Swami Paripoornanda clarifies Sri RP Patnayak’s doubt regarding Christian conversions (Telugu)
Swami Paripoornanda clarifies Sri RP Patnayak’s doubt regarding Christian conversions (Telugu)
RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat with his call for ‘One Temple, One Cremation Ground and One Water-body’ for all in a non-discriminatory way has provided a new action programme for social equality and harmony. Many outside the RSS circles are also appreciating the initiative. The third Sarsanghachalak of RSS, Shri Balasaheb Deoras provided momentum to the social thrust to this reformist thinking, which now Shri Mohan Bhagwat is carrying forward. On the sidelines of the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha held at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Organiser Editor Prafulla Ketkar and Panchjanya Editor Hitesh Shankar spoke to him on Balasaheb Deoras, his contribution to Samrasata and the way ahead. Excerpts:
Since 1925 itself, Samrasata has been in the basic nature of RSS. Later, Balasaheb Deoras was a great inspiration in this endeavour. How do you look at his contribution?
The organisation of Hindu society is impossible without Samrasata (social harmony). Therefore, non-discriminatory approach is mandatory for unifying the Hindu society and this has been there in the RSS since its inception. However, the strength of RSS has increased over a period of time. In the RSS, Samrasata has been in practice since its formation. But when Balasaheb took over as the Sarsanghachalak, the atmosphere in the society started becoming conducive for listening to what RSS says, to think over it and to experiment over it, at least to some extent. Today, the influence of RSS is much higher, then it was not that great, but it was just a beginning. This egalitarian approach of RSS was necessary for the society as well. Therefore, after assuming the responsibility of Sarsanghachalak, Balasaheb unequivocally declared about the ‘social thrust’ as the main objective of the organisation. To make the meaning of this clear to the Swayamsevaks and also to the society at large, Balasaheb deliberately prepared for months together and delivered his famous address in the Vasant Vyakhyanmala (a lecture series organised at Pune on May 8,1974). The practice was prevalent within the Sangh but the thought process behind this was made clear to the Swayamsevaks through that address and a message was delivered to the larger society as well.
What was the impact of this insistence on Samrasata by Sangh on the society?
Sangh’s belief in Hindutva is a well-known fact. What would be the Sangh’s approach towards the caste system that is predictably associated with the term ‘Hindu’? There were well-intended people in the society who believed that this organisation must be in support of the caste system or caste-based discrimination. Then, this issue was publicly discussed about the Sangh. This perception was there and there were many people who used this to unfairly target the RSS. But when Balasaheb categorically said that the ‘untouchability should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’, these discussions immediately came to an end. With this, Swayamesevaks also garnered courage to present their position in the society. The Samrasata was there in practice but common Swayamsevaks were not aware about the ideological edifice of those actions. Balasaheb’s speech unfolded all this, the thinking and the corresponding steps, clear for the Swayamsevaks. They also became more confident about their position in the society. The suspicion of the genuine people in the society was removed with this clear position. This facilitated many things. There are many instances where RSS Swayamsevaks stood by the victims of discrimination when many in the society were not ready to take a clear position.
After the historical speech of Balasaheb Deoras at Vasant Vyakhyanmala which new dimensions were added to the Sangh work?
Naturally, many new dimensions were added with the beginning of work with the society. The churning started about what are the problems of these groups who are victims of social discrimination, what do they think and what are the remedies to bridge the huge gap that has emerged in the society. In the same process initiative of Samajik Samrasata Manch was started. Special efforts were made to establish contact with different social groups and bring them to RSS Shakha activity; especially the social groups that were psychologically uncomfortable in calling themselves as Hindus due to discriminatory practices were focussed on. Resultantly, the strength of Hindu organisation was added to the larger struggle for self-respect by various groups.
What measures would you suggest to eradicate the social discrimination?
