Tag Archives: cow slaughter

Partitioned Freedom – 6

(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 1” from this link – 1)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 2” from this link – 2)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 3” from this link – 3)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 4” from this link – 4)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 5” from this link – 5)

Part 6

When strategy became policy at Lucknow in 1916, and the Khilafat and Moplah lay bare the slide of the Congress, many leaders were genuinely worried. They realised that the appeasement policies of the Congress were helping the League in furthering its separatist agenda. Despite his best efforts at placating the League and striving for Hindu-Muslim unity, Gandhi could not achieve much. When attempts were made to pacify the Moplahs in the name of Gandhi’s non-violence, they bluntly replied that Gandhi was a Kafir, and he could never be their leader. In 1924, Maulana Mohammed Ali, to whom Gandhi gave more importance than he did to Jinnah, declared: “However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me, from the point of religion, inferior to any Mussalman even though he be without character.” In 1925, he reiterated it saying, “Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi”.

Savarkar was one of the leaders who felt that Congress was making a colossal mistake by appeasing the fundamentalist Leaguers. Savarkar asked the Congress leadership to stop in the downward spiral of appeasement and be firm with the Muslim League leadership. “If you come, with you; if you do not, without you; if you oppose in spite of you” – this was the message he wanted the Congress to convey to the League. Yet the Congress leadership lacked that courage.

Shraddhananda’s Murder:
Swami Shraddhanand was a renowned Arya Samajist and a senior leader of the Congress. As a disciplined soldier of the movement, he had participated actively in the Khilafat movement too. Shraddhananda was a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and used to play an active role in reconversion activities. This angered some fanatical Muslims. One such young man called Abdul Rasheed visited Shraddhananda’s residence at Naya Bazar in Delhi on December 23, 1926, on the pretext of discussing “some problems of the Islamic religion”. Shraddhananda was unwell and lying on his bed. According to the Arya Samaj website: “
The visitor then asked for a glass of water, and while Dharm Singh (Shraddhanand’s attendant) was taking his glass away, he rushed up to the Swamiji and fired two bullets point-blank into his chest.

The annual session of the Congress was taking place from December 25, 1926, at Guwahati. All the senior leaders, including Gandhi, were present at the session when the news of the gruesome murder of Swami Shraddhananda came in. Gandhi called Abdul Rashid his own brother, but moved a condolence motion himself. “If you hold dear the memory of Swami Shraddhanandji, you would help in purging the atmosphere of mutual hatred and calumny. Now you will perhaps understand why I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji’s murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another”, Gandhi said to the shock of many in the audience. At the very same session, funds were collected for the legal defence of Rashid in the courts. When he was sentenced to capital punishment by the British, there were over fifty thousand people in his funeral procession at Kolkata. That was where the appeasement policy of the leaders had led the country.

National Flag – (National symbols compromised):

Gandhi had proposed in 1921 that Congress should design a national flag. Several models were presented to him, and the one with three colours – orange, white and green –proved to be popular However, its interpretation as orange for the Hindus, white for the Christians, and green for the Muslims did not go down well with the people. A flag committee was then appointed in 1931 to look into the controversy and recommend a national flag for India. Among others, the 7-member committee included Nehru, Patel, and Azad. The committee submitted its report to the Karachi Congress session in December 1931.

“Opinion has been unanimous that our National Flag should be of a single colour except for the colour of the device. If there is one colour that is more acceptable to the Indians as a whole, one that is associated with this ancient country by long tradition, it is the Kesari or saffron colour. Accordingly, it is felt that the flag should be of the Kesari colour except for the colour of the device. That the device should be the Charkha is unanimously agreed to. The Committee have come to the conclusion that the charka should be in blue. Accordingly we recommend that the National Flag should be of Kesari or saffron colour having on it at the left top quarter the Charkha in blue with the wheel towards the flagstaff, the proportions of the flag being fly to hoist as three to two”, the report, signed by all the seven members stated.

However, the Congress session at Karachi rejected it, saying that the saffron colour represented only Hindus. The tricolour flag designed by Pingali Venkayya was adopted. It featured three horizontal stripes of saffron, white and green, with a Charkha in the centre. The colours were given a new interpretation thus: saffron for courage; white for truth and peace; and green for faith and prosperity. After the national song came the compromise with the national flag.

