Category Archives: Nation

Kashmir. Perpetually in the news, for the wrong reasons.

by Ira Pande
‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’. I have heard this line parroted by leaders of all political hues. It has always sounded like an arbitrary statement designed to rebuff Pakistan, and to reaffirm India’s military might over a coveted geographical area.
Recently I came across facts that have changed my perspective on Kashmir totally. Facts that have astounded me. But more than that baffled me, for they reveal glaring lacunae in the history we have been led to believe so far.
Understandable that the British established a syllabus for us that was designed to obliterate our glories and inculcate shame in us for all things Indian. But, 70 years past independence, we are guilty of still toeing their line. Why?????
The facts I speak of are proof that Kashmir is the fountainhead from which flows our culture, in fact everything that defines our identity as Indians.
Due to my education in an elite school, i had considered myself reasonably well  informed. Yet, i had no clue at all about the significance of Kashmir vis a vis Indian history and that it was home to Panini, whose Ashtadhyayi is considered the most scientific and flawless treatise on grammar in the world.
Patanjali, who gifted to humanity his Yog Sutra..
Sharangdev, considered the father of both Hindustani and Carnatic music.
Acharya Abhinav Gupt, one of the greatest scholars of all times, who wrote 46 literary classics, including the renowned Abhinav Bharti. His principles of ras are being taught in 80 universities around the world.
Kashmir was considered the abode of Saraswati, the highest seat of learning in India, and was also referred to as Sharda Peeth. So much so that when students graduated from Kashi, they took 4 symbolic steps towards Kashmir, denoting their aspiration for higher learning.
Almost the entire body of Sanskrit literature has its origins in Kashmir.
Rajtarangini, an authoritative historical tome on the royal lineage of Kashmir, written by Kalhana in the 12th century, outlines the greatness of King Lalitaditya, possibly the most powerful Indian Emperor of all times, whose kingdom in the 8th century extended from the Caspian Sea in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south, and included Assam in the east.
How many Indians have even heard his name???
How many of us know that Srinagar was established by Ashoka ?
That Mahayana Buddhism was spread across Mid Asia, China and Japan by Kashmiri monks?
Who are these educationists who are deliberately withholding such vital slices of history from our text books?
How will the present as well as future generations realize that Kashmir is the keystone of our heritage through millenia, finding mention even in our oldest scriptures?
It is not a piece of land. It is the abode of the soul of India.
“Kashmir is an integral part of India” now  has a new meaning for me. It is no longer a statement, but an impassioned avowal!

RSS Swayamsevak Helped De-Tangle 80 Ft Congress Tricolour Flag ..But then …

During the flag-raising ceremony at the Congress Faizpur session of 1937 , the Congress tricolor was stuck midway on a mast eighty feet high.

Many tried unsuccessfully to de-tangle the flag, after which a representative Sri Kishan Singh Pardesi courageously climbed up the mast-pole and freed the fabric.  Loud cheers rang out for as the flag fluttered atop the mast.  The Congress session also accepted a proposal to felicitate Pardesi.  But no sooner had he revealed that he had mustered courage because of the nationalist spirit of the RSS, the Congressmen developed cold feet.  How could they felicitate any Swayamsevak of the Sangh ? The Congress’ discriminatory attitude against Hindutva-oriented organizations came to the fore.

Dr. Hedgewar’s joy knew no bounds when he heard about this contribution of a swayamsevak.  He departed from the Sangh’s tradition of eschewing publicity and called Kishan Singh Pardesi to the Devpur Shakha, and publicly felicitated him.  Presenting a small goblet of Chanda as a token to him, Dr. Hedgewar said,

“It is a swayamsevak’s natural duty to stake his very life if necessary, to remove any obstacle to the nation’s work.  This is our national dharma”.

While on one hand Dr Hedgewar driven by the spirit of anti-imperialism demonstrated his affection towards the Congress, the latter harboured hatred for the Sangh.  Dr. Kakasaheb Tembhe, a Congressman who sympathized with the Sangh, was perturbed by this.  He wrote to Hedgewar, requesting the latter to criticize the Congress’ style of functioning and ideological orientation.  Tembhe believed that this would pacify the growing discontent among the Sangh’s swayamsevaks.

