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Arun Shourie on Hindutva



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A case in which the English version of a major book by a renowned Muslim scholar, the fourth Rector of one of the greatest centers of Islamic learning in India, listing some of the mosques, including the Babri Masjid, which were built on the sites and foundations of temples, using their stones and structures, is found to have the tell-tale passages censored out... more

 

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"But why do you refer to it as a mosque at all? Where is the mosque, my friends, when the namaz is not performed? When for forty years idol worship is going on there, what kind of a mosque is it? That is just the temple of our dear Ram."... more


 

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At first, the demand-cum-assurance was, "If you can bring any proof showing a temple had been demolished to construct the mosque, we will ourselves demolish the mosque". A host of documents -- reports of the Archaeological Survey of India going back to 1891, Gazetteers going back to 1854. Survey reports going back to 1838 were produced which stated unambiguously that a Ram temple had been demolished to construct the mosque"... more

 

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Of course, he said, Hindus who became Muslims must be taken back into the Hindu fold. Otherwise our numbers will keep dwindling- we used to be around 600 million by the reckoning of Ferishta, the oldest Muslim historian, now we are just 200 million. "And then", he continued, "every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more."... more

 

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The depths to which society had pushed sections of its own induced the latter to convert to Islam, for them the conversion was a liberation, and the people who even today do not see this are "lunatics", says Swami Vivekananda... more


 

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May I begin with a few passages from my book 'A Secular Agenda'? It was sent to the press in late September and comes out later this week. A chapter, "No time to relent", which concludes the section on Kashmir notes... more

 

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On January 2, 1937 a Professor of Philosophy from Poland, Krzenski came to see Gandhiji. Krzanski told Gandhiji that Catholicism was the only true religion... more

 

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Dainik Jagran is today among the largest newspapers in our country. Amar Ujala is also a substantial paper. Addressing a public meeting on October 12, UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav denounced the two papers, "Halla Bol", he exhorted his followers, "Commence the storming". Why read them, he told them, you don't have to even see them. No one present had any doubt what they meant: Don't let them be seen, that is what it meant... more

 

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'Muslims all over the world including those of India were hopefully looking up to Pakistan for help and guidance... The Pakistani debacle of 1971 had caused immense grief to Indian Muslims.' The speaker? Maulana Abul Hassan ALi Nadvi, otherwise known as Ali Mian, whom the press always refers to as the widely respected scholar and moderate Muslim leader... more

 

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But in looking at the ritual, at the idol, at the concept, why not start with the opposite assumption? Why start by assuming that they are empty, that they are the remnants of superstition? They had occurred to, they had been devised by seers, by persons of great insight... more

 

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'It is a miracle... can be likened to the building of the Gothic cathedrals of Europe... There is no doubt that London has acquired a significant new building of traditional Indian beauty and interest... We can be grateful that this has happened in a part of London that needed transforming'... more

 

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The super-speciality hospital which Satya Sai Baba has set up in Putaparti, the water schemes which have been inaugurated in Anantpur district to mark his 70th birthday will, of course, make the difference between life and death to vast numbers. The other point about projects undertaken at the direction of these teachers is their managerial excellence. The projects are invariably completed on schedule: it took just three years from the permission being granted for the temple in London to its being opened for worship..... more

 

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In holding that not all references to religion in election speeches necessarily amount to corrupt electoral practices; that it is the soliciting of votes on the ground of the religion of the candidate or that of his opponent which is a corrupt electoral practice; that statements made by others do not have the same effect as those made by a candidate himself -- in all this, as we saw, the Supreme Court has merely reiterated what the the law itself says and what the Supreme Court has itself held on previous occasions. What then accounted for the fury of the secularists ?... more

 

