Category Archives: History

Kandahar Plane Hijack and the NDA government

Each time an issue of acting tough on terrorists, the so-called abject surrender of NDA government under Vajpayee ji is brought up. This article by Sri Kanchan Gupta throws light about the events that transpired. It is the people’s will that makes a government strong and stand up ! Was our Nation upto it ?

Was it really an ‘abject surrender’ by the NDA Government?

There have been innumerable communal riots in India, nearly all of them in States ruled by the Congress at the time of the violence, yet everybody loves to pretend that blood was shed in the name of religion for the first time in Gujarat in 2002 and that the BJP Government headed by Mr Narendra Modi must bear the burden of the cross.

Similarly, nobody remembers the various incidents of Indian Airlines aircraft being hijacked when the Congress was in power at the Centre, the deals that were struck to rescue the hostages, and the compromises that were made at the expense of India’s dignity and honour. But everybody remembers the hijacking of IC 814 and nearly a decade after the incident, many people still hold the BJP-led NDA Government responsible for the ‘shameful’ denouement.

The Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi, designated IC 814, with 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board, was hijacked on Christmas Eve, 1999, a short while after it took-off from Tribhuvan International Airport; by then, the aircraft had entered Indian airspace. Nine years later to the day, with an entire generation coming of age, it would be in order to recall some facts and place others on record.

In 1999 I was serving as an aide to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the PMO, and I still have vivid memories of the tumultuous week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Mr Vajpayee had gone out of Delhi on an official tour; I had accompanied him along with other officials of the PMO. The hijacking of IC 814 occurred while we were returning to Delhi in one of the two Indian Air Force Boeings which, in those days, were used by the Prime Minister for travel within the country.

Curiously, the initial information about IC 814 being hijacked, of which the IAF was believed to have been aware, was not communicated to the pilot of the Prime Minister’s aircraft. As a result, Mr Vajpayee and his aides remained unaware of the hijacking till reaching Delhi. This caused some amount of controversy later.

It was not possible for anybody else to have contacted us while we were in midair. It’s strange but true that the Prime Minister of India would be incommunicado while on a flight because neither the ageing IAF Boeings nor the Air India Jumbos, used for official travel abroad (in those days), had satellite phone facilities.

By the time our aircraft landed in Delhi, it was around 7:00 pm, a full hour and 40 minutes since the hijacking of IC 814. After disembarking from the aircraft in the VIP bay of Palam Technical Area, we were surprised to find National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra waiting at the foot of the ladder. He led Mr Vajpayee aside and gave him the news. They got into the Prime Minister’s car and it sped out of the Technical Area. Some of us followed Mr. Vajpayee to Race Course Road, as was the normal routine.

On our way to the Prime Minister’s residence, colleagues in the PMO provided us with the basic details. The Kathmandu-Delhi flight had been commandeered by five hijackers (later identified as Ibrahim Athar, resident of Bahawalpur, Shahid Akhtar Sayed, Gulshan Iqbal, resident of Karachi, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, resident of Defence Area, Karachi, Mistri Zahoor Ibrahim, resident of Akhtar Colony, Karachi, and Shakir, resident of Sukkur City) at 5:20 pm; there were 189 passengers and crew members on board; and that the aircraft was heading towards Lahore.

At the Prime Minister’s residence, senior Ministers and Secretaries had already been summoned for an emergency meeting. Mr Mishra left for the crisis control room that had been set up at Rajiv Bhavan. In between meetings, Mr Vajpayee instructed his personal staff to cancel all celebrations planned for December 25, his birthday. The Cabinet Committee on Security met late into the night as our long vigil began.

Meanwhile, we were informed that the pilot of IC 814 had been denied permission to land at Lahore airport. With fuel running low, he was heading for Amritsar. Officials at Raja Sansi Airport were immediately alerted and told to prevent the plane from taking off after it had landed there.

The hijacked plane landed at Amritsar and remained parked on the tarmac for nearly 45 minutes. The hijackers demanded that the aircraft be refuelled. The airport officials ran around like so many headless chickens, totally clueless about what was to be done in a crisis situation.