Dr.Hedgewar Dr. Hedgewar’s reply to Tembhe reveals not only his own evaluation of the Congress organization, but also his philosophical side.  Hedgewar did not wish to allow any disaffection towards the Congress in the minds of swayamsevaks.  To him, there were only two options.  The RSS would have to rapidly enhance its own strength as to be able to evict the British from India through a revolution; else, the anti-imperialist struggle would have to continue under the aegis of the Congress.  Hedgewar did not wish to create multiple centres of the anti-imperialist struggle.  It was this line of reasoning that prompted him to reply to Tembhe thus,

“Each individual in this world behaves and talks according to this nature.  It is not mandatory to regard him as representing any party or ideology.  In my opinion, it is erroneous to praise or condemn any party or its ideology owing to the utterances of any member who is supposed to represent it.  A true gentleman of lofty character belonging to any political party does not wish ill of any other party”.

Source : “Builders of Modern India” – Dr.Keshav Baliram Hedgewar by Publications Division;

DNA study junks Aryan invasion theory 


Harappan site of Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory

The Aryan invasion theory holds forth that a set of migrants came from Central Asia armed with superior knowledge and arms and invaded the existing settlements to establish a more sophisticated civilisation in India and pushed the original inhabitants down south.

The much-awaited DNA study of the skeletal remains found at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, Haryana, shows no Central Asian trace, indicating the Aryan invasion theory was flawed and Vedic evolution was through indigenous people.

The lead researchers of this soon-to be published study — Vasant Shinde and Neeraj Rai — told ET that this establishes the knowledge ecosystem in the Vedic era was guided by “fully indigenous” people with limited “external contact”.

“The Rakhigarhi human DNA clearly shows a predominant local element — the mitochondrial DNA is very strong in it. There is some minor foreign element which shows some mixing up with a foreign population, but the DNA is clearly local,” Shinde told ET. He went on to add: “This indicates quite clearly, through archeological data, that the Vedic era that followed was a fully indigenous period with some external contact.”
According to Shinde’s findings, the manner of burial is quite similar to the early Vedic period, also known as the Rigvedic Era. The pottery, the brick type used for construction and the general ‘good health’ of the people ascertained through the skeletal remains in Rakhigarhi, he said, pointed to a well-developed knowledge system that evolved further into the Vedic era. The study has, in fact, noted that some burial rituals observed in the Rakhigarhi necropolis prevail even now in some communities, showing a remarkable continuity over thousands of years.

Shinde, who is the vice-chancellor of the Deccan College, Pune, was the lead archaeologist in the study while Rai, who is the head of the ancient DNA laboratory at Lucknow’s Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, did the DNA study.


According to Rai, the evidence points to a predominantly indigenous culture that voluntarily spread across other areas, not displaced or overrun by an Aryan invasion. “The condition of the human skeletons, the burial…all show absence of palaeo-pathology symptoms which could indicate ailments due to lack of medical care. The persons here were healthy; denture morphology showed teeth free of any infection; bones are healthy, as is the cranium,” Rai told ET.

He also discounted the notion of any violent conflict. “There are no cuts and marks which would be associated with a population subjected to warfare. All this indicates that the people were receiving well-developed healthcare and had full-fledged knowledge systems.” The excavations in Rigvedic phase, he said, corroborate this. “This points to greater continuity rather than to a new Aryan race descending and bringing superiorknowledge systems to the region,” Rai said.

The Rakhigarhi study, he said, while showing absence of any Central Asian/Steppe element in the genetic make-up of the Harappan people, does indicate minor traces of Iranian strains which may point to contact, not invasion.

The Aryan invasion theory holds forth that a set of migrants came from Central Asia armed with superior knowledge and arms and invaded the existing settlements to establish a more sophisticated civilisation in India and pushed the original inhabitants down south. Rakhigarhi is one of the biggest Harappan civilisation sites spread across 300 hectares in Hisar, Haryana. It’s estimated to be 6,000 years old and was part of the mature phase of the Harappan period.

Rai disclosed that 148 independent skeletal elements from Rakhigarhi were screened for the presence of DNA molecules at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. Of the 148 skeletal remains, only two samples yielded any relevant DNA material.

Meanwhile, hectic last-minute efforts are on to get additional genetic details of the DNA material. One of the DNA samples recently faced contamination in a Seoul laboratory and efforts are on to segregate it. Samples were sent to laboratories in Seoul and Harvard for establishing accuracy. The contamination, Rai said, is unlikely to have any major bearing on the study’s primary findings.