The first and foremost remedy is a continuous process in which we should learn to completely reject all kinds of discriminations in our personal, family, professional and social behaviour. We will have to change our habits for that. For instance, there are many proverbs that are still in usage. Many a times we use it not to demean certain communities but it hurts the people who are the victims of discrimination. We will have to consciously get rid of such usages and habits. Sometimes, though we are mentally and morally convinced about principle of equality, some of our habits do not allow us to act accordingly. We will have to change such habits. Whether we have really discarded the discriminatory practices and inculcated the egalitarian values will be tested again and again, particularly, by our own people with whom we want to connect with for building a non-discriminatory and harmonious society. Even in our normal behaviour such values will have to be nurtured. For instance, I went to somebody’s place. I am not thirsty, still water was offered and I did not have water, this action of mine can also create doubt about my intent of not having water, even though I did not mean anything. Shri Guruji once set an excellent example through his action. A Swayamsevak invited Shri Guruji for a cup of tea. He used to stay in a small hut, in a condition of absolute poverty. When Guruji went there, couple of karyakartas accompanied him. The place was so small that one could see his mother preparing tea while sitting on a chair near door. The utensils were not clean; there was no tea strainer; the tea was strained with a cloth that was also not very clean. When the tea was offered, someone said I don’t have tea, the other said I had a lot of tea since morning. Guruji happily had tea. While returning, the accompanying karyakartas asked, how could you have that tea? Shri Guruji replied, you were observing the tea, I was drinking his love and affection. Such conscious but obvious efforts are needed. The society needs love and respect. So our behaviour should be to protect the self-respect of all. We have to get habitual to this.
Secondly, many issues arise in public life, like inter-caste marriages. Those issues also face opposition. We insist that Swayamsevaks should stand in favour of such reformative measures. Generally, it happens and it should happen. If you take a survey, you will find more Swayamsevaks with inter-caste marriages than anybody else. We observe that in our personal interactions. Two messages were sent to the couple involved in the first public inter-caste marriage in Maharashtra, one was that of Dr Ambedkar and the other was by Shri Guruji. In his congratulatory message, Shri Guruji wrote that not because of physical attraction but to register a protest against the caste system, you are tying this knot through an inter-caste marriage, I support this marriage and convey my best wishes. This message was conveyed to the Swayamsevaks also.
Sangh Swayamsevaks should take such public position, without getting carried away by momentary public sentiments or self-arrogance. It is necessary that Swayamsevaks take a lead role while keeping the social unity, integrity and harmony in mind to sincerely and fearlessly carry out that role.
What are the major obstacles in the path of Samrasata?
As I said earlier, the biggest hurdle is our habits and mindset. We have been practising certain things for more than two thousand years, in which Adharma is followed in the name of Dharma. If we can’t desist our fascination for old things then by breaking it, we have to stand by truth and justice, as Balasaheb clearly said – ‘it should be thrown lock, stock and barrel’.
The issue of discrimination crops up in the form of injustice incurred by ancient Brahminical system. When our ancestors are discussed as selfish and arrogant, the first obvious reaction is to defend our forefathers. The person is actually referring to the inhuman treatment of discrimination, which he has been facing for thousands of years. Take it as his genuine anger and support his stand on equality. If your ancestors and ancient traditions are great, then they are not going to belittle by anyone’s accusations. If there is an injustice, we have to oppose it. Once a Sangh Karyakarta was asked in a programme that you revere Prabhu Shri Ram as an icon of Hindus, do you also support his slaying of Shambuka? This is a tricky question for a Hindu. It creates the dilemma of denouncing Prabhu Ram or supporting the killing of Shambuka. The RSS Karyakarta replied in a very brave and intelligent manner. He said, first of all I should congratulate you as somebody who has sent you to ask this question and you have come well prepared. Through this question you have accepted that someone with name of Ram existed in our history. This is a great thing. Now whether Ram really killed Shambuka, this is a debatable issue as many believe that this whole chapter is added in Uttar-Ramayana (later part). The Ram we worship only killed the unjust and devil king. Slaying of Shambuka is not a matter of respect for us with reference to Prabhu Ram and if it is ever proved that Ram was responsible for the killing of Shambuka, we will denounce that. This kind of clear position we should be able to take. This does not amount to the insult of our forefathers. Savarkarji used to say, do not blame the ancestors for wrong things but denounce the wrong doings of forefathers respectfully. This is very easy to say but very difficult to practise as it gives a feeling of diffidence. In such practical issues, even if our self-interest is hampered we should stand for the just and righteous cause. In this process, we many a times have to face the social reaction. We have to learn how to manage that and how to respect that. We should strive to garner enough courage to deal with such situations.