Desperate calls were made to the officials at Raja Sansi Airport to somehow stall the refuelling and prevent the plane from taking off. The officials just failed to respond with alacrity. At one point, an exasperated Jaswant Singh, if memory serves me right, grabbed the phone and pleaded with an official, “Just drive a heavy vehicle, a fuel truck or a road roller or whatever you have, onto the runway and park it there.” But all this was to no avail.

The National Security Guards, whose job it is to deal with hostage situations, were alerted immediately after news first came in of IC 814 being hijacked; they were reportedly asked to stand by for any emergency. The Home Ministry was again alerted when it became obvious that after being denied permission to land at Lahore, the pilot was heading towards Amritsar.

Yet, despite IC 814 remaining parked at Amritsar for three-quarters of an hour, the NSG commandos failed to reach the aircraft. There are two versions as to why the NSG didn’t show up: First, they were waiting for an aircraft to ferry them from Delhi to Amritsar; second, they were caught in a traffic jam between Manesar and Delhi airport. The real story was never known!

The hijackers, anticipating commando action, first stabbed a passenger, Rupin Katyal (he had gone to Kathmandu with his newly wedded wife for their honeymoon; had they not extended their stay by a couple of days, they wouldn’t have been on the ill-fated flight) to show that they meant business, and then forced the pilot to take off from Amritsar. With almost empty fuel tanks, the pilot had no other option but to make another attempt to land at Lahore airport. Once again he was denied permission and all the lights, including those on the runway, were switched off. He nonetheless went ahead and landed at Lahore airport, showing remarkable skill and courage.

Mr Jaswant Singh spoke to the Pakistani Foreign Minister and pleaded with him to prevent the aircraft from taking off again. But the Pakistanis would have nothing of it (they wanted to distance themselves from the hijacking so that they could claim later that there was no Pakistan connection) and wanted IC 814 off their soil and out of their airspace as soon as possible. So, they refuelled the aircraft after which the hijackers forced the pilot to head for Dubai.

At Dubai, too, officials were reluctant to allow the aircraft to land. It required all the persuasive skills of Mr Jaswant Singh and our then Ambassador to UAE, Mr KC Singh, to secure landing permission. There was some negotiation with the hijackers through UAE officials and they allowed 13 women and 11 children to disembark. Rupin Katyal had by then bled to death. His body was offloaded. His widow remained a hostage till the end.

On the morning of December 25, the aircraft left Dubai and headed towards Afghanistan. It landed at Kandahar Airport, which had one serviceable runway, a sort of ATC and a couple of shanties. The rest of the airport was in a shambles, without power and water supply, a trophy commemorating the Taliban’s rule.

On Christmas Eve, after news of the hijacking broke, there was stunned all-round silence. But by noon on December 25, orchestrated protests outside the Prime Minister’s residence began, with women beating their chests and tearing their clothes. The crowd swelled by the hour as the day progressed.

Ms Brinda Karat came to commiserate with the relatives of the hostages who were camping outside the main gate of 7, Race Course Road. In fact, she became a regular visitor over the next few days. There was a steady clamour that the Government should pay any price to bring the hostages back home, safe and sound. This continued till December 30.

One evening, the Prime Minister asked his staff to let the families come in so that they could be told about the Government’s efforts to secure the hostages’ release. By then negotiations had begun and Mullah Omar had got into the act through his ‘Foreign Minister’, Muttavakil. The hijackers wanted 36 terrorists, held in various Indian jails, to be freed or else they would blow up the aircraft with the hostages.

No senior Minister in the CCS was willing to meet the families. Mr Jaswant Singh volunteered to do so. He asked me to accompany him to the canopy under which the families had gathered. Once there, we were literally mobbed. He tried to explain the situation but was shouted down.

“We want our relatives back. What difference does it make to us what you have to give the hijackers?” a man shouted. “We don’t care if you have to give away Kashmir,” a woman screamed and others took up the refrain, chanting: “Kashmir de do, kuchh bhi de do, hamare logon ko ghar wapas lao.” Another woman sobbed, “Mera beta… hai mera beta…” and made a great show of fainting of grief.