Read More on BBC and the Aryan Invasion Myth






Debate on Pranab Mukherjee in RSS Program Reveals A Lot

There has been unseemly outrage amongst certain sections of the political class on former president Pranab Mukherjee’s acceptance of an invitation as chief guest for the concluding ceremony of the RSS’s Tritiya Varsh Training programme. Mukherjee is a mature and experienced politician who has spent decades in public life. He has well-evolved ideas on matters that are of social and national significance. The invitation has been extended to him with the view that this will be an invaluable opportunity to listen to his views. Also, he will have the opportunity to listen to the views of the Sangh and have a firsthand experience of Sangh as well. This exchange of views and ideas is intrinsic to the Bharatiya concept of dialogue, this invitation and its acceptance is but a continuation of that democratic tradition, enshrined in our cultural ethos.

So why then the dissonance and negative commentary? Why the opposition to this exchange?

The resistance has surprised many, but if we were to delve into the ideological basis of this opposition it would be unsurprising. Bharat’s intellectual spectrum’s most vocal voices are those of, an ideology that is entirely alien to India and has been rejected the world over, for its high level of intolerance and violent means to achieve conformity, that is ‘Communism’. Their idea of “thought conformity” necessitates this approach that not only rejects healthy exchange among diverse stakeholders but protests it.

There is a lazy assumption that if you are not of a so-called leftist persuasion, then by default you are a “right winger” – their view of the ideological world exists in strict binaries, and as a result, you become someone who should be criticised, publicly shamed and protested against. This is the communist tradition, verifiable with human experience or rather oppression the world over. And yet despite repeated displays of intolerance, they adorn the mantle of human rights and free speech advocates.

A few years ago at the same program, an invitation was extended to renowned social activist and Magsaysay Award winner Abhay Bang. At that time as well eminent socialists with all kinds of ‘left leanings’ in Maharashtra were up in arms against his decision to accept the invitation. Their pressure politics to discourage engagement led to opinion pieces and articles in their Marathi weekly Sadhana. Bang responded to the pressure by stating that he was going to present his views at the function, so why the opposition? In fact, he went on to praise the open-mindedness of the RSS, who had invited him as an honoured guest despite knowing his views; in fact, it was the ‘leftists’ who were exhibiting their intolerance despite all their claims to the contrary in rhetoric. He remained firm in his decision to participate in the function and furthermore submitted the text of his speech to Sadhana for publication. However, the magazine that claimed to be the vanguard of free speech refused to publish his speech, despite the fact that he had been a past contributor.

In 2010, I met with Keshavan Nair, a CPM Trade Union leader from Kollam in Kerala. He had been expelled from the communist party for writing two articles in a local paper on “Science in the Vedas”. Singed by this hypocrisy, Nair decided to write extensively on Communists and even published a book – Beyond Red (which he gifted to me).

On the blurb of the book, he is quoted from the book that “The only freedom communists give you is to praise them”!

During one of my visits to Kolkata as Prachar Pramukh (Media Relations In Charge), whilst CPM was in power there, the local unit of RSS made an attempt to schedule appointments with the editors do Statesman, Indian Express, Times of India, Vartaman and a communist leaning newspaper. All granted time for the meeting but the Communist newspaper. The editor of the Left-leaning newspaper declined to give appointment saying he doesn’t want to waste his time. This is their democratic nature and commitment to free expression. The meetings were a success. We had no expectation that those who met with us would agree on every issue with the Sangh, but all were open to understanding and engaging with the RSS’s views. About the undemocratic attitude of the newspaper that declined appointment, I told our local karyakarta that whenever I shall come to Kolkata try to get an appointment with him.

A couple of years ago Dattatreya Hosabale and I were invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival to put forth the views of RSS about different social and national issues in an interactive open session with a journalist. We decided to accept the invitation and attend. At JLF as well there was opposition by Leftist forces.

Individuals like Sitaram Yechury and MA Baby boycotted the festival just because the RSS had been given a platform to air its views despite the fact that Sangh is increasingly finding acceptance, engagement and support from the society all over Bharat. Their elitist definition of free expression excludes even an attempt to understand such an organisation. But what is the motivation for such protest? Is it their fear that should the RSS be given an opportunity to reach out to a larger audience, the veil of misunderstanding, created by spreading canards will be lifted and the lies exposed. People will know the truth and that is the biggest fear of all.

The communist ideology and such fascist opposition to free speech are entirely against Bharatiya thought.

There is, however, another example that is in contrast to the ones elucidated so far. A few years ago a delegation from the Communist Party of China (CPC), visited India. They were interested in meeting with the Sangh and were invited at Keshav Kunj, the Delhi headquarter of RSS. I happened to be in New Delhi and received the delegation; they also gifted me a memento depicting the Great Wall of China. I was curious about their interest in the RSS. CPC being a political party, it was obvious that they meet leaders of different political parties here. But why meet the Sangh?