Another aspect is, we have to accept that due to the discrimination of thousands of years, there would be anger, sometimes even hatred and still we should continue to strive for building bridges. We should remain confident that after exhaling the anger, the hatred will subside. Simultaneously, there are forces who are interested in vitiating the atmosphere. This conspiracy is going on. We have to deal with them as well. Therefore, with love and care, we have to raise people in each and every community who stand for unity, integrity and harmony. This is the need of the hour and also a continuous process.
As you said, nurturing Samrasata is a continuous process. What would be the role of different sections of the society in this process?
An interesting corollary was given by Pt Deendayalji. He said, if you have to pull out someone from a pit, then it is not sufficient that he is ready to come out of it by raising his hands and lifting his foot, the person who is outside the pit also has to bend down. This process has started. The hesitance of bending down from above should go away. We should strive hard to extend our hand to the best possible extent for helping others. Secondly, we need to be calm in thinking, communication and action. Balasaheb in his speech said that untouchability and injustice is clearly visible. Ultimately, we are one society, so it is our responsibility to maintain harmony in it. We cannot persist with the conflict of perpetrators of untouchability and victims of untouchability. If we do not want to widen the rift, if we want peace and harmony, then both the sides should get rid of abusive language. One section has to realise that the anger of thousands of years is being expressed and therefore not to react with similar anger is needed. The other side should learn to tone down the language while expressing their anger for reducing the social strife and gap. We can articulate injustice in a respectful way. The leaders also use discretion for ending all kinds of injustice. A system should be developed in such a way that no one with intent of injustice can rise again. This all should be done with the objective of unifying the society. The system should have inbuilt provisions to maintain the egalitarian system, new suggestions should be accepted. By assimilating everyone in this process, if we start exhibiting this in our action, without waiting for others, then this objective would be attained earlier and faster.
What are the future plans of RSS in this process of social transformation?
The fundamental plan of Sangh is to assimilate all through sincere actions. Whatever may be the external situation, people of all sections of the society should be friendly to each other. As people from same social groups become friends, their families get connected, natural interactions begin and family level affection develops, this has to happen across the sections. Wherever such actions are taken, genuine efforts for equality should be made, we should support and strengthen them, and try making them successful and victorious. This is our work. The victims of injustice should get justice at the earliest. The practice of equality is imitated all over and there should be cordial dialogue in this direction. Therefore, undertaking surveys, talking to people on these issues, and convincing people on the same, are the new initiatives taken. Many new measures can come up in this process.
Recently you gave a call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body. What kind of response you are getting from the leaders of various sects and religions?
Almost, all responses are positive. The principle behind this call got cent per cent acceptance. But those who do not understand Sangh or oppose it for the sake of it would comment why now or would say it is too late. So the call for One Temple, One Crematorium and One Water-body was not opposed per se but a question mark was certainly put on the intention behind this. Or else they said it is merely a sloganeering. The issue was not directly opposed by anyone. On the other hand, a large section of society rejoiced at the call . The victims of discrimination certainly saw a ray of hope.