To his credit, Mr Jaswant Singh made bold to suggest that the Government had to keep the nation’s interest in mind, that we could not be seen to be giving in to the hijackers, or words to that effect, in chaste Hindi. That fetched him abuse and rebuke. “Bhaand me jaaye desh aur bhaand me jaaye desh ka hit. (To hell with the country and national interest),” many in the crowd shouted back. Stumped by the response, Mr Jaswant Singh could merely promise that the Government would do everything possible.

I do not remember the exact date, but sometime during the crisis, Mr Jaswant Singh was asked to hold a Press conference to brief the media. While the briefing was on at the Press Information Bureau hall in Shastri Bhavan, some families of the hostages barged in and started shouting slogans. They were led by one Sanjiv Chibber, who, I was later told, was a ‘noted surgeon’: He claimed six of his relatives were among the hostages.

Dr Chibber wanted all 36 terrorists named by the hijackers to be released immediately. He reminded everybody in the hall that in the past terrorists had been released from prison to secure the freedom of Ms Rubayya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, while he was Home Minister in VP Singh’s Government. “Why can’t you release the terrorists now when our relatives are being held hostage?” he demanded. And then we heard the familiar refrain: “Give away Kashmir, give them anything they want, we don’t give a damn.”

On another evening, there was a surprise visitor at the PMO: The widow of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, whose plane was shot down during the Kargil war. She insisted that she should be taken to meet the relatives of the hostages. At Race Course Road, she spoke to mediapersons and the hostages’ relatives, explaining why India must not be seen giving in to the hijackers, that it was a question of national honour, and gave her own example of fortitude in the face of adversity.

“She has become a widow, now she wants others to become widows. Who is she to lecture us? Yeh kahan se aayi?” someone shouted from the crowd. Others heckled her. The young widow stood her ground, displaying great dignity and courage. As the mood turned increasingly ugly, she had to be led away. Similar appeals were made by others who had lost their sons, husbands and fathers in the Kargil war that summer. Col Virendra Thapar, whose son Lt Vijayant Thapar was martyred in the war, made a fervent appeal for people to stand united against the hijackers. It fell on deaf ears.

The media made out that the overwhelming majority of Indians were with the relatives of the hostages and shared their view that no price was too big to secure the hostages’ freedom. The Congress kept on slyly insisting, “We are with the Government and will support whatever it does for a resolution of the crisis and to ensure the safety of the hostages. But the Government must explain its failure.” Harkishen Singh Surjeet and other Opposition politicians issued similar ambiguous statements.

By December 28, the Government’s negotiators had struck a deal with the hijackers: They would free the hostages in exchange of three dreaded terrorists — Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh — facing various charges of terrorism.

The CCS met frequently, several times a day, and discussed the entire process threadbare. The Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister, apart from the National Security Adviser and the Prime Minister, were present at every meeting. The deal was further fine-tuned, the Home Ministry completed the necessary paper work, and two Indian Airlines aircraft were placed on standby to ferry the terrorists to Kandahar and fetch the hostages.

On December 31, the two aircraft left Delhi airport early in the morning. Mr Jaswant Singh was on board one of them. Did his ministerial colleagues know that he would travel to Kandahar? More important, was the Prime Minister aware of it? The answer is both yes and no.

Mr Jaswant Singh had mentioned his decision to go to Kandahar to personally oversee the release of hostages and to ensure there was no last-minute problem. He was honour-bound to do so, he is believed to have said, since he had promised the relatives of the hostages that no harm would come their way. It is possible that nobody thought he was serious about his plan. It is equally possible that others turned on him when the ‘popular mood’ and the Congress turned against the Government for its ‘abject surrender’.

On New Year’s eve, the hostages were flown back to Delhi. By New Year’s day, the Government was under attack for giving in to the hijackers’ demand! Since then, this ‘shameful surrender’ is held against the NDA and Mr Jaswant Singh is painted as the villain of the piece.

Could the Kandahar episode have ended any other way? Were an Indian aircraft to be hijacked again, would we respond any differently? Not really. As a nation we do not have the guts to stand up to terrorism. We cannot take hits and suffer casualties. We start counting our dead even before a battle has been won or lost. We make a great show of honouring those who die on the battlefield and lionise brave hearts of history, but we do not want our children to follow in their footsteps.

