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A biographical poem titled ‘Lachit (The Warrior) written by police officer and writer Partha Sarathi Mahanta about Mahavir Lachit Borphukan was released today at Sankardev Kalakshetra. The poem, produced in audio-visual media, was unveiled at the Lachit Diwas celebrations of Tai- Ahom Yuva Parishad by Padmashri Dr. Jogendra Nath Phukan and Commissioner of Police Harmeet Singh. The poem, conceptualized by Partha Sarathi Mahanta, has been recited by noted educationist Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury while accompanying music provided by Rupam Talukdar. The creative director is Anupam Mahanta. The function was attended by Arunachal Pradesh deputy CM Chowna Mein, officers of the Indian Army’s 51 sub- area at Narengi and fans of Lachit Barphukan. The poem is about the life and work of Lachit Barphukan, including his military tactics and brilliant leadership of the Ahom army. The poem has been released as a tribute to the great Ahom general Lachit Barphukan, as part of his 400th birthday celebrations. Assam Govt has organised a 3-day mega event in New Delhi for 17th century’s great Ahom General Lachit Borphukan, best known for leading the Ahom troops which fought and defeated advancing Mughal troops at the Battle of Saraighat in 1671. Through high-profile-celebrations, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma led Assam Govt plans to push for his recognition as a national hero. Week long celebrations in state and elsewhere already began on Nov 18 & will culminate on Nov 25. 3 days of celebrations organised centrally in New Delhi on Nov 23 with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurating the celebrations.”Every Indian Must Know Lachit’s Courage & Valour”, said Sitharaman PM Narendra Modi to attend event on Nov 25. “Lachit’s victory at the Saraighat battle helped to preserve the Ahom kingdom’s independence”, said CM Sarma. ‘Lachit created history by foiling their (Mughal’s) imperialist policy at Saraighat’. Eminent sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik shares his artwork on Twitter. Assam CM thanked Patnaik, calling it a ‘marvel’. A grand memorial at Lachit Barphukan’s maidam in Jorhat district is also coming up. Besides a War Memorial at Alaboi near Guwahati. Also on the cards is a memorial building in Lachit’s honour at National Police Academy, Hyderabad.
In this context, it is worth recalling the book on Khilafat by N.S Rajaram, who wrote about the Khilafat advocacy undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s and its corollary, the Mopla Rebellion. Here is an extract from his book “Gandhi, Khilafat & The National Movement ” (First published in 1999 and then in 2009) on the treacherous role of Communists:
“Every villain,” said Lord Acton of the ‘power corrupts’ fame, “is followed by a sophist with a sponge”. This was surpassed by the Indian Communists. They bought not one sponge but a card-load of them, and put them to use in whitewashing atrocities from the Mopla Rebellion to the Partition to the R@pe of Tibet to the Chinese attack in 1962, and all the way to the nuclear tests of Pokharan II.
The period covered in this volume is not lacking in examples that bring to the fore the dark side of human nature. But for sheer venality, the behaviour of the Communists is in a class by itself. The gullibility and self-deception of Gandhi, the spinelessness of Nehru, the cunning of the Ali brothers and even the savagery of the Moplas – none of these can match the record of the Communists in this regard. A single example will suffice. The Moplas, who perpetrated some of the worst atrocities in history, especially on women, are heroes to Communists. Eminent scholars of Marxist leanings at respectable academic institutions extol these barbarians as heroic freedom fighters!
There is another difference. While these villains of yesteryears have departed from the world, the successors of these Communist ‘sophists with sponges’ are still around – sometimes in respectable professions like politics, academia and journalism. One is hard pressed to decide which is the greater evil – the Mopla marauders or their modern Marxist glorifiers.
To begin to understand the twists and turns of the Indian Communists, their passage from ‘anti-imperialists’ opposed to Britain and France, to British spies and collaborators, to being Soviet and Chinese fifth column, to their present state when they have combined with the most reactionary forces of Islam and become virtually a dependency of the tool of foreign interests, Sonia Gandhi, one has to go to the early years of the Second World War.
When the War broke out in September 1939, the Communists, found themselves in an awkward position – on the same side as Hitler – because of the Hitler-Stalin pact of August 1939. But they had to obey their masters in Moscow and support him. So, Hitler was no longer a Fascist menace but a messenger of peace fighting against the imperialist warmongers, Britan and France. But when Hitler attacked Russia on 22 June 1941, the Indian Communists executed a complete flip-flop and started supporting Britain in the war against Hitler. The Imperialist’s War became overnight the People’s War. They were now in a highly advantageous position vis-à-vis the British Government. They were used to serving their Soviet masters, so it entailed no great adjustment when opportunity called to serve the British. The Indian Communist leaders made the best of a good bargain.