There is an incident behind this call. Before my Vijayadashmi speech in which I gave this all, I went to Palamuru in Telangana, where many Swayamsevaks are there from the so-called backward sections of the society. I was the Sarkaryavah then. A so-called Dalit leader with Left leanings was sharing the stage with me. I spoke first and then he addressed the gathering. I was supposed to speak on Samajik Samarasta (Social Harmony), which I did. After that he publicly accepted that I thought RSS to be a caste-ridden organisation but what I am seeing here is Sangh is full of our own people and some of them are full-timers. I just listened to the RSS General Secretary, and could not believe that the Sangh could publicly take such a stand. He asked whether this is a genuine position of RSS. After his speech, in an informal discussion, I assured him that this is what Sangh believes in. It is a matter of conviction for us. He was surprised with that. After that we remained in touch. He interacted regularly with the local level office bearers, sometimes even communicated with them. In one of such discussion, I said the issue of temple, crematorium and waterbody should go first in the society as these are the issues of day-to-day experience. He said, you will not say this publicly. I said, I am going to say this, you attend the Vijayadashmi function to listen to this. He actually visited Nagpur to see whether I actually took this position or not. Now he himself speaks among his community leaders about this position of Sangh. He advises them not to keep RSS people away. Such kind of leadership, not embroiled in political interests and still really represent the so-called Dalits, would certainly be happy about such initiatives. They would be positive about Sangh. The message will be conveyed to the whole nation.
How far politically favourable atmosphere helps in furthering this cause of Samrasta?
Politically favourable atmosphere can be helpful only in one sense, if people in politics decide to do so. Wherever people in favour of social equality are in power, there they ensure the strict implementation of the Constitutional and other legal provisions pertaining to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Even if the government ensures the timely allocation of funds and appointing the right person for the right job, that itself would be a big job. Fifty percent of systemic issues would be resolved by this. These provisions are already there, we just have to implement them in right spirit. We believe that wherever Swayamesevaks are in government positions, they should focus on this aspect. We can only insist on this and we are doing this sincerely.
What can be the role models for creating Samaras (harmonious) and integral society? What can be the inspiration for the same?
The real inspiration is in our culture itself – truth, compassion, purity and austerity are four pillars of Dharma. What is the Truth? The truth is our biggest conviction that the same eternal principle exists in everyone and everyone is the manifestation of that. Nobody is big or small, ours or aliens. All are ours. The obvious corollary of this is to be compassionate to all. Dharma, means the principles that hold the society, it starts with the two principles, all are mine and I am there in others. Therefore there should not be any degeneration in the system. This compassion comes from the feeling of affinity. If such person is pure, without any self-interest, then he would surely dedicate his life to the public good. Such a life would take him to the path of Dharma.
Therefore, Dharma, the four principles that hold our society is the crux of our culture. All our religious texts, whether, Bhagwadgeeta, Shri Bhagwat Puran, Shiv Puran or the message of Tathagat Bhagwan Buddha, convey us the same thing. All our Bharatiya traditions, may be having different paths, may be having differences on primacy of matter or spirit but their instructions for our actual behaviour are the same. It is not there only in a written form. Thousands of Saintly people actually led that life. This is not only true with the ancient Saints but with modern monks. Swamy Vivekananda celebrated the festival of feeding labourers working in the Varahanagar Muth. Service to man is service to God was the message he conveyed to all. To experience the pain of being an untouchable, Gadage Baba, a modern Saint in Maharashtra used to go to roadside water well and ask for drinking water. He used to fetch water himself on the instruction of the farmer. When suddenly he use to ask about his caste and he would not tell his caste and experience the literal lashes. Dr Ambedkar himself did that many a times. So we have such lives to follow even in modern times that made great sacrifices for the cause of social harmony. This is a great inspiration in itself. This is my society and my nation is the biggest inspiration one can have. If my own people are living in a despicable condition then what is the use of my name and fame. If I travel around the world, then the issue of caste-based discrimination would be a matter of shame and not pride. Devotion towards society, nation and culture is a significant force which we should create amongst all.
Inherent Unity in diversity is the biggest strength of the Hindu society. Why there is a competition to create divisions in it?
The main reason of such divisions is forgetting the nature of one’s true self. Once I consider a section of my society as enemy, then to protect my own interest I would oppose you at any cost. There are examples of inviting even enemies of the nation for protecting selfish interests. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar during the deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, warned against the same. He categorically said that no foreigner could win over Bharat on his own strength. We lost because of our divisions and some people betrayed our own nation. This has been part of our history, which should not be repeated.