We are, if truth be told, a nation of cowards who don’t have the courage to admit their weakness but are happy to blame a well-meaning politician who, perhaps, takes his regimental motto of ‘Izzat aur Iqbal’ rather too seriously.

(This was originally published in The Pioneer on December 24, 2008.)

Source : Kanchan Gupta Blog

Advertisements

A list of temples destroyed in the Kashmir Valley between 1986-1996.

1986:
SRINAGAR

1. Ganpatyar temple, Srinagar Stoning and Arson..

2. Bhairav temple, Maisuma Stoning and Arson.
3. Temple in front of Gurudwara at Amiradadal ransacked.
4. Shiv temple, Jawaharnagar stoning and arson .
5. Bhairav Mandir, Karan Nagar ransacked and Carpet burnt.
6. Shiv temple near secretariat stoning and arson .
7. Shiv Mandir, Chota Bazar-Local muslims rioters attacked the temple and police resorted
to firing to disperse the muslims.
8. Narayan Math Mandir in Tulsi Bagh arson and stoning.
ANANTNAG 

9. Gautam nag mandlr at Sarnal – set on fire – heavy damage; 3 out of four rooms
destroyed.

10. Shivalay Mandir, Nai Basti – heavy stoning, ransacked.
11. Temple at Wanpoh on Khanabal-Qazigund Road – set on fire – heavy damage.
12. Another temple at Vanpoh – set on fire – heavy damage.
13. Temple at Aishmuqam – Idol damaged and temple ransacked.
14. Temple at Dhanbogund, Kulgam – set on fire – heavy damage.
15. Navgam temple, Shangas – Heavy stoning – heavy damage.
16. Achhabal temple near Navgam – Heavy stoning – heavy damage .
17. Temple in Lokbhavan village of Thana Qazigund –ransacked.
18. Second temple in Lokbhavan village of Thana Qazigund –ransacked.
19. Third temple in Lokbhavan village of Thana Qazigund –ransacked.
20. Forth temple in Lokbhavan village of Thana Qazigund –ransacked.
21. Harish Chandra Seva Mandir, Beejbehara – idols destroyed ransacked the temple.
22. Devi Mandir, village Karebal Beejbehara –Idols damaged and temple ransacked.
23. Shivalay Mandir, Janglat Mandi, Anantnag town –ransacked and heavy damage.
24. Temple of Dyalgam – ransacked and heavy damage.
25. Temple at Fatehpura village, Qazigund Tehsil – Temple was set
on fire – heavy damage.
26. Temple at village Siligam, Thana Aishmuqam – ransacked
PULWAMA

27. Shiv Mandir at village Koil, Thana Pulwama – arson and looting.

28. Temple at village Trisal, Thana Pulwama –destroyed Idols, stole microphone. Boundary wall broken.
BARAMULLAH 

29. Kali Mandir in Jamla Kadal Mohalla, Sopore –arson.

30. Fatapura temple, Sopore – stoning.

ANANTNAG 

31.Chandi Puiarl temple, Vyosu Thana Qazigund) – Arson and looting.

BADGAM

32. Sharda Devi temple, Yalkot (Thana Badgam) – arson and one part of the temple burned.

33.Shiv Temple, Sanghampura – (Thana Biru) – building damaged.
34. Shiv Mandir, Magam (Thana Vodura) – arson
BARAMULA

35. Temple in Bandipore – stoning and arson
36. Temple in Bandipore – arson

1988

SRINAGAR

1. Ram Mandir, Maharajganj, Shrinagar – arson and looting.

2. Shiv Mandir, Sarafkadal, Shrinagar – stoning and arson.

BARAMULLA

3. Shiv Mandir, Bandipur – arson and looting – Heavy damage.

4. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Barmulla – Bomb explosion in Mandir.
PULWAMA DISTRICT

5. Shiv temple, Shopian – Temple burned down and fully destroyed; heavy damage.

6 . Local tempIe in Tral – Arson and looting – Heavy damage.

