By Arun Kumar
“THE ISSUE OF J&K HAS ENTERED THE PHASE WHERE THE TRUTH HAS TO BE ESTABLISHED BASED ON FACTS AND LOGIC. THE RSS HAS ACCEPTED EVEN THIS CHALLENGE OF THE INTELLECTUAL STRUGGLE AND A CONTINUOUS EFFORT IS ON TO BRING OUT THE TRUTH BEFORE THE PEOPLE THROUGH RESEARCH-BASED STUDIES.”
August 15, 1947.. The whole of Bharat was beaming with the joy of the Independence. The people in Jammu & Kashmir were also breathing in free air after the slavery of centuries. Even this Independence did not appear palatable to the people from a particular class who were inebriated in the communal frenzy. They thought that Kashmir was a Muslim majority state that had to be in Pakistan. They hoisted the Pakistani flags on the government buildings in Srinagar before the sunrise. The people’s reactions arose in hushed tones; but who would come forward? The RSS swayamsevaks came out for the Shakha with the sunrise and they heard this talk. There was a meeting after the Shakha and the swayamsevaks decided that the strong reply would be given. They came together near Amirakdal exactly at 10 am. Patriot citizens also joined them. Thousands of people ferried the roads of Srinagar chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Within no time, the Pakistani flags were taken down from the government buildings. The Kashmir Valley had then and even now has a Muslim majority. Like today, a gang of nuisance makers existed at that time also who were few in number but had the capability to take the valley hostage. In spite of this, the courage that the citizens showed on August 15, 1947 along with the RSS swayamsevaks by resisting those nuisance makers had the background of a grand programme of the RSS that had started just a few months earlier. The people of Kashmir valley experienced the capability and the discipline of the RSS for the first time in that programme. The programme had taken place at DAV College, Srinagar in which more than one thousand swayamsevaks in their uniforms took part. In his address, the then RSS Sarsanghachalak Poojya Shri Madhavrao Golwalkarji aka Shri Guruji explained the necessity of the unity of the Hindus and appealed to be alert towards the anti-national activities and foil their ploys with the help of united force. This initiative by the swayamsevaks filled the minority but nationalist community, which was affected by an inferiority complex, with enthusiasm. The confidence that arose through it played an important role to face off the Pakistani aggression in coming days.
Those were stormy days. The prominent RSS workers in Jammu & Kashmir could hear the sound of coming tragedy and were working on a war footing, with their all might, to avoid it. In this regard, some prominent swayamsevaks had even penetrated among the pro-Pakistani conspirators in the areas that are today in the Pak-occupied area as well as in Srinagar because of which they received confirmed reports of the conspiracies being hatched in Karachi and Rawalpindi. On the one hand, the swayamsevaks were gathering information by staking their lives and on the other hand, the work of uniting the youths was on constantly through the Shakhas. The reports coming from the border areas was worrisome and the swayamsevaks were determined that they would try everything to save Jammu & Kashmir from the Pakistani conspiracy. When the plan of attack on October 22 was prepared on October 13, 1947, in the presence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a swayamsevak was present there in disguise. The RSS headquarters at Srinagar had received this information by night which was conveyed in time to Brigadier Rajendra Singh and Brigadier Fakir Singh. Likewise, the swayamsevaks were the first to receive the information of the Pakistani conspiracy to abduct Maharaja Hari Singh during his tour of Bhimber. The then Sanghachalak of Jammu Pt. Premanth Dogra alerted Maharaja in time because of which the latter changed his programme. The attack on Bhimber failed and Maharaja’s life could be saved.
On the Path of Duty
Brig. Rajendra Singh was martyred while combating the Pakistani attackers in Uri. In that difficult situation, Maharaja Hari Singh himself called Shri Balraj Madhok, who handled the entire expedition on RSS behalf, to his Palace. Prime Minister Mehar Chand Mahajan said clearly, “We want youths from you who can go to Baramulla tomorrow itself and help the military in stopping the enemy from entering Kashmir valley.” Shri Madhok said, “The hearts of our youths are full of spirit, enthusiasm, they are ready to shed their lives for the nation, but they are not soldiers. They have neither arms nor the training to use them. In such a situation, how helpful can they be?” Brig. Fakir Singh said instantly, “The RSS swayamsevaks are patriots and educated. We will train them and make them soldiers within a day.” “So, how many swayamsevaks do you want?” “150, tomorrow at 7 am.” It was 12 am. The Mukhya Shikshaks of Rainawadi, Parana City and Amirakdal were awakened from the sleep and given the responsibility of informing their swayamsevaks by 3 am to gather in the RSS office at 6 am with the preparedness of going to the war zone. The smaller groups of swayamsevaks started coming to the RSS office from the 5 am itself. By 7 am, more than 200 swayamsevaks had gathered of which 150 swayamsevaks were selected. Those who were rejected had tearful eyes. After an inspiring address by Shri Madhok, there was Sangh prayer and the swayamsevak left in the trucks towards the camp at Badami Bagh.