For the rest of the War, the Indian Communists were, for all practical purposes, hired agents of the British. R.C. Majumdar tells us (Volume III, pp.569): “During the great national upsurge of 1942, the Communists acted as stooges and spies of the British Government, and helped them against their own countrymen fighting for freedom. The part played by the Communists can be best understood from confidential correspondence during the years 1942, 1943 and 1944 between P.C.Joshi, the General Secretary of the Communist Part of India … it is quite clear from the correspondence that ‘an alliance existed between Politburo of the Communist Party and the Home Department of the Government of India, by which Mr. Joshi was placing at the disposal of the Government of India the services of his Party members, that the ‘various political drives undertaken by the Party in the name of anti-Fascist campaigns were a part of the arrangement which helped the Government of India to tide over certain crises… ”
But ofcourse, this did not come cheap, and Communist leaders like Joshi, Dange and others were generously paid by the British for their services. One well-known Communist intellectual was paid as mush as rupees 16,000 per month! This allowed many of them to maintain lavish lifestyles – much in the manner of many ‘Gandhians’ today. But spying on the nationalists was only the beginning of this sordid if profitable enterprise. Majumdar tells us (Volume III, p. 570):
… Joshi had, as General Secretary to the Part, written a letter in which he offered ‘unconditional help’ to the then Government of India and the Army GHQ to fight the 1942 underground workers and the Azad Hind Fuaz (Indian National Army) of Subhas Chandar Bose, even to the point of getting them arrested. … Joshi’s letter also revealed that the CPI was receiving financial aid from the Government, had a secret pact with the Muslim League, and was undermining Congress activity in various ways.
It is no secret that at the time of independence, the Communists openly supported the formation of Pakistan. “Not only did the Communists support the demand for Pakistan but went much further by saying that every linguistic group in India had a distinct nationality and was therefore entitled, as they claimed was the case in the USSR, to the right to secede.”
Independence did not put a stop to Communist treachery. On the heels of Independence, the new Indian Government was faced with the problem of the integration of the princely states numbering over five hundred. Here was fertile ground for the Communists, especially Hyderabad, then at the mercy of Kasim Rizvi and his fanatical band of terrorists known as the Razakars. In February 1948, the Second Congress of the Communist Party of India proclaimed that India’s independence was a sham and decided to support the Razakars. They struck a deal with the Nizam’s Government and joined hands with the Nizam’s forces – the Razakars – to fight Hyderabad’s accession to India with the help of Pakistan. As with most terrorists, the forte of the Razakars was committing atrocities on unarmed civilians, not fighting a professional army. When Sardar Patel sent troops into Hyderabad, the Razakars crumbled before the advance of the Indian Army. Kasim Razvi ran away to Pakistan, handing over the bulk of his guns and other armaments to the Communists. The Communists kept up an armed insurrection in the Telangana region for a few years until ordered to stop by the Soviet Dictator Stalin.
But now, Marxist historians claim that the Communists joined the Congress in their fight against the Razakars who represented feudal interests! So, the action in Hyderabad was a ‘class struggle’ against the oppressors, except that the Communists sided with the Razakars! So, Rizvi and the Razakars were not Muslim fundamentalists but feudal exploiters of the people! To explain away the fact that the Communists joined hands with these ‘feudal exploiters’, their historians simply reverse the truth; they now claim that they fought against them. This way, they hope they can have it both ways. This trail of treachery continued unabated. When China attacked India in 1962, the Communists were on the Chinese side. In 1964, when China exploded its first nuclear bomb, the Indian Communists greeted it with glee. But recently when India conducted nuclear tests the Indian Communists and their allies in the Congress – including the new found object of the adoration, Sonia Gandhi – vociferously condemned Indian tests. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Attempt to whitewash Moplah atrocities is latest case of Communist schizofascism (Article by Ram Madhav).
August 2021 marks the completion of a hundred years of the brutal episode in human history – The Moplah Genocide of the Malabar Hindus.