ANANTNAG

7. Devi Mandir, Anantnag – arson and looting.

DODA

8. Basaknag mandir, Bhadrawah – arson and looting.

1989:

SRINAGAR

1. Shri Ram mandir’s Hall, Barbarshah Shrinagar – Bomb explosion.

2. Shiv Mandir Chota Bazar, Shrinagar, Mandir burned looted and fully damaged.
3. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Shrinagar – arson and looting.
4. Building of Ramkrishna Ashram, Chota Bazar, Shrinagar-arson
PULWAMA

5. Suchcha Nath Mandir, Shopian – arson looting and burning– heavy damage.

BADGAM

6. Shri Ram Mandir, Badgam – destroyed; idols looted – heavy damage.

7. Rama Mandir, Udhampur – heavy damage
DODA

8. Supernag Temple – Idols looted and temple burnt.

9. Siv Mandir Kiratwar – explosion on 2nd Nov. – minor damage.
10. Buichhal Mandir – explosion on 10th Nov. – heavy damage.
11. Temple in Kulharad village – arson burning and looting, heavy damage.
12 Temple in Bharat village – arson and looting – heavy damage.
1990:

SRINAGAR

1. Arya Samaj Mandir and School, Shrinagar – Bomb explosion on 10th Feb.

2. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Shrinagar – arson and looting.
3. Arya Samaj Mandir and School Wazir Bagh, Shrinagar –Bomb explosion on 21st July –
heavy damage.
4. Shri Ram Mandir, Babarshah Shrinagar – Conference Hall attacked with rocket on 2nd
Sept
5. Shitalnath Mandir, Shrinagar – arson and looting on 18th Nov. heavy damage.

ANANTNAG

6. Lakshmi Mandir, Bijbehara – arson and looting on 4th August – Heavy damage.

BARAMULLA

7. Sharda Mandir, Kalusa, 8andipur-arson and looting. Heavy damage.

KUPWARA

8. Handura Mandir – Idols destroyed and many Idols were taken away. Temple Precincts desecrated. Heavy loss and destruction.

1991:

ANANTNAG

1. Nagbal Mandir, Anantnag – Bomb Explosion .

2. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Anantnag – Bomb Explosion, – minor damage
3. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Anantnag – Grenade thrown
SRINAGAR 

4. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Shrinagar – arson and looting of seven houses of Hindus and two
temples.

5. Shri Raghunath Mandir, Shrinagar –arson and looting.
1992

1. Raghunath Mandir, Karafali Mohalla, Shrinagar – Stoning , Arson and looting.

2. Temple in Anantnag – Stoning , Arson and looting.
3. Temple in Shrinagar – Arson and looting.
4. Temple in Kulgam, Anantnag – Stoning , Arson and looting.
5. Shiv Mandir, Sherpore Kund – Stoning , Arson and looting.
6. Temple at Karichhama – Tang Marg, Baramulla – Stoning , Arson and looting.
7. Temple in Baramulla on Kungar Tang Road – Stoning , Arson and looting.
8. Shri Vishnu Temple, on the Bank of River Jhelum Stoning , Arson and looting.
9. Kuvi Utraso Temple Anantnag – Stoning , Arson and looting.
10. Temple of Chitergund, Anantnag – Stoning , Arson and looting.
11. Temple of Bana Mohalla, Shrinagar – Stoning , Arson and looting.
12. Karfali Mohalla, Shrinagar – Stoning , Arson and looting.
13. Samshan Bhoomi Temple, Karannagar, Srinagar – Stoning , Arson and looting.
14. Narsingh Bagh – Shadipur Temple, Ganderbal, Shrinagar – Stoning , Arson and looting.
15. Nandkishore Temple, Sumbal, Baramulla – Stoning , Arson and looting.
16.Temple of Pahalgam, Anantnag. Stoning , Arson and looting.
17. Temple, Verinag, Anantnag. Stoning , Arson and looting.
18. Second Temple Verinag, Anantnag. Arson and looting.
19.Third Temple, Verinag, Anantnag. Stoning , Arson and looting.
20. Fourth Temple, Verinag, Anantnag. Arson and looting.
21. Fifth Temple, Verinag, Anantnag Arson and looting.
22. Sixth Temple, Verinag, Anantnag. Arson and looting.
23. Temple in Tragaon, Kupwara – Arson and looting.
24. Temple in Pattan, Baramulla – Arson and looting

 

హిందుత్వంలోకి పునరాగమనం గురించి స్వామి వివేకానంద

హిందుత్వంలోకి పునరాగమనం గురించి – స్వామి వివేకానంద ;

(ప్రబుద్ధ భారతి ..ఏప్రిల్ 1899  లో ప్రచురించబడింది.)