Language (concessions were made):

The Hindu Bhajans were modified. ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram – Patita Pavan Sitaram’ saw ‘Isvar Allah Tere Naam’ added to it. Even the national language was not spared. There were concerted efforts to discourage Muslims from learning Hindi right from the time of Syed Ahmad Khan. Syed Ahmad asked Muslims to prefer English to Hindi. Aligarh Muslim University taught only in English and Urdu. An effort was made to project Hindi as the language of the Hindus, and Urdu, that of the Muslims. In its eagerness to please the fundamentalists in the Muslim League, the Congress leadership decided at its 1925 Karachi session that Hindustania hybrid product from the mixture of Hindi and Urdu – should be the lingua franca of independent India. It even suggested that the script could either be Devnagari or Arabic.

Texts were rewritten. Special language classes were held for the Congress volunteers to familiarise them with the new hybrid language. Phrases like Badshah Ram, Begum Sita, and Maulvi Vasistha were promoted. Nevertheless, this one compromise did not go down well with the Congress and the nation. The protagonists of Hindi could succeed only after several years in making it the official language of the nation.

The Congress leadership continued to make these one-sided compromises without any reciprocal gestures being made by the League.

Cow slaughter was given free hand:

Even on a question as important to him as cow-slaughter, Gandhi was willing to compromise. “How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians, and other religious groups here”, he argued.

None of these concessions could move the League leadership. Instead, they only led to establishing the League and Jinnah, now its leader, as the ‘sole spokesmen’ for the Muslims, as Ayesha Jalal puts it. Emboldened, Jinnah went ahead ruthlessly, unmaking everything the Congress made, including, in the end, the geographical unity of the country.

(Final part to follow)


(Courtesy: The article was originally published in Chintan, India Foundation on August 18, 2020).

Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati

Swami Lakshmananda       Vedanta Kesari Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati (84) took the vow to develop the downtrodden class of the society and made his centre of activities at Chakapada in tribal dominated Orissa’s Kandhmal district. Janmashtami – Aug 23rd 2008 is his balidaan Divas.

Besides social and religious development of the tribal people, he tried for almost four decades to empower them economically and academically. He established a Gurukul pattern of school and a college to teach Sanskrit in Chakapada a remote place of Kandhamal.

Sankaracharya Kanyashram, a residential school at Jalespatta is another ashram of Swamiji in the district, where education is being imparted to girls  with an intention to build character and inculcate cultural nationalism & service mindedness among them.

While there was a movement to ban cow slaughter in India, Swamiji came from Kailas to Orissa. After the movement of cow protection was over, Swamiji decided to return back to his Tapasya, when the then chief of RSS of Orissa Sri Bhupendra Kumar Basu narrated the sad stories of the tribal population of the State and requested him to help the suffering population. Swamiji went to Phulbani (Kandhmal) with Sri Basu, saw the life of people there and decided to serve the backward people mostly tribals and harijans, there and focussed to empower them.

In 1969 he started his first ashram at Chakapada and the ashram became a centre for brisk activities. He renovated the temples: Birupakshya, Kumareswar and Jogeswar and established a Sanskrit school and a college.

Swamijee invested his full energy to teach the youth of schedule caste and schedule tribe in Sanskrit and general education. He  built the youth as disciplined citizens – well cultured, well educated, and inspired them to become spiritual.

Swamijee was well versed in Vedanta philosophy, Sanskrit grammar and was awarded with the honour as “VEDANTA KESHARI”. He not only gave philosophical thoughts to the people but taught them good cultivation, animal care, horticulture and so on. The students coming out from the Kalyan Ashram Gurukula are taking leadership of the society in economic, social and cultural fields.

Due to his selfless service to humanity, he was awarded with VIVEKANANDA SEVA PURASKAR” from Kolkotta.He stood firm in Phulbani district for a long time and struggled hard to preserve and protect the tribal culture and Dharma. The Sankaracharya of Govardhan Pitha, Puri awarded him.