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The so-called secular parties -- that is, all fifteen of them, including the Muslim League -- are continuing to insist that they shall vote out the BJP Government on the 31st. Assume that they do, and assume that a Government headed by Deve Gowda assumes office... The situation now is different, they say; for one thing there are those experiences to warn the secular parties and leaders, they say; moreover, this time the leaders of "the forces of social change" are very conscious of the historic responsibility that rests on their shoulders, they say.... more

 

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Some months ago an official of the United States state department met me through a common scholar friend... Last week the same scholar friend sent me an account which that officer had written and circulated about the way India, in particular Hindus, are again being portrayed in the USA. The note deserves to be read in full, so what follows is the verbatim text of his note... more

 

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'Dalits fight back,' 'Dalit resurgence,' 'Dalit politics will never be the same again,' 'Mumbai massacre a watershed' - headlines, news stories, comments in the wake of the firing at the crowd in Mumbai. There was a little hiccup - the leaders of the 'Dalits' whom these publications had been building up for years were thrashed by the 'Dalits' whose resurgence the same press was celebrating! But the prophets of resurgence soon regained their vigour... more

 

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These days when those guardians of secularism, our newspapers, refer to the Secular Front, they put the label -- "Secular" -- as well as the excuse -- "to combat communal forces" -- within inverted commas ! Those who used to preface their remarks about Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee with, "The right man in the wrong party", suddenly emphasize only "The right man" part ! "Things are all going right," says a person who has feasted off secular governments for ten years, as I run into him -- I don't immediately get what he thinks is going right, so out of touch have I been with him. "I mean, we are not going to get just a stable government, we are going to get a BJP government," he says enthusiastically... more

 

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"Rational vs. National," screams the headline of the new pall-bearer of secularism, the magazine Outlook. "Tampering with history," proclaims the old pall- bearer, The Hindu. Having been educated by The Hindu that the "nodal ministry" for the matter is the Ministry of Human Resource Development, I ring up the Secretary of that Ministry. Has the Memorandum of Association of the ICHR been changed?, I ask. No, he says. It has not been changed, he says... more

 

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Arun Shourie is not a historian. He is a mythologist of Hindu communalism. He is a political pornographer," declared one of these eminent historians, K N Panikkar, in Kerala the other day. He had been asked for an answer to the facts I had set out in Eminent Historians. And he was giving reasons why it was beneath his dignity to give one... more

 

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Namboodiripas' fusillade was just the opening salvo, it turned out. The Communist Party of India published a series of pamphlets - Arun Shourie's Slanders Rebutted History has indicated the Communists, 1942 August Struggle and the Communist Party of India... Translated into several languages, these were distributed far and wide. Today, they are prophylactics anyone who reads them will be immunised against the abuse of these 'leading intellectuals' and their parties... more

 

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"I shall travel back with him," says Nawaz Sharif one day on taking the bus to Delhi with the Indian Prime Minister. "We will solve half the problems on the way back." Four days have not passed, and Pakistan observes "Solidarity-with-Kashmir Day." All the usual venom is spewed forth again. What is one to make of these signals... more

 

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"Why do you keep doing this?", I keep asking. Another press conference has been held, another statement reprimanding Government has been issued, another "massive demonstration" protesting against the Government's "failure to extricate India from the clutches of the WTO" has been announced. The difference is that in the public eye the organizations for which they speak, issue statements, announce morchas and the rest, are part of the same parivar as the Government... more

 

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"The mandate (which the Act imposes upon the Central Government),'' the Supreme Court said in its 1994 judgement on the Ayodhya case, ''is that in managing the property so vested in the Central Government, the Central Government or the authorised person shall ensure maintenance of the status quo (and here the Court quoted merely reproduced - for the second time within ten lines - the words in the Act itself) in the area on which the structure (including the premises of the inner and outer courtyards of such structure), commonly known as the Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid, stood.'... more

 