ఎడిటర్ గారి కోరిక మేరకు “మతమార్పిడులు– హిందుత్వం ” అనే అంశం పై స్వామి వివేకానంద గారితో మాట్లాడే అవకాశం నాకు వచ్చింది.  గంగాతీరంలోని శ్రీ రామకృష్ణ మఠం దగ్గర ఒక గంగ హౌస్ బోట్ లో చీకటిపడుతున్నవేళ స్వామి నాతో మాట్లాడటానికి వచ్చారు.

ఈ సమావేశానికి సమయం, ప్రదేశం చాలా అద్భుతంగా కుదిరాయి. తలమీద ఆకాశంలో అంతులేని నక్షత్రాలు,చుట్టూరా చల్లని  గంగా ప్రవాహం, పక్కనే సన్నని వెలుగులతో శ్రీ రామకృష్ణ మఠం ఆశ్రమం, ఆ వెనుకే పొడవైన, దట్టమైన వృక్షాలు.

“నేను మిమ్మల్ని కలుసుకోవాలని వచ్చాను స్వామీ”   ముందుగా నేనే సంభాషణ మొదలుపెట్టాను.

“హిందుత్వం నుండి దూరమైనవారు తిరిగి మరల దీనిలో ప్రవేశించాలనుకోవడం గురించి మిమ్మల్ని అడగలనుకుంటున్నాను.””మీ అభిప్రాయంలో వారిని తిరిగి తీసుకోవచ్చంటారా?”

“తప్పకుండా!” అన్నారు స్వామి.”తీసుకోవచ్చు, తీసుకోవాలి కూడా!”

ఆయన దీర్ఘంగా  శ్వాస తీసుకొని వెనక్కివాలి ఒక్క క్షణం విరామం తీసుకున్నారు.

“అయితే” అంటూ మళ్ళీఇలా  అన్నారు.

“అలా తీసుకోకపోతే మన సంఖ్య ఇంకా తగ్గిపోతుంది.” మహమ్మదీయులు ఈ దేశానికి వచ్చినపుడు, ఒక వృద్ధ మహ్మదీయ చరిత్రకారుడు” ఫరిష్తా ”  అప్పటికి ఆరువందల మిలియన్ల హిందువులు ఉన్నట్లుగా చెప్పాడు” .” ప్రస్తుతం మనం రెండువందల మిలియన్లు మాత్రమే ఉన్నాము. అంతేకాక, హిందుత్వంలో నుండి బయటకు వెడుతున్న ప్రతి వ్యక్తీ, ఒక మనిషిగా లెక్కకంటే ఒక శత్రువుగా మారడం విచారకరం.”

        “అయితే అది అప్పుడు అధికారబలం తో ఉన్నవారు కత్తులు చూపించి బెదిరించడం వల్ల ఇస్లాంలోకి, క్రైస్తవం లోకి వెళ్లిన వారు, వారి వారసులు సంగతి. ఇది నిజానికి వారి పట్ల చాలా అన్యాయమైన  విషయం. అయితే ఇలా సమూహాలుగా  ఎక్కువమందిని మతం మార్చడం ఇప్పటికీ ఎందుకు జరుగుతోందంటారు?”