They answered that query by saying that they were a cadre-based political party and the Sangh was a cadre-based organisation, this had motivated them to reach out for an exchange of ideas.

To which I responded and underscored a distinction, “It is true but there is a basic difference between us. CPC is a political party that works for a state-power and through a state-power whereas we, the RSS on the contrary work through or for a state power. We work directly amongst the society with the support of the people.” Despite this articulated difference, we had a gracious meeting. We did not refuse to meet with them since having an exchange of views and ideas is the Bharatiya approach.

The intellectual world of Bharat is dominated by the people with some sort of ‘communist’ colour. And either because of the lack of original intellectual thinkers in Congress and other political parties based on individual/ family, territory or caste identity, or they have outsourced their ‘intellectual space’ to people with communist or left background. Though they talk of liberalism, democracy and freedom of expression, they invariably are seen exhibiting the communist ideological intolerance, intellectual untouchability and exclusion.

Pranab da’s decision to attend the RSS function has yet again revealed their hypocrisy.

The fourth Sarsanghchalak – Rajju Bhaiya had a deep friendship with a senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh. Once when he was visiting Prayag, the Congress politician was invited for an interaction over tea along with the prominent citizens of the city. However, the politician regretfully declined, stating that whilst he wanted to attend, his presence would lead to unnecessary and unpleasant chatter amongst his colleagues in the party.

Rajju Bhaiya was startled by this reticence and asked his friend if they would indeed make him the point of discussion. To which the politician responded dolefully that his friend from the RSS had no idea of how politics worked. Rajju Bhaiya informed him that in the Sangh it was very different. Were the two seen in each other’s company by swayamsevaks, they would not doubt his intentions at all; in fact, they would assume that he must be explaining Sangh to his friend. How can the Congressmen do not trust such a tall leader of their own?

History repeats itself all these years later when a towering and experienced leader who is also the former President of this nation is being questioned by junior leaders from his party, some who regretfully possess shady reputations and not even half of his experience.

How is it that not one swayamsevak has questioned why the former president and Congress stalwart has been invited? This is the difference between the thought process of the RSS and those who claim to be vanguards of free expression.

It is Bharatiya tradition to exchange ideas with a diverse set of people. To reject and protest such an exchange is non-Bharatiya and an assault on our democratic traditions, as a culture and the largest democracy in the world.

However, this debate over Pranab da’s presence at the Tritiya Varsha concluding ceremony in Nagpur has revealed the true face of these so-called proponents of free speech.

Furthermore, Pranab da has resisted these attempts to publicly shame him and has been statesmanlike in his response, stating that he will answer with his speech in Nagpur, emphasising thus, that his decision to attend is unwavering. We welcome his decision and his true spirit of democracy.

–  Dr.Manmohan Vaidya – Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sarkaryavah