A recent news report that a three-member committee of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), which was formed to review the names of “freedom fighters” from 1857 to 1947, is said to have considered removing the names of ‘Moplah martyrs‘of 1921 from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle. Along with Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji and Ali Musaliar, the Moplah Rebellion leaders responsible for the Moplah Massacre of Hindus, 387 others who died during the Moplah Massacre will also be removed. The dictionary is jointly published by the Ministry of Culture and the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
A three-member panel, set up the ICHR which reviewed the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary, has reportedly stated that the 1921 rebellion was never part of the independence struggle but a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British in content, it noted. According to the report, the panel has noted that the rebellion was an attempt to establish a Caliphate. “Had it succeeded, a Caliphate would have been established in the region too and India would have ended up losing that part from its territory”, The Hindu quoted sources as saying.
Further, the panel concluded that Haji was a rioter who established a Sharia court and beheaded a large number of Hindus. Those who died at the hands of the rioters were non-believers. The committee also stated that a large number of alleged ‘Moplah martyrs’, who were under-trial prisoners, died due to diseases such as cholera and natural causes hence cannot be treated as martyrs. Only a handful of them were executed by the government after court trial, the panel noted.
In this context, it is worth recalling eyewitness accounts of the Mopla Rebellion by Annie Besant and Madhavan Nair.
Eyewitness accounts of the Mopla Rebellion by Annie Besant and Madhavan Nair.
The following account signed by Annie Besant, under the title ‘Malabar’s Agony’, appeared in New India dated 29 November 1921. It is one of the literally hundreds of similar reports that appeared in the press at the time. The account given here is the slightly abridged, with some non- relevant history about the Zamorins removed. It has also been organised into smaller paragraphs to smooth the somewhat hurried writing. Of particular interest is Besant’s charge that by making Non-Cooperation part of the Khilafat movement, his Gandhism was also part of the violence that gave rise to, and he could not escape responsibility. It is interesting to note the contemporary accounts see the Non-Coorperation Movement as part of the Khilafat, and not as something on its own as modern history books tend to do. Here is Besant’s report. – N.S.R]
Annie Beasant: New India, 29 November 1921 :
It would be well if Mr. Gandhi could be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horrors which have been created by the preaching of himself and his “loved brothers,” Muhommad and Shaukat Ali. The Khilafat Raj is established there; on August 1, 1921, sharp to the date first announced by Mr. Gandhi for the beginning of Swaraj and the vanishing of British Rule, a Police Inspector was surrounded by Moplas, revolting against that Rule. From that date onwards thousands of the forbidden war-knives ware secretly made and hidden away, and on August 20, the rebellion broke out, Khilafat flags were hoisted on Police Stations and Government offices… Our correspondent has sent accounts of the public functions connected with my hurried visit to Calicut and Palghat, and that which I wish to put on record here is the ghastly misery which prevails, the heart-breaking wretchedness which has been caused by the Mopla outbreak, directly due to the violent and unscrupulous attacks on the Government made by the Non-Co-operators and the Khilafatists and the statements scattered broadcast, predicting the speedy disappearance of British Rule, and the establishment of Swaraj, as proclaimed by the N.C.O. and Khilafat Raj as understood by the Moplas from the declarations of the Khilafatists. On that, there is no doubt whatever, so far as Malabar is concerned. The message of the Khilafats, of England as the enemy of Islam, of her coming downfall, and the triumph of the Muslims, had spread, to every Mopla home. The harangues in the Mosques spread it everywhere, and Muslim hearts were glad. They saw the N.C.O. preachers appealing for help to their religious leaders, naturally identified the two. The Government was Satanic, and Eblis, to the good Muslim, is to be fought to the death. Mr. Gandhi may talk as he pleases about N.C.O.s accepting no responsibility. It is not what they accept; it is what facts demonstrate. He accepted responsibility for the trifling bloodshed of Bombay. The slaughter in Malabar cries out his responsibility. N.C.O. is dead in Malabar. But bitter hatred has arisen there, as fighting men from the dragon’s teeth of Theseus. That is the ghastly result of the preaching of Gandhism, of N.C.O. of Khilafatism. Every one speaks of the Khilafat Raj, and the one hope of the masses is in its crushing by the strong arm of the Government. Mr. Gandhi asks the Moderates to compel the Government to suspend hostilities, i.e., to let loose the wolves to destroy what lives are left. The sympathy of the Moderates is not, I make bold to “with the murderers, the looters, the ravishers, who have put into practice the teachings of paralysing the Government of the N.C.O.’s, who have made “war on the Government” in their own way. How does Mr. Gandhi like the Mopla spirit, as