Therefore, we have to revive the basic principles of unity. There are many forces which are working to widen this gulf of divisions for self-interests. Instead of fighting against such forces time and again, it is better we strengthen our unifying tendencies and act accordingly.
You travel throughout the nation; you have been reiterating this subject of Samrasata time and again. How do you see the end-result of this?
See, insisting on Samrasta and inspiring the actions based on this in all aspects is necessary and we are trying to do the same. I am sure, one day this would bear the fruits and whole society will accept this. The divisive tendencies are counting their days. There are few people who are making necessary corrections and trying to follow the path of Samrasta. The larger section of society generally follow the trend. We have to strengthen the voice of righteousness, the society will follow it. Babasaheb used to say that numerous efforts are being made to create a discrimination-free, egalitarian and exploitation-free society. Many people have sacrificed their lives. I sincerely feel that we will get the cumulative result of all those efforts and soon we will have a discrimination-free society.
इक्ष्वाकु वंश प्रभवो रामो नाम जनैः श्रुतः | नियत आत्मा महावीर्यो द्युतिमान् धृतिमान् वशी || १-१-८ बुद्धिमान् नीतिमान् वाङ्ग्मी श्रीमान् शत्रु निबर्हणः | विपुलांसो महाबाहुः कंबु ग्रीवो महाहनुः || १-१-९ महोरस्को महेष्वासो गूढ जत्रुः अरिन्दमः | आजानु बाहुः सुशिराः सुललाटः सुविक्रमः || १-१-१० समः सम विभक्त अंगः स्निग्ध वर्णः प्रतापवान् | पीन वक्षा विशालाक्षो लक्ष्मीवान् शुभ लक्षणः || १-१-११ र्मज्ञः सत्य सन्धः च प्रजानाम् च हिते रतः | यशस्वी ज्ञान संपन्नः शुचिः वश्यः समाधिमान् || १-१-१२ प्रजापति समः श्रीमान् धता रिपु निषूदनः | रक्षिता जीवलोकस्य धर्मस्य परि रक्षिता|| १-१-१३ रक्षिता स्वस्य धर्मस्य स्व जनस्य च रक्षिता | वेद वेदाङ्ग तत्त्वज्ञो धनुर् वेदे च निष्ठितः || १-१-१४ सर्व शास्त्र अर्थ तत्त्वज्ञो स्मृतिमान् प्रतिभानवान् | सर्वलोक प्रियः साधुः अदीनाअत्मा विचक्षणः || १-१-१५ सर्वदा अभिगतः सद्भिः समुद्र इव सिन्धुभिः | अर्यः सर्वसमः च एव सदैव प्रिय दर्शनः || १-१-१६ स च सर्व गुणोपेतः कौसल्य आनंद वर्धनः | समुद्र इव गाम्भीर्ये धैर्येण हिमवान् इव || १-१-१७ विष्णुना सदृशो वीर्ये सोमवत् प्रिय दर्शनः | काल अग्नि सदृशः क्रोधे क्षमया पृथ्वी समः || १-१-१८ धनदेन समः त्यागे सत्ये धर्म इव अपरः |
Why did Aurangzeb Demolish the Kashi Vishvanath?
During the Ayodhya controversy, there were occasional statements in the Hindutva camp confirming (VHP) or denying (BJP) that apart from Ram Janmabhoomi, two other sacred sites should also be “liberated” from Islamic “occupation”: Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura and Kashi Vishvanath in Varanasi. Though the Hindu business community in central Varanasi has made it clear that it refuses to suffer the inevitable losses which would accompany an agitation in their densely populated neighbourhood, the liberation of Kashi Vishvanath is still on the VHP’s agenda. Therefore, some authors have tried to “do an Ayodhya” on Kashi, viz. try to make people believe that there never was a Hindu temple at the disputed site.