Ready for your cause…
The whole of Kashmir was expecting the Bharatiya army to reach any moment. However, wider airstrips were needed for the landing of the military planes and they were not there. The swayamsevaks finished the challenging task of constructing airstrips at three places – Srinagar, Jammu and Poonch by toiling day and night.
On the Path of Sacrifice
The first aeroplane of the Indian Air Force landed in Srinagar on October 27, 1947. Within next ten days, the Bharatiya Army captured all the area up to Uri. When the Pakistanis had to retreat from Kashmir, they increased their pressure on Jammu. Both Bhimber and Meerpur had fallen into Pakistan’s hands. More than 50,000 citizens were killed mercilessly. It is impossible to describe what happened to thousands of mothers and sisters. The grip was tightening around Kotli. The possibility of getting military help was dim. An IAF aeroplane threw eight boxes of ammunition but it also fell into the enemy-controlled territory. It was neither possible to bring it back from among the enemy nor fighting without it. The RSS swayamsevaks came forward to turn the impossible to possible. Kotli’s Nagar Karyavah Chandra Prakash took seven swayamsevaks beside him and reached to the box of ammunition scrawling. A nullah in the way was to be crossed swimming. The sounds emanating from the water alerted the enemy. They were inching forward and pushing the box amidst the showering of bullets. All of a sudden, bullets hit Chandra Prakashji and Ved Prakashji, but they had no time to look after them. The other swayamsevaks took their boxes and went ahead. They returned after successfully handing over the ammunition to the soldiers. Both the swayamsevaks passed away. They had to carry their dead bodies on their back and scrawl upwards on the hill. The showering of the bullets was becoming intense. Two more swayamsevaks were hit by the bullets and remaining two colleagues lifted them on their back. All four swayamsevaks were cremated on the same pyre on the outskirts of the Kotli town. They lived up to their vow. The soldiers had enough ammunition now that they took with them and started marching ahead on the same road from where it was brought. The Pakistani guns were rendered silent with the sunrise. The tricolour was flying high on the hill ahead. This Body fells for You, Salute Salute! Kotli was now in full control of the Bharatiya Army. A report came abruptly that the aggressors had surrounded 1200 Hindus in Palandhari, 20 kms away from there. Kotli could not be left unsecured, hence soldiers in large number could not be sent there. It was determined that three soldiers, 15 jawans of Jammu & Kashmir Police and 100 swayamsevaks would go to Palandhari for this mission. The enemy got the information of this mission in advance because of a traitor officer and they were all prepared for this. The entire unit fought till their last breath; none of them returned alive.
The second stage of the RSS work started after creating a successful history of sacrifices. The challenge lay ahead after the ceasefire came into being of looking after those who had come as the migrants and displaced, after losing everything and near and dear ones, in Jammu and its vicinity. Sheikh Abdullah did not allow even the state’s own people to stay in Kashmir and pushed them towards Jammu. It is a travesty that Jammu has remained a land of these displaced people even today. RSS asked help from the society for the urgent necessities of these people and started working on priority issues like their food, shelter, security and medical help. The swayamsevaks yoked themselves to the service of these migrants and displaced, without thinking about themselves, as they stood firm like a wall before the enemy during the time of Pakistan’s aggression.
Praja Parishad and its Agitation
Disturbed by the Pakistani atrocities against his subjects, Maharaja Hari Singh even accepted the illogical demand of handing over the power to Sheikh Abdullah and signed on the letter of annexation. Immediately after assuming charge, Sheikh started dealing with a stern hand with his political opponents. People of Jammu were considered to be the supporters of Maharaja and they were attacked as well. This situation forced the people of Jammu to form their own political party. Jammu Praja Parishad was formed by projecting Shri Premnath Dogra, a consensus personality who was once the Deputy Commissioner of Muzaffarabad. Its president and minister, Hari Wazir and Hansraj Sharma respectively, were young but its functioning and organisation were backed by the belligerent leadership of Shri Balraj Madhok. The Praja Parishad spread its wing all over the state in no time. Praja Parishad took many efforts to resolve the problem. Its leadership put forward the actual position before Sheikh Abdullah in the state and Sardar Patel and Prime Minister Pt. Nehru in Delhi. Infuriated with this, Sheikh expelled Shri Madhok, his parents and his family from Jammu and put Pt. Premanth Dogra in jail. The opposition was growing and Sheikh’s brutality also. On his instance, the administration was inflicting free-willed atrocities against Praja Parishad workers and supporters. The developments like Delhi Accord happening under Sheikh Abdullah’s pressure, announcement of the Sadr-i-Riyasat after changing the President-approved head of the state etc. created an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust in the state. As a result, the Praja Parishad was forced to move towards a decisive agitation.