संघ कार्य सर्व सर्वस्पर्शी

प्रणवदा संघ मुख्यालय में

आजकल भारत के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति डॉ. प्रणव मुखर्जी जी की मीडिया और सोशल मीडिया में चर्चा हैं. वे चर्चा मेंलिए हैं क्योंकि वे राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के निमत्रण पर 7 जून को संघ मुख्यालय नागपुर जा रहे हैं. वहां वे संघ के तृतीय वर्ष के समापन समारोह के मुख्य अतिथि होंगे और स्वयंसेवकों को संबोधित करेंगे. इस समारोह में संघ के सरसंघचालक डॉ. मोहनराव भागवत मुख्य वक्ता होंगे. नागपुर में हर वर्ष 25 दिन का तृतीय वर्ष का वर्ग होता है जिसमें देश भर से कार्यकर्ता संघ कार्य का प्रशिक्षण लेने के लिए आते हैं. इस वर्ष भी यह वर्ग 14 मई को आरम्भ हुआ था और 7 जून को इसका समापन होगा. इसमें देश के सभी प्रान्तों से 709 स्वयंसेवक प्रशिक्षण ले रहे हैं.
जो लोग संघ को जानते और समझते हैं उनके लिए न तो यह आश्चर्यजनक घटना है और न ही नई बात है. उनके लिए यह सामान्य बात है. क्योंकि संघ अपने कार्यक्रमों में समाज सेवा में सक्रिय और प्रमुख लोगों को अतिथि के रूप में बुलाता रहा है. इस बार संघ ने डॉ. प्रणव मुखर्जी जी को निमंत्रण दिया और यह उनकी महानता है कि उन्होंने उसे स्वीकार किया.
1934 में तो पूज्य महात्मा गांधी जी स्वयं वर्धा में संघ के शिविर में आये थे. अगले दिन संघ संस्थापक डॉ. हेडगेवार उनसे भेंट करने उनकी कुटिया में गए थे और उनकी संघ पर विस्तृत चर्चा हुई थी. इसका उल्लेख गांधी जी ने 16 सितम्बर 1947 की सुबह दिल्ली में संघ के स्वयंसेवकों को संबोधित करते हुए किया है. उसमें उन्होंने संघ के अनुसाशन, सादगी और समरसता की प्रशंसा की थी. गांधी जी कहते हैं, ”बरसों पहले मैं वर्धा में राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के एक शिविर में गया था। उस समय इसके संस्थापक श्री हेडगेवार जीवित थे। स्व. श्री जमनालाल बजाज मुझे शिविर में ले गये थे और वहां मैं उन लोगों का कड़ा अनुशासन, सादगी और छुआछूत की पूर्ण समाप्ति देखकर अत्यन्त प्रभावित हुआ था.’’ आगे वे कहते हैं, ”संघ एक सुसंगठित, अनुशासित संस्था है।” यह उल्लेख ‘सम्पूर्ण गांधी वांग्मय’ खण्ड 89, पृष्ठ सं. 215-217 में है.
संघ 1930 के दशक से ही समाज जीवन में सक्रिय लोगों को अपने कार्यक्रमों में बुलाता रहा है और ऐसे लोग समय-समय पर संघ के कार्यक्रमों में आये भी हैं. भारत के पूर्व उपराष्ट्रपति डॉ. जाकिर हुसैन, बाबु जयप्रकाश नारायण भी संघ के आमंत्रण पर आये हैं और उन्होंने संघ की प्रशंसा की है. जनरल करियप्पा 1959 में मंगलोर की संघ शाखा के कार्यक्रम में आये थे। वहां उन्होंने कहा “संघ कार्य मुझे अपने ह्रदय से प्रिय कार्यों में से है। अगर कोई मुस्लिम इस्लाम की प्रशंसा कर सकता है, तो संघ के हिंदुत्व का अभिमान रखने में गलत क्या है? प्रिय युवा मित्रो, आप किसी भी गलत प्रचार से हतोत्साहित न होते हुए कार्य करो। डॉ. हेडगेवार ने आप के सामने एक स्वार्थरहित कार्य का पवित्र आदर्श रखा है। उसी पर आगे बढ़ो। भारत को आज आप जैसे सेवाभावी कार्यकर्ताओं की ही आवश्यकता है”।
1962 में भारत पर चीन के आक्रमण के समय संघ के स्वयंसेवकों की सेवा से प्रभावित होकर ही 1963 की गणतंत्र दिवस की परेड में प्रधानमंत्री पं. जवाहरलाल नेहरू जी ने संघ को आमंत्रित किया था और 3 हजार स्वयंसेवकों ने पूर्ण गणवेश में भाग लिया था. संघ की ‘राष्ट्र प्रथम’ भावना के कारण ही 1965 के भारत-पाकिस्तान युद्ध के समय तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री श्री लालबहादुर शास्त्री जी ने संघ के सरसंघचालक ‘श्री गुरूजी’ को सर्वदलीय बैठक में आमंत्रित किया था और वे गए भी थे.
1963 में स्वामी विवेकानंद जन्मशती के अवसर पर कन्याकुमारी में ‘विवेकानंद शिला स्मारक’ निर्माण के समय भी संघ को सभी राजनैतिक दलों और समाज के सभी वर्गों का सहयोग मिला था. स्मारक निर्माण के समर्थन में विभिन्न राजनैतिक दलों के 300 सांसदों के हस्ताक्षर श्री एकनाथ रानडे जी ने प्राप्त किये थे.
1977 में आँध्रप्रदेश में आये चक्रवात के समय स्वयंसेवकों के सेवा कार्य देखकर वहां के सर्वोदयी नेता श्री प्रभाकर राव ने तो संघ को नया नाम ही दे दिया. उनके अनुसार, “R.S.S. means Ready for Selfless Sarvice.”
संघ भेदभावमुक्त, समतायुक्त समाज के निर्माण के लिए गत 92 वर्षों से कार्य कर रहा है. ऐसे समाज निर्माण में संघ को सफलता भी मिल रही है. इस विचार और कार्य से जो लोग सहमत हैं वे संघ के कार्यक्रमों में आते भी हैं और सहयोग भी करते हैं.
– नरेंद्र कुमार
Telugu Translation Link