and organisations go to the extent of praising and awarding such works and giving prestigious appointments.

Such things have been going on for almost 40 years. But after the publication of her ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ concerned citizens took note of what she and her group have been writing. Dina Nath Batra, a practicing Hindu, filed an FIR with the police and initiated a criminal proceeding against Wendy Doniger and the Publishers – Viking and Penguin. Once the publishers saw no escape from punishment including a jail sentence, they opted for an out of the court settlement and decided to withdraw the book from published list and circulation. This out of court settlement between Penguin, a giant in the publishing industry, and Dina Nath Batra, a practicing Hindu, has prompted the pseudo-secularist and anti-Hindu activists to indulge in their old game: Hindu bashing in the name of freedom of expression and artistic creativity.

It is pertinent to note here that never in the intellectual world, any other religion – be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or even the smaller sects – are ever denigrated and ridiculed in the manner Hinduism is treated under the garb of intellectual freedom and freedom of expression and creativity.Therefore, a far deeper question needs to be addressed here. Are scholars like Wendy Doniger frustrated individuals who are staying away from the well defined path of intellectual discourse or is there a greater design to what they are doing?Who Controls and Promotes Such Studies?

As with any large academic field, Religious Studies in the US is highly organised and features prestigious journals, academic chairs, and planned and extensive programmes of study. The American Academy of Religion (AAR) is a primary organisation for academic scholars of Religious Studies in the United States. Religion in South Asia (RISA) is a unit within the AAR for scholars who study and teach about religions of the Indian subcontinent.

The AAR traces its origin back to 1909 when an organisation was formed for Professors and scholars of Biblican Studies whose purpose was “to stimulate scholarship and teaching in [Christian] religion”. In 1922, the name was changed to National Association of Biblican Institutions (NABI). Thus, its early history was clearly Bible-centric. In 1963, stimulated by the ‘change in the study of religion’, NABI became the American Academy of Religion (AAR). The AAR has over 8,000 members who teach in some 1,500 colleges, universities, seminaries and schools in North America and abroad. Since its inception, the religious studies organisations that evolved into AAR have maintained close relations with the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), founded in 1880. For many decades, the two have held their conferences jointly. While SBL members primarily study and promote insiders’ views of Judeo-Christianity, the AAR members are not supposed to promote any particular viewpoint, and are required instead to pursue study of religions through a neutral lens. The stated mission of AAR is to promote objectivity from within, or outside of, any particular religious tradition. With a growing membership, the AAR has developed an enormous clout over the direction of Religious Studies in particular and the humanities at large.

The Impact of AAR ActivitiesAmericans in general are deeply religious people who see the world through the lenses of religion, particularly some variants of Judeo-Christianity. Western representation of India is inseparable from the depiction of India’s religions, particularly Hinduism. Many post-colonial scholars of Indian origin have tried unsuccessfully to wish this link away. The problems of India are seen by the Americans as inseparable from the problems of Hinduism. Attempts by ‘secular’ Indians to distance themselves from Hinduism have led to an academic vacuum about Indian traditions, which has been filled by Western and American scholars who often have their own agendas to serve.

The researches and writings of religious scholars associated with AAR and RISA go beyond the discipline’s boundaries, penetrating the mainstream media, and directly impacting the American public perception of India via museum displays, films and textbooks. The study of religion informs a variety of disciplines, including Asian Studies, International Studies, Women’s Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Literature, Journalism, Education and Politics. Western theories of Hinduism have produced fantastic caricature of Hindus that could be dramatised by Hollywood movies, satirical TV sit-coms, or animated sci-fi cartoons. In all this, AAR’s Religion in South Asia (RISA) group can be identified as a key source of Western academic influence over India-related studies.

Inputs from these scholars decidedly have an impact on US foreign policy. For instance, a conference at the University of Chicago featured Wendy Doniger, Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, among others; who discussed about the generic ‘Hindu groups’ as the most serious threat to India’s democracy. Indeed, in the conference announcement, Nussbaum claimed that ‘Americans are wrong to be focusing on Islamic fundamentalism as a threat to democracy’. She alleged that thinking about India is instructive to Americans, who in the age of terrorism can easily over-simplify pictures of the forces that threaten democracy… In India, the threat to democratic ideals comes not from a Muslim threat, but from Hindu groups.


Unlike in India, the academic study of religions in the US is a major discipline involving over 8,000 university professors, most of whom are members of AAR. Within this organised hierarchy, the study of Hinduism is an important and influential discipline. The book highlights the fact that the discipline has been shaped by the use of Euro-centric categories that are assumed to be universal by Western syndicated research. The producers and distributors of this specialised research/knowledge comprise a sort of closed, culturally insular cartel, which has disastrous consequence for original thinking about India and Hinduism.


The selective and questionable ‘academic research’ and its consequences filter into American classrooms, textbooks and media. Thus, the average American learns much about India from the received wisdom of the Academy.