Heat of the Agitation in Delhi
The agitation was at its peak in Jammu. The agitators were facing canes and bullets every day. Processions supporting the agitation started in Delhi too and a series of protests went on. The police caned the agitators brutally in Hauz Qazi in which 60 persons were injured. The teargas shells were also thrown. This instigated the protests even more. The annual meeting of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was on at the time in Kanpur. The Jana Sangh announced an eight-member fact-finding team to be sent to Jammu but the Bharatiya government did not allow it to go there. Jana Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha and Ramrajya Parishad announced their decision to observe March 5 jointly as the Jammu Day. Section 144 was imposed at all major places in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. A big rally was organised in the ground in front of Delhi Station that was presided by Karpatri Maharaj. Jana Sangh’s president Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee addressed the rally. The police arrested Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Barrister Nirmalchandra Chaterjee, Nandlal Sharma and Vaidya Gurudutt in the midst of the crowd. A satyagrah was announced in Delhi and Pathankot against the arrest of Dr. Mookerjee and police atrocities. Praja Parishad is credited with providing a platform for the citizens in Jammu & Kashmir, who wanted to associate their identity with Bharat. The agitation of the nationalist forces under its leadership foiled the British conspiracy to break Kashmir away from Bharat and the ploys of Sheikh Abdullah to become Kashmir’s sultan. It was also successful in attracting the nation’s attention on this point and create a strong public opinion.
Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s Martyrdom
When the people of Jammu were struggling for their survival under the leadership of Praja Parishad, the national leader and Jana Sangh president Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who was former Industries Minister in Nehru cabinet, went to Jammu with three other MPs namely Shri V.G. Deshpande, Shri Ram Narayan Singh and Barrister Uma Shankar Trivedi in August 1952. Dr. Mookerjee gave a strong boost to the agitation, which was on with the slogan ‘one law, one ruler and one flag’. Addressing a rally during this time, he announced, “Either I will obtain the law or sacrifice myself.” A unanimous resolution in this regard was passed in the first session of Jana Sangh at Kanpur in December 1952 under which it was decided to extend full support to the Praja Parishad’s agitation and make it nationwide. It was also proposed to get cooperation from other nationalist organisations. There was no restraint to Sheikh’s tyranny in Jammu while Pt. Nehru was adamant in Delhi that he would trample the agitation with canes and bullets. Not only the opposition leaders and parties, even ruling party members could do little more than watching on helplessly. Satyagrah in March and April rocked Delhi. The satyagrahis were coming from all over the country and getting arrested themselves. They were mistreated not only on the road but in jail also. The trampling by the government was in full swing. On this background, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee announced as the last measure on May 7, “I will go to Jammu tomorrow”. It is notable here that when the agitation in Delhi was in full swing, two other members of Lok Sabha Barrister U.M. Trivedi and Hindu Mahasabha’s general secretary Vishnu Ghanshyam Deshpande had announced their visit to Jammu. They were arrested in Jalandhar on April 17. However, the Supreme Court acquitted and released them. The Bharatiya government learned from this that if he were arrested within the SC’s jurisdiction, he would also be released. Thus, Nehru and Sheikh’s plans would not bear fruit. Until then, Jammu and Kashmir was not in the jurisdiction of the SC of Bharat. Hence, he was arrested in Jammu & Kashmir’s borders. According to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who accompanied Dr. Mookrjee then as a journalist, the Deputy Commissioner of Gurudaspur himself came to him and said they would arrange everything for his visit. He said they did not want to stop him. There would be no hurdle in his travel because of him. They were ready to make his travel comfortable. However, as they reached halfway on the Madhopur Bridge, the Jammu & Kashmir police arrested him. The government did not allow Barrister Uma Shankar Trivedi, who had gone to file a petition in the Jammu & Kashmir High Court against the arrest, to meet him. He could meet Dr. Mookerjee only when the Jammu & Kashmir HC allowed him to do so. The verdict on Barrister Trivedi’s petition was scheduled on June 23. Everyone expected that Dr. Mookerjee would be released on this day. However, he died in suspicious conditions just on the eve of that day. His colleagues arrested with him were released. Dr. Mookerjee’s sacrifice bore fruit and the permit system was abolished. Many provisions of the Bharat’s constitution were enforced in the state.