          “నా అభిప్రాయంలో ఈ వివరణ భారత దేశానికీ అవతల ఉన్న జాతులకే కాదు, ఇంకా ఇతర  తెగల వారికీ వర్తిస్తుంది. ఇది మనపై దండెత్తి వచ్చిన అనేక రకాల జాతులవారి విషయంలో జరిగింది. మహమ్మదీయ దురాక్రమణల ముందు కూడా ఇలాంటి సంఘటనలు ఉన్నాయి.  అయితే స్వచ్ఛందంగా మారినవారిని ఏమి చేయలేము కానీ, కేవలం దురాక్రమణ ద్వారా బలవంతంగా మతం మార్చబడిన కాశ్మీర్, నేపాల్ వంటి ప్రాంతాలలో ప్రజలు,  ఇంకా ఇతర వ్యక్తుల విషయంలో ఏ విధమైన ప్రాయశ్చిత్తాలు లేకుండానే వారిని తిరిగి స్వీకరించాలి.”

               నా తరువాతి ప్రశ్న సిద్ధంగా ఉంది. “అయితే మరి వీరందరినీ ఏ కులానికి చెందినవారిగా భావించాలి స్వామీ.”  “వీరిలో చాలామంది లేదా కొంత మంది ఈ అతి పెద్ద హిందూ సమూహాల ద్వారా ఆదరింపబడకపోవచ్చు.  అలాంటి సందర్భాలలో మరి వీరికి సరైన స్థానం ఏదని మీరు అంటారు?”

                  “తిరిగి వచ్చిన వ్యక్తులు తిరిగి వారి వారి పాత ధర్మాలకే చెందుతారు. మరల వీరిలో ఎవరైనా కొత్తవారు ఉంటే వారు వారికి ఇష్టమైన కులాన్ని అవలంబించవచ్చు. ” “నీకు గుర్తుందా! ఇది భారతీయ సనాతన వైష్ణవ సంప్రదాయంలో ఎప్పటినుండో ఉన్నది. వివిధ జాతులు,వర్గాల నుండి హిందుత్వంలోకి మారిన వారందరినీ  ఏకత్రితమ్ చేసి ఒకే ధ్వజం క్రిందకు తీసుకు రావడం జరిగింది. ఇది చాలా గౌరవప్రదమైన విధానం కూడా .” సనాతన రామానుజాచార్యులవారి నుండి బెంగాల్ కి చెందిన ఆధునిక యోగి చైతన్యప్రభువు వరకు ఉన్న వైష్ణవ గురువులందరూ ఈ సంప్రదాయాన్నేఅనుసరించారు.  “

” మరి ఇలా వచ్చిన వారి వివాహాలు ఎక్కడ, ఎలా జరగాలంటారు?”

“వారిలో వారు చేసుకుంటారు.ఇప్పుడలాగే జరుగుతున్నది కదా!”ప్రశాంతంగా సమాధానం ఇచ్చారు స్వామి.

“మరి ఐతే వారి  పేర్లు ఎలా ఉండాలి?” “ఇతర జాతులు, మతాల నుండి మారిన ఈ హిందువులు కాని వార్ల పేర్లను మార్చి కొత్త పేర్లు ఇవ్వాలి కదా! మరి వారికి కులాల వారీగా పేర్లను ఇస్తారా లేదా మరేమైనా చేస్తారా!”

“తప్పకుండా”, అన్నారు స్వామి. “పేరులో చాలా విశేషతలు ఉన్నాయి. కనుక మార్చక తప్పదు” అన్నారు సాలోచనగా.

ఇక ఈ విషయంపై ఆయన సంభాషణ పొడిగించలేదు.

నా తరువాత ప్రశ్న మళ్ళీ వచ్చింది.”ఇలా వచ్చిన కొత్త వాళ్ళని మీరు హిందుత్వంలోని అనేక రకాలైన ఆరాధనా విధానాల్లో ఏ విధానాన్నైనా అనుసరించవచ్చని వదిలేస్తారా లేదా మీరే వారికి ప్రత్యేకమైన విధానం ఏదైనా సూచిస్తారా?”

“అసలు ఈ ప్రశ్న ఎలా అడిగావు నువ్వు ?”అన్నారు స్వామి.”వారు స్వయంగా వారి విధానాలను నిర్ణయించుకుంటారు.అలా కానప్పుడు అసలు హిందుత్వ భావనే దెబ్బతింటుంది.అసలు మన ప్రాచీన హిందూ ధర్మం యొక్క సారాంశమే అది.దీని ప్రకారం ప్రతి వ్యక్తీ తనకు ఇష్టమైన విధానంలోనే ధర్మాచరణ చేస్తారు.”