shown by one of the prisoners in the Hospital, who was dying from the results of asphyxiation? He asked the surgeon, if he was going to die, and surgeon answered that he feared he would not recover. “Well, I’m glad I killed fourteen infidels,” said the Brave, God-fearing Mopla, whom Mr. Gandhi so much admires, who “are fighting for what they consider as religion, and in a manner, they consider as religious.” Men who consider it “religious” to murder, rape, loot, to kill women and little children, cutting down whole families, have to be put under restraint in any civilised society. “Mr. Gandhi was shocked when some Parsi ladies had their saries torn off, and very properly, yet the God-fearing hooligans had been taught that it was sinful to wear foreign cloth, and doubtless felt they were doing a religious act; can he not feel a little sympathy for thousands of “women left with only rags, driven from home, for little children born of the flying mothers on roads in refugee camps? The misery is beyond description. Girl wives, pretty and sweet, with eyes half blind with weeping, distraught with terror; women who have seen their husbands hacked to pieces before their eye, in the way “Moplas consider as religious”; old women tottering, whose faces become written with anguish and who cry at a gentle touch and a kind look waking out of a stupor of misery only to weep, men who have lost all, hopeless, crushed, desperate. I have walked among thousands of them in the refugee camps, and sometimes heavy eyes would lift as a cloth was laid gently on the bare shoulder, and a faint watery smile of surprise would make the face even more piteous than the stupor. Eyes full of appeal, of agonised despair, of hopeless entreaty of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp. “Shameful inhumanity proceeding in Malabar,” says Mr. Gandhi. Shameful inhumanity indeed, wrought by the Moplas, and these are the victims, saved from extermination by British and Indian swords; For be it remembered the Moplas began the whole horrible business; the Government intervened to save their victims and these thousands have been saved. Mr. Gandhi would have hostilities suspended—so that the Moplas may sweep down on the refugee camps, and finish their work?” I visited in Calicut three huge Committee camps, two Christian, and the Congress building and compound where doles of rice are given daily from 7 A.M. to noon. In all, the arrangements were good. Big thatched sheds, and some buildings shelter the women and children, the men sleep outside. They are all managed by Indians, the Zamorini’s Committee distributing cloths and money to all, except the Congress committee, which work independently and gives food from its own resource. At Palghat, similar arrangements are made by the Zamorini’s Committee, and the order and care in feeding are good to see. Let me finish with a beautiful story told to me. Two Pulayas, the lowest of the submerged classes, were captured with others, and given the choice between Islam and Death. These, the outcaste of Hinduism, the untouchables, so loved the Hinduism which had been so unkind a step- mother to them, that they chose to die Hindus rather than to live Muslim. May the God of both, Muslim and Hindus send His messengers to these heroic souls, and give them rebirth into the Faith for which they died.
Report by Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Calicut District Congress Committee :
Maulana Mohani justified the looting of Hindus by the Moplas as lawful by way of commandeering in a war between the latter and the Government of as a matter of necessity when the Moplas were forced to live in jungles. The Maulana perhaps does not know that the majority of the cases, the almost wholesale looting of Hindu houses in portions of Ernad, Valluvand and Ponani Taluques [counties] was perpetrated on the 21st, 22nd, and the 23rd of August  before the military had arrived in the affected area to arrest or to fight the rebels even before Martial Law had been declared (in Malabar). The Moplas had not be taken themselves to the jungles as the Maulana supposes nor had the Hindus as a class done anything to them to deserve their hostility. The outbreak commenced on the 20th of August , the police and the District Magistrate withdrew from Tirunangadi to Calicut on the 21st and the policemen throughout the affected area has taken to their heels. There was no adversary to the Moplas as the time whom the Hindus could possibly have helped or invited, and the attack on them was most wanton and unprovoked. Comment added: Maulana Mohani, like a hundred other Khilafat leaders, well knew the truth but arrogantly justified the Mopla atrocities as a ‘military necessity’ drive by self-defence. But these reports clearly show that the Mopla Rebellion was a planned uprising that began immediately after the expiry of Gandhi’s promise of ‘swaraj within the year’ and not a sporadic outbreak.
According to Annie Besant, it began on the day of expiry, and soon spread to the whole region – becoming a full-blown rebellion on or about August 20. The district authorities, including the police, were caught unaware and also not equipped to handle a large-scale rebellion. Chaos reigned in Malabar for several months, forcing the Government to declare Martial Law. The Army had to be called in and it was months before the rebellion was out down after the loss of several thousand lives and unspeakable atrocities. The Congress historians like to pretend that all this never happened, while the Marxists glorify the Moplas as ‘freedom fighters’ !