Syed Shahabuddin asserts that Muslims cannot possibly have destroyed any Hindu temple, because “pulling down a place of worship to construct a mosque is against the Shariat”; claims to the contrary are all “chauvinist propaganda.” Arun Shourie has confronted this claim with the information given in the official court chronicle, Maasiri Alamgiri, which records numerous orders for and reports of destructions of temples. Its entry for 2 September 1669 tells us: “News came to court that in accordance with the Emperor’s command his officers had demolished the temple of Vishvanath at Banaras” . Moreover, till today, the old Kashi Vishvanath temple wall is visible as a part of the walls of the Gyanvapi mosque which Aurangzeb had built at the site.
In the face of such direct testimony, it is wiser not to challenge facts headon. It is better to minimize or to justify them. Thus, Percival Spear, co-author (with Romila Thapar) of the prestigious Penguin History of India, writes: “Aurangzeb’s supposed intolerance is little more than a hostile legend based on isolated acts such as the erection of a mosque on a temple site in Benares.” But a perusal of the same Moghul chronicle thoroughly refutes this reassuring assertion: Aurangzeb had thousands of temples destroyed. And other chronicles, diaries and other documents concerning Muslim rulers in India prove that the practice was not a personal idiosyncrasy of Aurangzeb’s either.
Therefore, a more promising way of defusing the conflict potential which the mosque at the Kashi Vishvanath site carries, is to justify the replacement of the temple with a mosque. Maybe the owners and users of the temple had brought it on themselves? Maybe Islam can be disentangled from this act of destruction in favour of a purely secular motive?
JNU historian Prof. K.N. Panikkar offers one way out: “the destruction of the temple at Banaras also had political motives. It appears that a nexus between the sufi rebels and the pandits of the temple existed and it was primarily to smash this nexus that Aurangzeb ordered action against the temple.” The eminent historian quotes no source for this strange allegation. In those days, Pandits avoided to even talk with Mlecchas, let alone to concoct intrigues with them.
Other secularists have spread a more sophisticated variation, now regularly reproduced in the media: “Did Muslim rulers destroy temples? Some of them certainly did. Following the molestation of a local princess by some priests in a temple at Benaras, Aurangzeb ordered the total destruction of the temple and rebuilt it at a nearby site. And this is the only temple he is believed to have destroyed.” This story is now repeated ad nauseam, not only in the extremist Muslim press and in the secularist press but also in academic platforms by “eminent historians”. It is repeated with approval by historian Gargi Chakravartty, who also reveals the source of this story.
She introduces the quotation as follows: “Much has been said about Aurangzeb’s demolition order of Vishwanath temple at Banaras. But documentary evidence gives a new dimension to the whole episode:” What follows is the theory launched by B.N. Pande, working chairman of the Gandhi Darshan Samiti and former Governor of Orissa:
“The story regarding demolition of Vishvanath temple is that while Aurangzeb was passing near Varanasi on his way to Bengal, the Hindu Rajas in his retinue requested that if the halt was made for a day, their Ranis may go to Varanasi, have a dip in the Ganges and pay their homage to Lord Vishwanath. Aurangzeb readily agreed. Army pickets were posted on the five mile route to Varanasi. The Ranis made a journey on the Palkis. They took their dip in the Ganges and went to the Vishwanath temple to pay their homage. After offering Puja all the Ranis returned except one, the Maharani of Kutch.
“A thorough search was made of the temple precincts but the Rani was to be found nowhere. When Aurangzeb came to know of it, he was very much enraged. He sent his senior officers to search for the Rani. Ultimately, they found that the statue of Ganesh which was fixed in the wall was a moveable one. When the statue was moved, they saw a flight of stairs that led to the basement. To their horror, they found the missing Rani dishonoured and crying, deprived of all her ornaments. The basement was just beneath Lord Jagannath’s seat. The Rajas expressed their vociferous protests. As the crime was heinous, the Rajas demanded exemplary action. Aurangzeb ordered that as the sacred precincts have been despoiled, Lord Vishvanath may be moved to some other place, the temple be razed to the ground and the Mahant be arrested and punished.”