Who is to be Blamed?Let us be honest and do some soul searching to understand who is responsible for such a sorry state of affairs regarding Hinduism studies. It must be clear that the entire blame for biases and selective portrayals of Hinduism and Indian culture can not be laid at the doorsteps of the AAR, RISA or even the biased scholars within it. Indians themselves have contributed to the problem in significant ways. While American universities have major programmes for studying world religions and cultures, Indian universities do not offer similar programmes and provide the intellectual inputs to the world. Indeed, the discipline of Religious Studies does not even exist in most universities in India due to the particular myth that positive knowledge about, and intellectual involvement with, religion breeds communalism. Many Americans are shocked to learn that there is a deep prejudice among India’s intellectually colonised intelligentsia, according to which secularism implies the exclusion from, or even condemnation of Indic religions in, civic society – which is exact opposite of the respectful place given by American secular civic society to its majority Judeo-Christian traditions.

Unlike all other major world religions, Hinduism does not have its own home team, by which we mean a combined group of academic scholars who are both practitioners of the faith and well-respected in the academia at thehighest levels. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism each have their respective home teams in the academics – in fact, multiple homes representing different denominations of these religions. Even China has recently established numerous well-funded Confucius institutes around the world that teach Chinese civilisational approaches to human issues on par with the western models.However, India’s case and responsibility of Indian academia and universities do not end here. Even the departments (like Sanskrit, Archaeology, History, Culture, Philosophy etc.) where religious studies could be undertaken have not fulfilled their obligations to the nation and its people. The reason for this apathy/failure/willful negligence is best illustrated by Dilip Chakrabarti, who observes how the West has bred and bought off a whole generation of elitist Indians, and how this axis operates:

“After Independence ... [Indians] – especially those from the ‘established’ families – were no longer apprehensive of choosing History as an academic career... To join the mainstream, the historians could do a number of things: expound the ruling political philosophy of the day, develop the art of sycophancy to near-perfection or develop contacts with the elite in bureaucracy, army, politics and business. If one had already belonged to this elite by virtue of birth, so much the better. For the truly successful in this endeavour, the rewards were many, one of them being the easy availability of ‘foreign’ scholarships/fellowships, grants, etc. not merely for themselves but also for their protégés and the progeny. On the other hand, with the emergence of some specialist centers in the field of South Asian social sciences in ‘foreign’ universities, there was no lack of people with different kinds of academic and not-so-academic interest in South Asian history in those places too. The more clever and successful of them soon developed a tacit patron-client relationship with their Indian counterparts, at least in the major Indian universities and other centers of learning. In some cases, ‘institutes’ or ‘cultural centers’ of foreign agencies were set up in Indian metropolises themselves, drawing a large crowd of Indians in search of short-term grants or fellowships, invitations to conferences or even plain free drinks.”

And finally, even the scholars, who have done substantial work that challenges the western scholars’ theses, are demonised, accused of communalism, Hindutva, etc. A number of historians and sociologists have pointed out that the control of others’ depiction by the White Americans has led to their ethnic cleansing, incarceration, enslavement, invasions and genocides. Native Americans, Blacks, Jews, Gypsies, Cubans, Mexicans, Chinese, Phillippinos, Japanese, Vietnamese and now Iraqis have suffered brutalities that were legitimised by their depictions as primitive, exotic, irrational, heathen, savage, dangerous and lacking in human values.

On a wider canvas, one may feel upbeat about India’s success from business and economic points of view which is exemplified by books like Gurucharan Das’ India Unbound or Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat or even a large number of articles in business periodical like Forbes, Fortune and Business Week. But the fact remains that perceptions change with much efforts. Diplomat and intellectual Simon Anholt observes that while India is shining in business, especially IT, there are many other factors determining its image and credibility. This image, in turn, will either facilitate or hamper India’s quest for economic growth in a globally competitive world. He writes:“A country is like a brand because it has a reputation, and because that reputation partly determines its success in the international domain. The ability of each country to complete against others for tourists, for investments, for consumers, for the attention and respect of the media and other countries is significantly determined by power and quality of its range… What seems certain is that India’s brand new image is a fragile one, based on a couple of prominent sectors and a handful of globally successful entrepreneurs… but it isn’t yet clear how ‘Capitalist India’ fits together in the public imagination with the Indo-Chic of music, fashion and movies and with the ‘Traditional India’ image of vast, mysterious, culturally rich but chaotic and even desperate country. A clear, single, visionary national strategy is badly needed – but one that is, of course, rooted in truth and not in wishful thinking.

Anholt’s point is that unless Indians take charge of engagement with the world vis-à-vis their country and its culture is portrayed properly, the economic future of all Indians may be at stake.

by Prof. Makkhan Lal

- See more at: http://www.vifindia.org/article/2014/march/12/wendy-doniger-episode-an-analysis#sthash.lqClr4Sw.dpuf