Madhavan Nair sent several other reports, a few of which are included in the Appendix to Sankaran Nair’s Gandhi and Anarchy. Murders, rapes and forcible conversions were the order of the day. I find most of them too gruesome to be included here, but the following excerpt should give an idea: “Can you conceive of a more ghastly and inhuman crime than the murder of babies and pregnant women? … A pregnant woman carrying 7 months was cut through the abdomen by a rebel and she was seen lying dead on the way with the dead child projecting out … Another baby of six months was snatched away from the breast of the mother and cut into two pieces … Are these rebels human beings or monsters? These are by no means the most gruesome of the accounts described. But enough to give an idea of the atrocities committed by the ‘God-fearing’ plus acting ‘in a manner they consider as religious’ as Gandhi praised them. To those familiar with the history, the barbarism of their modern counter parts in Afghanistan – the Taliban also following the dictates of their ‘religion’ – will come as no surprise.
In this context, it is worth recalling the book on Khilafat by N.S Rajaram, who wrote about the Khilafat advocacy undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s and its corollary, the Mopla Rebellion. It is a sad tale of how the chimerical and short-sighted actions of a handful of leaders resulted in human misery on a horrendous scale. Navratna Srinivasa Rajaram (Dr N S Rajaram) was a renowned researcher, prolific writer and mathematician turned Hindutva-scholar. Refer Swarajya to know more about him and his works.
Here is an extract from his book “Gandhi, Khilafat & The National Movement ” (First published in 1999 and then in 2009) : “When we compare the situation in India today with what it was in 1920, we find both similarities and differences. The Muslim masses today are no more enlightened and no less under the grip of reactionary forces than they were at the time of the Khilafat eighty years ago. But they are much weaker relative to the Hindu majority. Also, there are no Muslims leaders on the horizon that command the kind of influence and authority that the Ali brothers did. Neither is there a Hindu leader of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi willing to stake all for the sake of ‘unity’ and carry the people with him. At the same time, there is no shortage of secondary leaders willing to take the side of any Muslim demand regardless of its merit. The Congress Party – as well as the Communist – is practically in their hands. Only future will tell if Indians have learnt any lessons from their history – from the Khilafat to the Partition to Kashmir to the Bangladesh War. Of one thing one can be certain: if there is any upheaval in the name of Islam in the neighboring Pakistan, Indian Muslims will not remain unaffected by it. The real question is whether Indian leaders will act with the national interest foremost, or display the same kind of sophistry and equivocation as in the past. The postures of the Congress Party – and the machinations of the Communists inspire little confidence in this regard.
The world also has an important lesson to learn: religion can act as a cover for committing the most unspeakable atrocities, as the Appendixes to this document record. But for reasons that this writer finds incomprehensible, the world does not want to learn this basic truth. To those familiar with the history reported here, the atrocities in the name of religion by the Taliban in Afghanistan come as no surprise. But if we fail to learn from this history, the pattern will only repeat itself somewhere else. The more things change, the more they remain same”. – N.S. RAJARAM
Bengal Bleeding Amidst “Secular” Silence is not an easy book to read. It is not about the current genocide of Hindus after 2021 state assembly. It is another reminder that those who forget history are bound to repeat it.
The book is small; it has avoided gory details of violence against Hindus as far as possible. It could have been bigger with more graphic details to shake up the conscience of the Hindu society, if not the intellectuals and the secular politicians and governments. Here I mean politicians of every hue from Green, to White, to Blue, to Red and also Saffron with a few honourable exceptions. The question that comes upper most after reading this cruel history is, does being secular mean keeping silent, sounding helpless on wanton killings of Hindus, and in the case of Bengal history mostly Scheduled Castes and Tribes?
The book begins from the 1940 attack on Hindus, 1946 Direct Action, Noakhali violence, primarily against Hindus, to bleeding slowly from 1951 to 1963, now in East Bengal that became East Pakistan. Next round of genocide perpetrated in 1964 before worst ever violence, rapes, loot, arson and killings of Hindus in 1971 during Bangladesh freedom struggle. It didn’t stop with rise of Bangladesh, it just paused a bit because Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was also not averse to the language of Jihad. Next worse round came after he was killed in violent take over by Gen Zia Ur Rehman and Islam became the state religion of Bangladesh in 1988. Major violent events apart from routine persecution were seen in 1990 and 1992. A few incidents that author quotes are enough to shake up any civilised society. The only crime of these Hindus was that they were Hindus.