A Silent Penance
For the next three decades, the central government carried out political experiments in Jammu & Kashmir. Through these experiments, Congress maintained its place in the state’s politics by overlooking the anti-Bharat activities and sometimes even by protecting them. As Pakistan changed its strategy after the defeat in Bangladesh, the separatists also changed their tunes. Sheikh Abdullah even started saying that Jammu & Kashmir’s annexation to Bharat was final. Impressed by this, Sheikh was again made the Chief Minister. For RSS, this was the period of silent penance. It knew that the direction in which the political ambitions were taking the state were not in people’s interests. Hence, a new age of struggle was inevitable to come and all nationalist forces had to unite in it. The RSS’ doubts proved true soon and the role of ever-ready force of RSS proved effective.
Against the Terrorism
Pakistan indulged in its strategy of inflicting thousand cuts on Bharat. The separatists living in the valley became its agents. The mainstream political parties closed their eyes towards them. The Ram Janmabhoomi agitation was instrumental in flaring up the communal sentiments in Kashmir. Rumour was spread in Kashmir that homicide of Muslims was going on while Jammu was all-calm. The naked dance of violence was started in Kashmir on this pretence. By 1989, the administration became totally helpless before the terrorists. Announcements of Nizam-e-Mustafa were being made from the mosques. Hindus were told to leave the valley. The terrorists killed prominent personalities like BJP vice president Shri Tikalal Tapalu, RSS senior member Shri Premnath Bhatt, Justice Neelkanth Ganju who pronounced the death sentence on Makbul Bhatt, Doordarshan’s director Lasa Kaul, etc. In this background, all religious and social organisations in Jammu & Kashmir were called together on the instance of RSS and Jammu Kashmir Sahayata Samiti was formed. The Samiti worked for the registration and rehabilitating the displaced on safer places. The swayamsevaks all over the country went from home to home, collected food, money, clothes and medicines on the appeal of the Samiti, and distributed them to the displaced.
Giving the first-hand experience to the people of the country was necessary so that they get an idea of the severity of the situation. More than 11 thousand boy and girl students from the country reached Jammu on the appeal of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and witnessed the reality. The ABVP had announced hoisting of tricolour in the Lal Chowk of Srinagar but the administration, which failed to stop the insult to the tricolour, stopped these nationalist youths from marching ahead. These youths, arrested with the tricolour, were placed in the jail at Udhampur for one day and released. From there, these students went to Delhi, sat before the residence of the then Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, and handed over the tricolour with a challenge to hoist it in Lal Chowk.
Jammu-Kashmir Bachao Abhiyan
The women’s nationalist organisation Rashtra Sevika Samiti organised nationwide Jammu-Kashmir Bachao Abhiyan from March 29 to 31, 1991 for creating awareness. An attempt was made to draw the nation’s attention towards the situation in J&K through a grand awareness yatra and a public rally in Jammu on March 31. Thereafter, these sisters went to the displaced camps and witnessed the ground situation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party announced the Ekata Yatra to convey the state’s situation to every citizen. This Rathyatra started from Kanyakumari under the leadership of BJP’s then national president Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi on December 11, 1991. Resonating the chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai in every village and town, this Yatra reached Srinagar on January 26, 1992 after crossing all hurdles where the tricolour was hoisted as announced in advance. More than 50,000 patriotic people reached Jammu to witness this moment but they could not reach Srinagar because of the road blockage. Finally, about 40 persons were taken to Srinagar by aeroplane. The terrorists’ threats proved useless and the nation’s pride emerged victoriously.
Towards Total Integration
This phase of terror was testing for the nationalist forces. Today, terrorism and separatism are fighting the last battle for its survival. The nationalist forces have emerged triumphant through this. There was a time when most of the people and even government thought that the Kashmir was slipping out of hand. Some opined that the state should be trifurcated and at least Jammu and Ladakh should be secured. Many advocated making the Line of Control the international border. The nationalist forces in Jammu & Kashmir have rejected all this negativity and proved their strength by their perseverance. The question today is how to regain the Bharatiya territory across the LoC. How to allay the confusion on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir that was created due to international diplomacy? How to end the falsehood that was established through the silence of the central government for six decades and bring the truth before the people? The issue of Jammu Kashmir has entered a new phase where the truth has to be established based on facts and logic. The RSS has accepted even this challenge of the intellectual struggle and a continuous effort is on to bring out the truth before the people through research-based studies in a phased and scientific manner. The way the issue of Jammu Kashmir has assumed centrality during last few years itself proves the relevance of these efforts.
