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’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;
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.
MINOR TRACES OF IRANIAN STRAINS
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.
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.