While, on one side, Hindus from East Pakistan, later Bangladesh, were being pushed out violently into Bharat; another outflow of illegal immigrants was being managed by the Bangladeshi Muslims, ably supported by the Left in the name of “lebensraum’ – “Muslim” spaces as the author of the book calls it for easy understanding. There were clearly two streams of immigrants – those who escaped persecution and violence and the other that was supported by Muslim rulers of Bangladesh for better economic opportunities or simply increase numbers to ultimately use democracy to destroy democracy.
While the number of illegal Muslims swelled with connivance of politicians of Communist parties and Congress groups, poor Hindus who were pushed out were given a raw deal. Marichjhapi is the worst cruellest example of killing and eviction of poorest of poor schedule caste Hindus.
As the Muslim numbers increased, they became more assertive and began dictating politics of West Bengal too. Author cites many examples of goon behaviour of these groups. 2013 Canning carnge, 2015 football fatwa against women playing football with the blessings of top ruling party leaders, Nadia petro riots, riots and looting in Dulagarh-Diwangarh, riots of Kaliachak in 2016 and so on. 2021 post-poll naked dance of violence is a logical extension of the incidents that kept on occurring at regular intervals, not covered by the ‘secular’ media, nor raised by ‘secular’ polity.
– Dr. Walter K. Anderson (American scholar, author of “Brotherhood in Saffron”).
After Mohandas Gandhi’s emergence as the major figure in India’s freedom movement in the 1920’s his life, thought and program became benchmarks against which other Indian political and social figures were compared. There has been a marked revival of interest in Gandhi since the electoral victory of the Janata Party, many of whose leaders trace the Party’s ideological roots to him.
Simultaneously, there has been a developing interest in the life of Deendayal Upadhyaya. Until recently, he was not widely known outside the confines of the Jan Sangh.
It was almost inevitable, both for intellectual and ideological reasons, that the two men would be compared. However, there are major difficulties in any effort to do so. The political environment in which they worked was different; their own social backgrounds were not the same; their most immediate political objectives were not the same. Perhaps, the most difficult problem is the lack of available material on Upadhyaya. Unlike Gandhi, who was among the most public of private men, Upadhyaya was a quiet man who preferred to operate out of the spotlight. The published compendium on his life and thought is still very thin. Research is now in progress in India to rectify the situation and the time may be near when we will get a more complete picture of his contribution to the social and political thought of India. Consequently, any attempt to compare Upadhayaya and Gandhi will have to be very preliminary and subject to much revision as more information comes to light. Those best qualified to speak on him are people who worked closely with Upadhayaya and hopefully they will contribute to the efforts of those who are collecting material on him.
Gandhi and Upadhayaya were primarily organisers and only secondarily interested in philosophic speculation. Indeed neither were intellectuals in the conventional sense of the term – that is erudite and sophisticated men with academic qualifications and long lists of books to their credit. Neither wrote systematic treaties on morals and politics, nor was either a philosopher, in the sense that they were not particularly interested in abstract theoretical formulations. Gandhi, for example, told a scholar researching the concept of *Satyagraha*: “but satyagraha is not a subject of research – you must experience it, use it, live by it” (Joan Bandurant, Conquest of Violence – Pg 146). I suspect similar anecdotes could be repeated of Upadhayaya.
Both men were charismatic figures, though Gandhi had the larger impact, in part because so many considered him a saintly figure, if not a saint. His asceticism convinced many that he was able to realize ideals which many held, but which few could realize. (See study in Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph, Modernity of Tradition, pt. 2). Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress from a rather staid debating forum of the anglicized upper class into a rationalized organization that encompassed a wide range of activities that touched on the lives of the masses. His organizational skills, combined with his charismatic appeal as a Mahatma, transformed the Congress into the effective action arm of the independence movement.