(Sri Arun Kumar ji is Former Prant Pracharak of Jammu & Kashmir and presently Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh of RSS )
Communist ecosystem notorious for creating fake narratives, has this time taken up a new project in Telangana – to create the legend of a fake hero: George Reddy.
A movie eulogizing him will be released shortly and as a precursor marketing exercise, a series of articles have started appearing in some dailies like Hans India & some social media platforms. Some of the articles have gone as far as presenting him as a messiah.
This piece will attempt to bring to fore that side of his life which is being hidden from people.
Emergence of George Reddy in Osmania University : :
In 1969-70, a small group eulogizing Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara emerged in Osmania University under George Reddy.
George came from a troubled childhood. His mother was a Christian from Kerala and father belonged to Chittoor district. They separated when George was eight years old.
During his college days , he was inspired by the emerging Naxalite movement in Naxalbari and started reading Marxism. George indoctrinated a handful of students with Che’s ideology and gave them training in using weapon such as knuckle-dusters, blades and knives. They camouflaged their political ideology by associating themselves with NSUI, the student wing of Congress and direct patronage from Congress leaders.. He used to release pamphlets under the name ‘PDS’. This acronym was later used to form the PDSU or the Progressive Democratic Students Union.
George Reddy’s emergence coincided with rise of Naxal Terror:
This development coincided with the armed uprising in distant Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. That phase of naxal insurgency lasted for four years (1968-72) during which 156 ‘class enemies’ were eliminated by naxals. This innocuous figure was no indicator of the terror let loose by them. A large number of people including women and children were mercilessly thrashed. Hundreds had lost limbs. To frighten the common people and to prevent them from giving evidence in courts, the armed squads exhibited medieval barbarism. They used to chop body into pieces in front of wailing family members after killing an opponent. They used to severe the head of their target and hang it to a bamboo pole in the very courtyard of the victim’s house. In some instances, the chopped heads of the victims were hung to the doors and rafters. A number of opponents were tortured to death before dazed and wailing near and dear ones. They used to dip their hands in the blood of the victims and used their blood as ink to scribble slogans on the walls.
George Reddy : A votary of barbaric violence
George Reddy was also cast in the same mould. In his book ‘Maoism’ Sri Piratla Venkateshwalu , wrote that George used to instigate the new recruits with the slogan
” You are not a true communist, until your hands are not soaked in the blood of the class enemy ”
There were 14 criminal cases against him since 1968. In 1970, he stabbed two students of Law College in the Osmania University campus. Neither Osmania University nor any other educational institution in Andhra Pradesh earlier witnessed such intimidating violence. The violence shook not only the students and academics circles but had reverberations across the state. The University Syndicate rusticated him. However, the Vice-Chancellor had to revoke the rustication within few weeks due to pressure exerted by some fellow-travellers.
It is now being propagated that George Reddy was winning elections in OU. The truth, however, is otherwise. In 1970, the ABVP won large number of Student Unions in Hyderabad and Telangana. George Reddy’s nominee for Osmania University Science College union lost the election. This made him bitter and he decided to take revenge on ABVP and also teach a lesson to the general students.
Terror on OU campus by George Reddy
George Reddy was actively used by the splinter groups within the Congress party which was going through an internal power struggle. The Communists were in strategic alliance with the Congress.
In August 1971, George and his gang used to roam around in Hyderabad in APCC jeep at freewill and struck terror. They abducted ABVP activist Ch. Narasimha Reddy, a PG student, from his hostel room in the Osmania University Campus and thrashed him severely with hockey sticks and rods. This was followed by an attack on Ch.Vidyasagar Rao, President of Law College Union. His jaw was dislocated and had to be hospitalized for several weeks. The group then picked up another ABVP leader Narayan Das from his residence, beat him severely and abandoned him in a remote location assuming he was dead.
This attack was followed by another attack in which N. Indrasena Reddy, Secretary of Hyderabad ABVP unit, Surdas Reddy and other activists received serious head injuries. The then Congress Government preferred to turn blind eye to these heinous criminal acts. George Reddy’s murderous attacks on ABVP activists continued unabated. The count of those injured swelled each passing day.