The story is very bizarre, to say the least. First of all, it has Aurangzeb go to Bengal. Yet, in the extant histories of his life and works, no such journey to Bengal, or even any journey as far east as Varanasi, is recorded. Some of his generals were sent on expeditions to Bengal, but not Aurangzeb himself. There are fairly complete chronicles of his doings, day by day; could B.N. Pande or any of his quoters give the date or even the year of this remarkable episode?
Neither was Aurangzeb known to surround himself with Hindu courtiers. And did these Rajas take their wives along on military expeditions? Or was it some holiday picnic? How could the Mahant kidnap a Rani who was there in the company of other Ranis, as well as the appropriate courtiers and bodyguards? Why did he take such risk? Why did the “Rajas” wait for Aurangzeb to take “exemplary action”: did they fear his anger if they punished the priests or destroyed the temple themselves? And since when is demolition the approved method of purifying a defiled temple, an eventuality for which the Shastras have laid down due ritual procedures?
One question which we can readily answer is, where did B.N. Pande get this story from? He himself writes: “Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, in his famous book, The Feathers and the Stones, has narrated this fact based on documentary evidence. So, we have to go one more step back in time to find this intriguing “documentary evidence”. Let us turn to this book, now hard to find, to see what the documentary evidence is on which this whole wave of pro-Aurangzeb rumours is based, but which no one has cared to reproduce or even just specify. This is what Gandhian Congress leader Pattabhi Sitaramayya wrote in his prison diary:
“There is a popular belief that Aurangazeb was a bigot in religion. This, however, is combated by a certain school. His bigotry is illustrated by one or two instances. The building of a mosque over the site of the original Kasi Visveswara Temple is one such. A like mosque in Mathura is another. The revival of Jazia is a third but of a different order. A story is told in extenuation of the first event.
“In the height of his glory, Aurangazeb like any foreign king in a country, had in his entourage a number of Hindu nobles. They all set out one day to see the sacred temple of Benares. Amongst them was a Ranee of Cutch. When the party returned after visiting the Temple, the Ranee of Cutch was missing. They searched for her in and out, East, North, West and South but no trace of her was noticeable. At last, a more diligent search revealed a Tah Khana or an underground storey of the temple which to all appearances had only two storeys. When the passage to it was found barred, they broke open the doors and found inside the pale shadow of the Ranee bereft of her jewellery.
“It turned out that the Mahants were in the habit of picking out wealthy and bejewelled pilgrims and in guiding them to see the temple, decoying them to the underground cellar and robbing them of their jewellery. What exactly would have happened to their life one did not know. Anyhow in this case, there was no time for mischief as the search was diligent and prompt. On discovering the wickedness of the priests, Aurangazeb declared that such a scene of robbery could not be the House of God and ordered it to be forthwith demolished. And the ruins were left there.
“But the Ranee who was thus saved insisted on a Musjid being built on the ruined and to please her, one was subsequently built. That is how a Musjid has come to exist by the side of the Kasi Visweswar temple which is no temple in the real sense of the term but a humble cottage in which the marble Siva Linga is housed. Nothing is known about the Mathura Temple.
“This story of the Benares Musjid was given in a rare manuscript in Lucknow which was in the possession of a respected Mulla who had read it in the Ms. and who though he promised to look it up and give the Ms. to a friend, to whom he had narrated the story, died without fulfilling his promise. The story is little known and the prejudice, we are told, against Aurangazeb persists.”
So now, we finally know where the story comes from: an unnamed mullah friend of an unnamed acquaintance of Sitaram ayya’s knew of a manuscript, the details of which he took with him in his grave. This is the “document” on which secularist journalists and historians base their “evidence” of Aurangzeb’s fair and secularist disposition, overruling the evidence of archaeology and the cold print of the Maasiri Alamgiri, to “explode the myth” of Islamic iconoclasm spread by the “chauvinist” Hindutva propagandists. Now you just try to imagine what the secularists and their mouthpieces in Western academe would say if Hindus offered evidence of this quality.