Upadhayaya also possessed the characteristic of the saintly. He gave up the calling of a profession and a family to dedicate himself to the Motherland. His life was Spartan and his adherence to moral standards was of an unusually high order. These traits brought him the respect, if nor devotion, of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Swayamsevaks in the United Provinces where he served as a Pracharak (full time worker) from 1942-51, the latter few years as assistant state organizer of the RSS in the now-renamed Uttar Pradesh. He has a similar effect on the cadre of the Jan Sangh where he was one of the two All-India Secretaries after the formation of the party in 1951 and from 1952-67 the All-India Secretary, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, president of the newly founded party for a few years before his untimely death., commented that were he to have several more men like Upadhyaya he could transform India. Upadhyaya certainly transformed the Jan Sangh. He took over the management of the party at the death of Dr. Mukherjee in mid-1953 at a time when many questioned whether it could survive without a towering figure such as Mukherjee to lead it. There was strife in the small party over control of the executive and confusion over its program. He instilled discipline, broadened participation, recruited a dedicated cadre and shaped its program to espouse the interests of those with little money, power or status. While there were a few minor defections during his life, the Jan Sangh was the one major India party which suffered no significant fissure. That is a testimony to the cohesive organization that he mulled.
Yet, it must be recognized that he was never a mahatma, nor is there any indication that he aspired to such a status. Indeed, he even tried to avoid public attention. From both his writings and talking with people who knew him, I get the image of a man who felt uncomfortable in the limelight, who believed that the organization and its goals were incomparably more important than personal recognition.
So self-effacing was he that, for example, he often would not sign articles that he wrote for Panchajanya, a journal which he edited from Lucknow in the late 1940’s. Consistent with the RSS tradition from which he came, he viewed personal publicity as a detriment to the cause – and the cause was organizing Indians to overcome the internal divisions that, he felt, had historically exposed the country to outside subversion and that has undermined the willing ness to make the sacrifices necessary for economic and cultural revival.
Unlike Gandhi, Upadhyaya was not a religious man in conventional sense of the term. While he was stepped in the Hindu traditions, particularly Vedant, he was not a wordly sadhu and he was not moved to act by religious precepts. However, like Gandhi, he rejected post-Machiavellian trend of western thought that posited the separation of religious and political ideals. In their attempt to fuse the two concepts, Gandhi and Upadhyaya drew on the traditional Hindu concept of Karma Yoga, or spiritual realization through social work. Both accepted the traditional notion that Dharma (individual and social duty) is the legitimate guide for shaping Artha (interest) and Karma (pleasure).
Yet, their approach to the determination of dharma was quite different. Gandhi stressed the individual’s quest of satya (truth) to inform him of the ethical rules that govern man’s behavior. This approach stands out in his oft-quoted assertion that “I would reject all authority if it is in conflict with sober reason or the dictates of the heart. Authority sustains and ennobles the weak when it supplants reason (that is) sanctioned by the small voice within”. Gandhi’s focus on individual effort has led some to conclude that he was a moral anarchist, if not also a social anarchist. For example, he wrote in Young India (March 1931), “there is no freedom for India so long as one man, no matter how highly placed he may be, holds in the hollow of his hands the life, property and honor of millions of human beings. It is artificial, unnatural and uncivilized institution”. Gandhi of course, was not an anarchist in either sense, for he also accepted the Vedantist notion that there is an underlying truth potentially open to all. Moreover, he had a respect for traditional institutions such as the Panchayata and the varna system, both of which specified special social duties and responsibilities.
Upadhyaya on the other hand, emphasized the collective wisdom of the nation as the authoritative voice of Dharma. However, he was also apprehensive that the majority might not always properly understand the laws of Dharma. “But even the people are not sovereign because people too have no right to act against Dharma” (Integral Humanism, page -56). Furthermore, “the truth cannot be decided by the majority; what the government will do will be decided by Dharma (Ibid – page -58). He does not define who the legitimate interpreter of dharma is. It is not unreasonable to conclude from his writings that he thought democracy the system most likely to approximate dharma since it provides an opportunity to detached men dedicated to national well-being to shape and correct public opinion.
The centrality of the nation in his thought rests on notion that it has a soul (i.e, “chiti”), shaped by experiences within a given geographical space and motivated by an over-arching ideal ( Integral Humanism – page 36-37). In describing the nation, he often drew on the metaphor of an organism, in particular the human body, in which each part has its true reality only in the particular function it fulfills within the whole.
“A system based on the recognition of this mutually complementary nature of the different ideals of mankind, their essential harmony, a system which devises laws which removes the disharmony and enhances their mutual usefulness and cooperation, alone can being peace and happiness to mankind; can ensure steady development” (Integral Humanism – page 39). Indeed, it is this organic concept of the nation that, it his view, has been the ideal that kept alive the Indian nation through the vicissitudes of time. It is its unique contribution to political philosophy. His major philosophic argument against the ruling political elite of his time was his conviction that they advocated western notions of society and, in the process, undermined the integral unity that has sustained Bharatiya civilization.