Death of George Reddy & After:
During the campaign for the Student Union elections of OU Engineering College, scheduled in April 1972, George Reddy raided the Engineering Hostel with his armed goons to terrorize the common students.
George neither belonged to the college nor was he resident there. Whereas the candidate who was contesting against George’s group was a resident of the hostel. What business did George have in raiding the Engineering college hostel if the intentions were not hostile ? George Reddy lost his life in that clash.
The postmortem report which was enclosed with the Charge-sheet discloses very interesting facts which the public didn’t know. A knife and a lethal weapon called knuckle- duster was found concealed in George Reddy’s clothes. Knuckle duster is a specially made weapon shaped like a hand with claws and nails. It is worn on the hands and is used to beat, scratch and claw opponents. It also came to light later that George Reddy used this weapon against his opponents in the past too.
The newspapers came out with banner headlines indicting ABVP and RSS for murdering a NSUI leader. Unfortunately, none of the journalists bothered to check the extremist background of George Reddy. A section in the Congress sensed political opportunity in his death and used its might to exploit the incident and tried to crush ABVP. The cartage of the dead body, led by Congress leader S.Jayapal Reddy, was deliberately halted in front of the State Headquarters of RSS in Hyderabad and inflammatory slogans were raised. Some even tried to jump over the gate.
Former Chief Minister Kasu Brahmanand Reddy, who was also a Christian paid a visit to the family of George Reddy to express his solidarity. Some leaders from the Congress, CPI and CPM submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to take stringent action against the RSS. But the Intelligence Wing of the Police knew what this group was upto.
ABVP activists Charge sheeted, High Court Cleared Them:
The Police charge-sheeted nine people including six ABVP activists. They remained in jail for six months until acquitted by the trial court. On the day of their release, the NSUI took out a procession in the campus shouting objectionable slogans such as: “Not the Courts but we pronounce the judgment and will punish them.” The Government went in appeal to the High Court. But the High Court upheld the lower court’s judgment. The incident and the legal battle put a lot of strain on the ABVP.
End Note :
As per MHA report, the violence unleashed by the forces that George Reddy represented have claimed the lives of over 12000 people in the last two decades ( 1996 to 2018 ) of which close to 8000 are civilians. The BBC put this number at 6000 in its report. It is in the interest of society that such violent and misguided individuals are not eulogized but presented for what they represent, viz hatred, jealousy & violence motivated by narcissism. The cloak that they put on must be unmasked.
- ‘Seven Decades My Journey with an Ideology’ by Prof S.V.Seshagiri Rao.
- Struggle Against Nation Splitters
- BBC report : 1st July 2010
- MHA : 1st Oct 2017
- South Asian Terrorism Portal
- Archive – Jagriti Weekly, 1972
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice of Mahabalipuram for his informal meeting with President Xi Jinping has an obvious, deep significance and even a deeper message“, writes noted columnist, thinker and political commentator, Sri S.Gurumurthy.
(Courtesy: NewIndianExpress.com | Published: 11th October 2019)
It is strategic civilisational diplomacy at its symbolic best. Narendra Modi found that his second informal summit with Xi Jinping at Mahabalipuram in 2019 had been fixed 1,500 years ago by a prince of the Pallava dynasty, which ruled Mahabalipuram from Kanchipuram. The Pallava prince from Kanchipuram renounced the throne, became a Buddhist monk, known as Bodhi Dharma in India and DaMo in China, almost like how prince Siddhartha became Buddha. His guru asked him to go to Zhen Dan- today’s China.
Bodhi Dharma, who became India’s first spiritual ambassador to China, also emerged as its chief mentor. Regarded as Buddhaabdara (Buddha’s Avatar), he expounded Zen Buddhism and founded the famous Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan province.
Revered as the first Patriarch of China, the rest of the Buddhist world listed him as the 28th in line from Buddha. Modi is now reviving memories of Bodhi Dharma to position him as the icon of India’s civilisational outreach to China, which is integral to his overarching strategic civilisational diplomacy.
Bodhi Dharma’s foray was not limited to China. Popular as DaMo in China, as Dalma in Korea, Daruma in Japan, Dharmottara in Tibet, with his name echoing in Vietnam too, he ended up as India’s cultural ambassador to most of Asia. Just as Modi began gradually changing the secular narrative of India into a civilisational narrative within after his historic victory in 2014, he extended it to foreign relations as well. In 2015, he began writing a strategic Hindu-Buddhist civilisational narrative to give thrust to India’s Look East philosophy.The Mahabalipuram summit, which recalls the 5th-century DaMo today, is an important chapter in Modi’s overarching civilisational narrative to handle the relationship with China that was seriously damaged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. So, the Namo-Xi summit should be seen in the backdrop of Modi’s national strategic narrative.
