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Raghupati Raghav Rajaram – The Original Lyrics

The original lyrics of Raghupati Raghava Rajaaram are attributed to Sri Lakshamanacharya ; This Ram Dhun was later edited and popularised by Sri M.K.Gandhi; This was widely attributed to his attempts to bring about reconciliation but it is anybody’s guess how many Muslims would have actually sung this. Compare this with the confusion that it brought about in the minds of Hindus.

Raghupati Raghav

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Vanchinathan – Remembering the Great Hero on His 106th Death Anniversary

 Vanchinathan Iyer, popularly remembered as Vanchi, was a fearless freedom fighter, who participated in Bharat’s independence movement and gave up his life as a symbol of the uprising of Swatantra Bharat against the British and the atrocities committed by them in the name of governance. At the age of 25, he assassinated Robert Ashe and embraced brave death.

Hailing from Tamil Nadu, he was born to parents Raghupathy Iyer and Rukmani Ammal in Shenkottai (then part of the Travancore Kingdom) as Shankaran Iyer in the year 1886. He completed his schooling and higher education in Shenkottai .

Vanchi is notable as being one among the first and prominent Tamils who took part in the struggle for freedom and in some instances initiated the fight against the British Raj.

While working in Travancore, he came under the influence of many nationalists like V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, Neelakanta Brahmachari, Subramaniya Siva and Subramaniya Bharathi. They were his mentors and together they belonged to the Bharatha Matha Assocation (1900).

Robert William Ashe was the collector and district magistrate of Tirunelvelli district in year 1911. He was engaged in activities that were largely favourable to the ruling British class , ignoring and ensuring that the interests of the locals are never addressed nor issues pertaining to them redressed. He is also accused of propagating missionary activities of forcible conversion. Ashe was also instrumental in working against V. O. Chidambaram Pillai’s shipping company (established as the first indigenous Bharatiya shipping company between Tuticorin and Colombo) which led to its liquidation, and later in Pillai’s arrest.

On 17th June 1911, the Maniyachi Mail left Tirunulvelli Junction for Maniyachi with Ashe and his wife Mary Lillian Patterson aboard. They were on their way to Kodaikanal with their four children. At 10:38 AM the train pulled in at Maniyachi. The Ceylon Boat Mail was due to arrive at 10:48 AM. As the Ashes sat facing each other in the first class carriage, waiting for the Boat Mail to arrive, a neatly dressed man with tufted hair boarded the carriage and pulled out a Belgian made Browning pistol and shot Ashe at point blank range in the chest. The bullet hit Ashe and he immediately collapsed. Vanchi ran along the platform and took cover. After some time he was found dead having pulled the trigger in his mouth. The pistol was found to be empty, indicating his intention to shoot only Ashe and himself and nobody else, not even Ashe’s wife.

A letter with the below words was recovered from his pocket,

The mlechas of England having captured our country, tread over the sanathana dharma of the Hindus and destroy them. Every Indian is trying to drive out the English and get swarajyam and restore sanathana dharma. Our Raman, Sivaji, Krishnan, Guru Govindan, Arjuna ruled our land protecting all dharmas and in this land they are making arrangements to crown George V, a mlecha, and one who eats the flesh of cows. Three thousand Madrasees have taken a vow to kill George V as soon as he lands in our country. In order to make others know our intention, I who am the least in the company, have done this deed this day. This is what everyone in Hindustan should consider it as his duty.    –

                                                                          sd/-, R. Vanchi Aiyar, Shencottah

 The letter clearly indicates the motive behind the assassination was the removal of English mlechas (who eat the flesh of cow) who were destroying Sanatana Dharma. This clearly goes parallel with the common statement, “Poisonous weeds have to be removed at the earliest or else they could prove to be fatal.”

This brave and selfless act of Vanchi acted as the much needed adrenaline rush for Bharat’s independence movement. The assassination and contents of the letter caused great apprehension and unrest.

Ashe was the first and only colonial British officer to be assassinated in Dakshin Bharat throughout the freedom movement. The British were left shocked and rattled by this incident.

The Maniyachi Railway station was later renamed as Vanchi Maniyachi station. But it is greatly sad and shameful that this is the best act of secular government of Bharat to recognize the brave act of Vanchi and that this is the highest honour given to his bravery. And it is immensely angering that even this little gesture has become a thorn in the flesh of Dravidians and evangelists. It is unfortunately being used as a catalyst by #BreakingIndia forces to fulfil their agenda by demoralizing and demeaning Bharat’s history and belittling the valour of our brave heroes.

One such dangerous trend started by them is to brand nationalists from upper castes as casteists forgetting their contributions and sacrifices – this can be equated to the insult of our army jawans fighting to safeguard our borders. Falsified stores are being spread to tarnish the image of these brave warriors. One such illogical story is currently being floated around by the Periyar followers of Tamil Nadu where Ashe is eulogized as the champion of downtrodden people.

According to this fantastic spin, Ashe apparently angered Vanchinathan by taking a poor woman in labour pains to hospital via driving through agraharam. Yes, agraharam, the area around the temple where Brahmins live. Since Vanchi supposedly had so much hatred towards the lower castes, this is the reason for him assassinating Ashe.

Now this story is not only ridiculous but also completely devoid of any sense and logic. Ashe was a tax collector for the district of Tirunelvelli in the Madras Presidency, which was under British rule. Shenkottai was in Travancore state (a sovereign state). It can be clearly seen that Ashe had no business whatsoever to be in Travancore. Even if for argument’s sake we accept this falsified theory, geographical location and the city’s plan do not support this theory. In Shenkottai, the agraharam was located in a remote area outside the town. Now why would Ashe drive a woman in labour pain through the remote agraharam outside the town to the hospital inside the town? This clearly shows the baseless allegations made by these sectarian groups to tarnish the image of our freedom fighters.

Are we going to stay silent and let these fringe groups hijack the achievements and sacrifices of our freedom fighters by sullying their names with ulterior motive to break Bharat on the lines of caste? If no, then it’s high time we started teaching our children the real history which has always been ignored in our school.

Note: This article first appeared at https://madrasmamiblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/vanchinathan-remembering-the-great-hero-on-his-106th-death-anniversary/ and is being republished here with the permission of the author

source:

https://www.hindupost.in/history/vanchinathan-remembering-great-hero-106th-death-anniversary/

Debate on Pranab Mukherjee in RSS Program Reveals A Lot

bhagwat-pranab-1
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