Swamiji was a visionary. It has been clearly established by his activities. He worked in the entire state of Orissa, specifically in Phulbani district now known as Kandhamal. He worked in the areas of health, education, agriculture, religious teachings and teaching rituals, sanskrit, sanskriti raksha, gau raksha and swadharma seva. He also informed the tribals that they can also perform yagyas and trained them in the same. He also taught them to give pravachans. ( speeches). He started mahila sankeertan mandalis ( women groups for singing bhajans) and they used to perform the ashta prahari naam keertan.

He started a night school for adult education. He insisted them to send their children to the school by which the literacy rate amongst tribal and Harijans of that area increased. He stared a Sanskrit School named Kalyan Ashram, Sanskrit Vidyalaya at Chakapad in the year 1969 which is now promoted to a Sanskrit college.

For the education of the girls, he established ‘Sankaracharya Kanyashram’ a wholly residential school at Jalespata in the year 1988 where 250 girls’ students are studying. He also established a school at Banki and ashram at panigola in Angul district. The student of Chakapada and Jalespata taking leadership in all social sphere of their life in Kandhamal and most of them are established in the government service.

The local Harijan and tribal people of Kandhamal become more health conscious after coming to the satsangh. They started to keep their houses clean, take bath every day, take safe drinking and thousands of family of the scheduled caste community have given up taking beef which ,make them healthy and disease less.

Swamiji taught them not to take liquor or any other alcoholic drinks during Satsang. Then gradually they left the habit of taking such drinks. When they were free form alcohol they got ample time to do some work which they utilized in their field and other activities for their development. More than 500 villages in the district benefited out of Swamiji’s noble way to control liquor business as well as people on their own boycotted all intoxicants materials.

Swamiji taught grammar to the students in the class and technique of good cultivation in the field. He taught the villagers when and how to cultivate paddy vegetables etc. By which people of G.Udaygira and Raikia block area now produce the best quality and highest quantity of beans in Orissa. There also formed a vegetable cooperative society at Katingia by agricultural development the economic conditioned improved a lot. Swamiji always insisted the tribals not to be afraid of any body. He accompanied them to the govt. officer and police stations and made them fearless. They got the courage to face to the collector or SP directly.

Now we can see greenery everywhere in the Kandhmal because it has more forest cover than any other district. It is all due to Swamijis efforts to insist them to take wood only when required. He also established “Mathas on the hill tops in several parts of the district and told the villagers that the trees in the hill belong to “matha” and the village community. If emergency arises one can cut a tree and take wood only after the permission of the village committee. That worked tremendously. The joint forest management system which govt. started now has been started by Swamiji from 1970.  Swamiji was very serious regarding preservation and protection of tribal culture and tradition . He has established and renovated the tribal deity place (Dharanipenu) in several places. Similarly he has started a Rathyatra through out the Gajapati and Kandhamal districts during which thousand of tribal are attracted to their own belief. This spread all across Orissa as well.

He often said that the area will not prosper where tears or blood falls. He was against the indiscriminate cow slaughter. He taught the people to protect cattle from slaughtering and taking beef. On several occasions he staged demonstration, dharanas and participated in the hunger strike in several parts of the state. He toured through out the state for this cause. He was associated with several socio-cultural and religious organizations. He established and renovated several temples in different parts of the state. He was a founder member and inspiration of VHP and Kalyana Ashram of Orissa. His also involved himself in protecting the tribals from Christian conversion. He tried his label best to reconvert the tribals to their original faith. Inspired by his personality thousand of people in different parts of the states become his disciple.

His main missions were :

1. Making the tribal youth strong, fearless, educated and financially sound.

2. Tribals should be strong in their belief and check conversion of their brethren and bring back  those who have gone out of Hindu fold.

3. Protection of cows :

These made him popular thought out the states. During two big functions at Chakapad in 1986 and 2007,  lakhs of people gather in that remote place.