Post-Independence Secular India – a civilisational orphan
With the rise of radical Islamist terror, particularly the 9/11 attack, Samuel Huntington’s view that the world would become increasingly civilisation conscious virtually binned the utopian Francis Fukuyama’s prognosis of a world free of conflicts founded on free market and liberal democracy.
The politically diverse Western nations began to be seen more as civilisationally Christian, Japan as a civilisation state and China as a civilisation pretending to be a state. But secular India continued to remain orphaned without a civilisational name and a narrative of its own.
Post-Independence India did not attempt to reinstate the national narrative it had lost due to centuries of foreign domination even after it rediscovered it during the freedom movement. Instead, it enjoyed living on borrowed narratives like secularism and socialism.
Lost in fake secularism that increasingly rested on vote-bank politics and in the failed socialism, which proved to be a global disaster, India ignored its spiritual and civilisational foundations that would have helped it develop its own national civilisational narrative. India’s distorted secularism undermined its civilisational assets. Result: India, which had become part of the universal notions of secularism and socialism, had nothing special to talk about itself.
In a seminal essay (to mark the 25th anniversary of Huntington’s clash theory) on civilisational exchanges between China and India titled “Civilisational Perspectives in International Relations and Contemporary China-India Relations”, Ravi Dutt Bajpai (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia) asserts that India and China were both civilisation states but adds, “Although India’s ancient civilisational legacy originates from its Hindu-Buddhist religious beliefs, the constitutional secularism in the Indian polity makes it difficult for the state to flaunt a religious identity.”
Indian intellectualism was even blind to the historical fact that each materialist ideology that succeeded one another and dominated the world for the last couple of centuries increasingly had a shorter shelf life. Colonialism lasted for 200 years. Capitalism lasted100 years. Communism lasted 50 years. And globalisation has been pronounced dead by its chief proponent The Economist magazine in just 25 years. Our nation of thousands of years of these dominant thoughts sprouting, growing and, as Swami Vivekananda said, “vanishing like ripples on the face of waters, living a few hours of exultant and exuberant dominance”. India’s fate as a civilisational orphan continued even after socialism proved to be a global fiasco and secularism turned fake at home. It continued to adopt the socialist narrative for half a century and later a globalist narrative for a quarter more.
In this period, India saw Confucian China re-emerging out of communist China that violently banished Confucius for half a century. India saw ex-communist China establishing over 1,200 Confucian centres and classrooms the world over to present itself as a Confucian civilisation. It saw communist Russia turning Orthodox Christian, socialist Poland turning Roman Catholic.
Yet, it continued with its outdated and borrowed narrative that negated its own spiritual and civilisational foundation, which Mahatma Gandhi in his seminal thesis Hind Swaraj had emphasised as its unifying force. Till Modi came to power, India did not even think of making a draft national narrative for bilateral and multilateral relationship building.
National narrative- an imperative
The world which became obsessed with globalism after the Cold War, recently began rediscovering the need for a national narrative. The idea of a national strategic narrative was felt in the US in 2009. In 2011, the US government and the Woodrow Wilson International Center jointly authored a paper on the national strategic doctrine in 2011. The paper said:
“A narrative is a story. A national strategic narrative must be a story that all Americans can understand and identify within their own lives. America’s national story has always see-sawed between exceptionalism and universalism. We think that we are an exceptional nation, but a core part of that exceptionalism is a commitment to universal values — to the equality of all human beings not just within the borders of the United States, but around the world.”
Later, in 2017, came a paper titled “Stories about ourselves: How national narratives influence the diffusion of large-scale energy technologies” by Joint Global Change Research Institute, United States Maryland School of Public Policy, University of Maryland.
The paper said, “A national narrative rationalises and is supported by the nation’s identity. The narrative gives citizens an awareness of their common values and characteristics as a nation; it also situates a nation among other nations as unique (at least in part). If successful, the national narrative (is) a source of pride domestically and respect from other nations…. Of course, no nation exhibits unanimity around a single story; instead, ‘we find a polyphony of voices, overlapping and crisscrossing; contradictory and ambiguous; opposing, affirming and negotiating their views of the nation.’”