– By Smt. Sravanthi Boinala
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya put forward the idea that every nation has certain ideals that constitute its soul. It is the responsibility of state to consolidate and build on these ideals, and to formulate policies for the larger welfare of citizenry inspired by them. All institutions in a nation, irrespective of their specific individual function, should help to sustain these ideals. Deendayalji stressed the educative and man-making role of institutions and advanced the idea of Gurukul and Rishikul as institutions that would serve national needs. Higher educational institutions, i.e. Indian universities, in his approach would be institutions catering to national needs and cherishing the noble ideals of our country.
In sharp contrast to his dreams, is the contemporary scene in Indian universities. The last two years have seen controversies hit the campuses of elite universities that have become the epicenters of division, pitching anti-nationalism against nationalism. Agitations have turned university campuses into battlegrounds between nationalist and left wing forces. A section of pseudo-seculars have launched a steady campaign to tighten their control over universities and to vitiate the national mood.
As a part of this, some JNU students expressed solidarity with Kashmiri separatists, and organised an event against the death sentence to Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt terming it ‘judicial killing’. Vainly trying to make martyrs out of criminals, they raised slogans against the integrity of the country in the campus. Voices were heard from Jadavpur university in support of extremism and separatism. The unfortunate death of Rohit Vemula in HCU became an occasion to disrupt the national mood and to fan divisions between SCs and other sections of society.
Of serious concern is the coming together of traditional left, ultra-left groups on campuses, with sections among minorities that are tuned in to sentiments across the border on a common platform. Even more regrettable was the support extended by intelligentsia outside campuses as well as by the opposition parties who hoped to gain political mileage at the cost of national interest. Politically motivated protest seems to have become the bedrock of secular thinking, and this has corrupted their sense of civic responsibility, patriotic feelings and devotion to the motherland. This has pitted them into conflict with nationalist unions.
In Deendayalji’s approach, nationalism is an overarching concept welding together the diverse striving and pluralistic life styles of the manifold groups and segments of the country. It is a dharma, a cornerstone of national life. National unity is the keystone of national existence. There can be no compromise on something so fundamental in the name of accommodating dissent.
Stressing this Deendayalji said:
“Mutual complementarity and a sense of unity alone can be the standard of proper conduct. … institutions are various limbs of the Nation and even of mankind. They are interdependent, mutually complementary. … There should be a tendency towards mutual accommodation in them, instead of conflict or opposition.”
A second guiding concept added by Deendayalji was that of ‘chiti’. According to McDougal, this is the innate nature of a group. Central and fundamental to the nation, known to some as the national genius, it is the soul of the nation, seeding its foundation in the ancient past, directing its evolution into the distant future. Whatever change, whatever reform is in consonance with the ‘chiti’, whatever diversity subserves it, can be accepted and accommodated. But any behaviour or change that disrupts it should be regarded as a perversion, undesirable and therefore discarded. Only from its soul, can come the flowering of the nation.
Leftist rejection of national culture and tradition, in the name of ‘secularism’ is unfortunate, because by this they lose touch with the ‘chiti’, the soul of the nation. Even worse, they are left with no intrinsic standards to evaluate, filter and accept change. This is why, the positions that they take are increasingly influenced by predatory cultures and religions. In the theory of communism lie the seeds of its destruction.
In approaching the current problems in Indian universities, the principles laid down by Deendayalji are of utmost importance. He regarded education as an investment and thought that a properly educated person would indeed serve society. For this to be realised, not only should students be fitted with tools and knowledge that empower them to serve themselves and society, but also with sentiments that bind them to national well being. Without emotional integration with the nation, mere knowledge alone cannot guarantee that individual ambition will be synchronised with the evolution of the national genius.
This is why there should be no space in university for anti-national views. Campuses should cherish and foster love for the nation. Deendayalji’s views on Integral Humanism can inspire universities to become centre’s of man-making and nation building, and to serve national interests.