As the reconversion got momentum Christian militants feared of losing their ground.  So they attacked Swamiji several times ( 9 times). The ninth attack on him was on 24th December 2007, where he was narrowly saved being murdered by heavily armed group of 200 people, at Darsingbadi of Kandhamal. No efforts were been made by the government or administration to arrest the culprits (The Christian militants) and siege the illegal weapons kept by them. The roles of Christian NGO’s were not investigated. The attitude of the government was to protect Christians and harass Hindus. Hundreds of Hindus were arrested but only a few Christians. Lakhs of rupees were provided to the church and other Christian organizations as relief, which were not damaged during that period.

These things encouraged the Christian militants and they brutally killed Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, Bhakti Mata. Amrutananda Baba, Kishore baba and Purub Ganthi a guardian of a Kanyashram girl on the Janmastami night on 23rd August 2008 at 8 pm. They even dared to enter the kanyashram and brutally killed 5 persons in addition to Swamiji.

Source : Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Orissa;

Points to deliberate upon :

The brutal killing of Swamiji, sent a shock wave in the country. Lakhs of people attended his antyeshti and paid their respects showing that he was respected all over Orissa and not only in Kandhamal.

1. Swamiji Lakshmanand was the only Swami who had police protection due to the number of attacks on him. However, a few days before his murder, the police protection was removed by the district administration. The only gun man he had also went on leave .

2. He was involved in cow-protection and Dharma-prachaar ( spread of dharmic values ) and was a bulwark against Christian missionaries.

3. A member of World Vision – a Christian missionary organisation was on the run.  Why was World Vision International not questioned ?

4. The Maoists distanced themselves from the attack giving a letter which stated ”  the organization would initiate action against some of their cadres in Kandhamal district who could be hired for money by communal Christian miscreants for the murder of the VHP leader”

5. Since 2008, the case has not yet been resolved for so many years. Is the laxity of the government part of a bigger conspiracy ? This has embolden many more attacks on sadhus and sants in other parts of the country.

Involvement of World Vision employee in the murder ?

https://arisebharat.com/2008/08/30/maoists-disown-any-role-in-swami-lakshmananda-saraswatis-murder/

Update on 3rd Oct 2013 –

Church-Maoist Nexus gets confirmed in Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati’s murder. Watch the phrase -” The convicts said they committed the crime as, according to them, Saraswati was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, he said.”

http://in.news.yahoo.com/eight-life-sentence-hindu-leaders-killing-072803432.html

Bhubaneswar, Oct 3 (IANS) A court in Odisha Thursday sentenced eight persons, including a Maoist, to life in prison for the murder of a Hindu leader and four of his aides in 2008, a lawyer said.

The special additional district sessions court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on each of them, prosecution lawyer Ramesh Mohanty told IANS.

Those awarded the jail term and fine are Duryodhan Suna Majhi, Munda Bada Majhi, Sanatan Bada Majhi, Garnatha Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Samseth, Bhaskar Suna Majhi and Budhadev Nayak and Pulari Rama Rao alias Uday.

Rama Rao alias Uday was a Maoist leader while others are local residents, the prosecution lawyer said. The same court pronounced Rama Rao guilty on OCT 1 while it convicted others a day earlier. The court said it would pronounce the quantum of punishment Thursday.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four aides were killed at their ashram by then unidentified gunmen at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal district Aug 23, 2008.

Five accused, including Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, wanted for the crime, are still untraced and on the run, police said.

The convicts said they committed the crime as, according to them, Saraswati was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, he said.

The killing of Saraswati and his aides triggered communal violence in the state, in which at least 38 people were killed.

Update from Vishwa Samvad Kendra Orissa on Oct 3rd 2013

Sri Arun Ray, then I.G. Crime Branch in his Press conference on 6thOctober, 2008 has stated that one group has conspired and engaged another group for killing of Swami Laxmanananda. Though a few of the murders has been nabbed and convicted the main culprits like Sabyasachi Panda and Main Conspirators of church groups are still at-large, as the Govt. seems not interested for it. All though Hon’able Odisha High Court has directed the investigating agency to take a lead on the evidences supplied by the informant, no steps has been taken in that direction, which clearly indicates the Govt. pressure to protect the culprits. The investigating officer has been rewarded with promotion and police medal for safe-guarding the culprits, which is a public discussion in Khandhamal. It is an eye wash of the government in convicting some culprits hurriedly, when the main accused are not yet booked.