National narrative is NO outdated concept. It is very much a contemporary need. Yet the Indian discourse did not attempt a national civilisational and strategic narrative for India, even though the Supreme Court had held as early as in 1995 — which it refused to review even as late as 2016 — that secular India is compatible in cultural terms with Hindu India.
Narendra Modi writes India’s national strategic narrative
Modi’s tryst with Buddha started soon after he became the Prime Minister. He saw Buddha as the civilisational face of India and Buddhism as the most effective bridge to link the culturally Hindu India with the civilisationally Buddhist Asia.
Modi has endeavoured to integrate Buddha with India’s Look East doctrine. He saw that Dharma in Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain traditions in India and Dhamma in diverse Buddhist traditions in Asia linked people of both traditions more intimately than any single or multiple state policy or pact. Cognate civilisations vault over state-erected walls to connect people with people. Modi saw the Hindu-Buddhist civilisational nexus as the most potent people-to-people link, which even the modern and ex-communist states like China could not ignore.
The Prime Minister’s strategic Hindu-Buddhist civilisational diplomacy started with his first visit to Japan in early 2015. Modi quickly roped in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe into a joint Indo-Japan initiative of “Samvad” — Sanskrit word meaning “dialogue” — through strategic think tanks in Japan, Tokyo Foundation and Japanese Foundation, and the Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi.
And the first Samvad of Hindu-Buddhist nations on the theme of Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness took place in September 2015. In his video address to the Samvad, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the idea of Dharma, which was the foundation of Japan’s rule of law, was India’s gift to Japan — a declaration emotionally more powerful than any economic or political pact.
The year 2015 ended with the Bodh Gaya Declaration to make it the global centre of enlightenment. The Samvad II was held in Myanmar in 2017 and Samvad III in Mongolia in September 2019. The Indian and Japanese prime ministers inaugurated each of the three Samvad meets by direct or video address.
The impact of the Modi-Abe civilisational outreach of Samvad on the Buddhist world is phenomenal. The most leading global Buddhist website, the Buddhist Door Global (BDG), which had said in 2017 that “India’s efforts at Buddhist diplomacy are not easy to accomplish”, did a U-turn in 2019 to accept Samvad as “a burgeoning, informal alliance of Buddhist Asian democracies”, adding that “Modi and his allies have been responsible for a resurgence of Buddhist diplomacy unseen in modern Indian history”.
The report concluded, “Words like conflict avoidance and environment consciousness (Samvad’s consistent conference themes) conjure a very specific mode of Buddhist action: one that always leads back to New Delhi’s very unique understanding of transnational Buddhist power.”
Undoubtedly Modi has innovated a national civilisational and strategic narrative for India not just for relating to Asia but for relating to the world, by globalising and positioning Indian-Asian Buddha as the icon of his presentation at the UN recently, contrasting Buddha (enlightenment) with Yuddha (war).
As Namo invokes DaMo at Mahabalipuram
Modi’s choice of distant Mahabalipuram for his informal meeting with Xi has an obvious, deep significance and even a deeper message. Can a China that has discarded communism and begun reinstating neo-Confucianism as its national narrative and an India that has discarded the failed socialism and fake secularism and begun re-writing the national narrative in civilisational terms find their common Hindu-Buddhist civilisational roots in Mahabalipuram? Will the spirit of DaMo help Namo and Xi accomplish that will be seen this weekend and in what unfolds thereafter.
Namo’s strategy is to find positive answers to such and other questions is manifest in his choice of the venue — DaMo’s Mahabalipuram.
The civilisational link between the peoples of India and China has always been stronger than any government-to-government policy declarations. Modi’s attempt seems to be to awaken the unleveraged civilisational impulses to relate to China whose aggression in 1962 damaged India’s trust in its neighbour.
How Modi handled the Doklam issue has obviously convinced the mighty neighbour that India is no more a pushover. Namo is invoking DaMo, the deeper spiritual chord between India and China, to restore mutual trust, which will be the foundation for a stable and trustworthy India-China relationship.
Postscript: Yet another Kanchi connection to China-India relations. The Sage of Kanchi (the Shankaracharya of Kanchi) who lived for 100 years told the writer of this article in the early 1990s that India should settle the border row with China, which the Sage saw as India’s cultural ally. The writer had mentioned this in 2003 to Atal Bihari Vajpayee when as India’s Prime Minister he was going to China. It was then that the NSA-level talks commenced with China for settlement of the border dispute. Whether recalling DaMo by Namo will fulfil the desire of the Kanchi saint remains to Be seen.
– 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.