నాకు ఈ చర్చ చాలా ప్రభావవంతమైనదని అన్పించింది.నా ముందు కూర్చున్న ఈ వ్యక్తి అనేక సంవత్సరాలుగా ఈ దేశంలోని ప్రజల మధ్య గడుపుతూ హిందుత్వంలోని మూలమైన ధర్మాలను అర్థం  చేస్కుని ఆచరిస్తున్నారు. ఇందులోని సాధారణ నియమాలను, విధానాలను శాస్త్రీయంగా,సానుకూల దృక్పధంతో విశ్లేషించి ప్రజలకు  వివరిస్తున్నారు.

స్వామి చెప్పిన ‘ఇష్టమైన విధానాలను అనుసరించే స్వేఛ్చ” అనే భావన ప్రపంచమంతటినీ తనలో ఇముడ్చుకోగల విశిష్టమైన సంస్కారం. అదే ఈ సనాతన ధర్మం  యొక్క గొప్పదనం.

తరువాత మా సంభాషణ ఇంకా చాలా విషయాలపై సాగింది.చివరగా ఈ అద్భుతమైన స్వధర్మ ప్రభోధకుడు నాకు శుభరాత్రి చెప్పి తన చేతిలోని లాంతరుతో ప్రశాంతంగా మళ్ళీ ఆశ్రమం లోకి వెళ్లిపోయారు. నేను గంగా నదిలో ప్రయాణిస్తూ అందమైన అలలతో ఆమె గీస్తున్న చిత్రాలను ఆస్వాదిస్తూ తిరిగి కలకత్తాకు చేరుకున్నాను.

English Original

Mohanji Bhagwat of RSS calls for ordnance for Ram Mandir at Ayodhya

” The Supreme Court has said that dealing with the Ram Mandir issue at Ayodhya is not their priority, (inspite of crores of Hindus having stake in it) . Therefore, we have no other option but to build a people’s movement by which people will put pressure on the government to pass a law. It is for the government to see what needs to be done to build the temple.

Those who want the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya must ensure that this the last leg of this long movement for the temple. We will need to go in batches to construct the temple and hence we must not rest till that dream is fulfilled. ” translated from RSS Sarsanghchalak’s speech at VHP Hunkar Rally in Nagpur on 25th November 2018.

How Nehru Treated Sardar Patel’s Daughter, Maniben

This anecdote is from Verghese Kurien’s memoirs ” I Too Had a Dream” .

Maniben Patel, Sardar Patel’s daughter, was a woman of tremendous honesty and loyalty. She told me that when Sardar Patel passed way, she picked up a book and a bag that belonged to him and went to meet Jawaharlal Nehru in Delhi.She handed them to Nehru, telling him that her father had instructed her that when she died she should give these items to Nehru and no one else. The bag contained Rs 35 Lakh that belonged to the Congress Party and the book was the party’s book of accounts. Nehru took them and thanked her. Maniben waited expectantly, hoping he would say something more,but he did not, so she got up and left.

I asked her what she had expected Nehru to say to her. ‘I thought he might ask me how I would manage now, or atleast ask if there was anything he could do to help me. But he never asked.’ she explained. She was extremely disheartened and in a way the incident revealed the strain in the Nehru- Sardar Patel relationship It was quite distressing to see that neither Nehru nor any of the other national leaders of the Congress ever bothered to find out what happened to Maniben after her father died.”

“After all the sacrifices that Sardar Patel made for the nation, it was very sad that the nation did nothing for his daughter.In her later years,when her eyesight weakened,she would walk unaided down the streets of Ahmedabad, often stumble and fall until some passerby helped her up.When she was dying, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Chimanbhai Patel ,came to her bedside with a photographer. He stood behind her bed and instructed him to take a picture.The photograph was published in  all the newspapers the next day. With a little effort, they could so easily have made her last years  comfortable”

Ed Note : Compare the above with the efforts that Nehru took for his daughter Indira.