He was far less committed to traditional institutions than Gandhi. His writings are sprinkled with attacks on the caste system, as practiced. In his view, all institutions are derivative and, when they cease to fulfill the integrating function, they should be revised or abandoned. It is not surprising that orthodox Hindus were among the major critics of the Jan Sangh.
Gandhi’s political object was Swaraj (self-rule). But he interpreted Swaraj as more than mere independence from the British; it carried the meaning of an all-embracing self-sufficiency down to the village level. Self-sufficiency translated into a concrete program of action that led him to espouse Swadeshi (self-reliance) and the central effort during the years of the nationalist struggle for Swaraj lay in the propagation of Khadi (hand-spun cloth). Swadeshi served not only an economic function in actual supply of cloth; it also carried significant ideological implications. It was the central piece of his elaborate constructive work program. It was the symbolic representative of his effort against centralized industry and urbanization which he thought degraded the worker. (These products of modernization were attacked vigorously in his tract – Hind Swaraj, written in 1909). His condemnation of western materialism led him inevitably to support the concept of self-governing village communities and a simple low-technology system of production.
Upadhyaya’s writings demonstrate a comparable outrage against the effects of westen models of development. In a series of lectures in Poona in 1964 on Integral Humanism, later adopted as the official ideological statement of the Jan Sangh, he lashed out at both Socialism and Capitalism. “Democracy and Capitalism join hands to give a free reign to exploitation. Socialism replaced Capitalism and brought with it an end to democracy and individual freedom” (Integral Humanism – page 10). In their place, he proposes a model that takes into consideration all aspects of the human condition, “body, mind, intelligence and soul – these four make up an individual”. (Ibid – page 24). In practical terms,, the notion translated into a decentralized economy and political system in which citizens have a meaningful voice in the production process and in their own governance. This populist conception assumes a leveling in both economic and political power. Marked differences in access to power or economic resources would undermine the harmony he believed to be the essential cement of the good society.
Upadhayaya was not, however, adverse to the selective adoption of science, technology or even urbanization. (Ibid –page 8). He thought that they should be adapted to local conditions to improve the economic well-being of the population. Societies must produce enough to feed, cloth, house, educate and employ those within it. To do less would result in misery and strife, thus disrupting the harmony necessary for well-being of the collective. At the same time, however, he felt that consumption should not degenerate into consumerism (Ibid – page 65). “From this point of view, it must be realized that the object of our economic system should be, not extravagant use of available resources, but a well regulated use. The physical objects necessary for a purposeful happy and progressive life must be obtained. The Almighty has provided as much. It will not be wise, however, to engage into a blind rat-race of consumption and production as if man is created for the sole purpose of consumption.”
Finally, both (Gandhi and Deendayal) were suspicious of political power and its corrupting effect on public figures. Neither held a political office and neither aspired to do so. (Upadhyaya once ran, unsuccessfully, for parliamentary, but I strongly suspect that he did so with no great enthusiasm). Gandhi a few months after India attained independence told his closest colleagues, “By adjuring power and by devoting ourselves to pure and selfless service of voters, we can guide and influence them. It would give us far more real power than we shall have by going into government… Today politics has become corrupt. Anybody who goes into it is contaminated. Let us keep out of it altogether. Our influence will grow thereby.” (D.G. Tendulkar, Mahatma, Volume-8-pages 278-80). His advise, of course, was rejected by most of his Congress colleagues. Ironically, Upadhyaya, the leader of a political party, would probably have subscribed to his view of politics. He wrote, “Today politics ceased to be a means. It has become an end in itself. We have today people who are engaged in power with a view to achieving certain social and national objectives” (Political Dairy – page 115). Nevertheless, he thought it important, if not crucial, for the detached man of good will to remain in the political arena to help shape public opinion in the path of “Truth” (or Dharma). Consequently, he placed great stress on recruiting to politics men of high moral rectitude.
Despite the many differences between the two men, both came to the conclusion that it is the quality of men in society who will ultimately determine the nature of the state. This is at variance with most contemporary western political though (both speculative and empirical) which argues that conflicting interests are the major forces that shape the state and its policies. Whatever the merits of Gandhi’s and Upadhyaya’s views on the issue, their intense interests in the types of people who worked around them were of fundamental importance in their successful organization-building efforts.