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What is the VHP? Whom does it represent? What is its locus standi?, the Supreme Court asked the other day - and it seemed to have done so in a tone that triggered much delight among secularists. The Bench did not ask, as the Constitution Bench had not asked, ''Who is Mohammed Aslam, alias 'Bhure'? Whom does he represent? What is his locus standi?'' It did not ask, ''What is the Babri Masjid Action Committee? Whom does it represent? What is its locus standi?'' It did not ask, ''What is the 'All India Muslim Law Board'? Whom does it represent? What is its locus standi?'' How is it that doubt assailed it only in regard to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad? ... more

 

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In the sense American intellectual activity has been built on foundations. Agar aap koi bhi ek American scholar ko dekhen, he is one of the great psychologists today. They work the most on the physiology of the mind on consciousness. If you read any book of his, in its first five pages aap yeh dekhiye ki woh kin-kin ko acknowledge karte hain. The unknown foundations and it has been one of the great omissions of the Indian tax system that we have not allowed, not made it profitable for business houses and other people to set up foundations for intellectual activity. I also feel in the sense that we underestimate, what Ramswarup Ji used to call, the seed value of ideas... more

 

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For a year and a half you keep issuing statements to the press, and writing ostensibly scholarly articles, and holding forth in interviews that the Babri Mosque was not, most definitely not, built by demolishing or even on a site of a temple. Documents of the other side are sent to you. You are nominated by the All India Babri Mosque Action Committee as an expert who will give his assessment of them. A meeting is scheduled. Before that you meet the then Director General of Archeology who had supervised the excavations at the site. The day the meeting is to begin the newspapers carry yet another categorical statement from "intellectuals", again asserting the line convenient to the AIBMAC. You, of course, are among them... more

 

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The US campaign of bombing erstwhile Taliban positions in Afghanistan had not been on for 10 days, and our experts began pronouncing it a failure: "Osama bin Laden is still at large, the Taliban have just dispersed into the hills, the Northern Alliance is stuck where it was, Bush's Grand Alliance is coming apart... The winter is about to set in," they said. "The Afghan is a hardy fighter, they said. He will just tie an onion and a roti (bread), fling his blanket over his shoulder, and disappear into the nearest mountain; and these American GIs - they cannot fight without their Coca Colas, their hot meals... Just look at them on TV - they are loaded with so much equipment, they have difficulty just walking. These jokers are going to fight the Taliban? Secure on the mountaintop, the Taliban Jehadi will pick them one by one as they try to clamber up the mountain. Remember Kargil? These slopes in the Afghan mountains are even steeper than the ones our soldiers had to scale."... more

 

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"Zee News at 9.40 p.m. on Saturday (August 21) showed clipping of Vajpayee addressing an election rally at Thiruvananthapuram," declared the spokesman of the Congress (I) in a written statement on 24 August. "He declared that the building of Ram Mandir, abrogation of Article 370 and bringing in the uniform civil code were an intrinsic part of the BJP's manifesto." In fact, Vajpayee had addressed no public meeting at Thiruvananthapuram at all. But hardly one to be deterred by facts, the Congress (I) went on to describe Vajpayee as "a habitual liar," as one who was making a "completely ridiculous" statement when he expressed surprise at what Govindacharya, a General Secretary of the BJP was reported to have said... more

 

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"There can be no doubt that the fall of Buddhism in India was due to the invasions of the Musalmans," writes the author. "Islam came out as the enemy of the 'But'. The word 'But,' as everybody knows, is an Arabic word and means an idol. Not many people, however, know that the derivation of the word 'But' is the Arabic corruption of Buddha. Thus the origin of the word indicates that in the Moslem mind idol worship had come to be identified with the Religion of the Buddha. To the Muslims, they were one and the same thing. The mission to break the idols thus became the mission to destroy Buddhism. Islam destroyed Buddhism not only in India but wherever it went." The writer? B. R. Ambedkar. But today the fashion is to ascribe the extinction of Buddhism to the persecution of Buddhists by Hindus, to the destruction of their temples by the Hindus. One point is that the Marxist historians who have been perpetrating this falsehood have not been able to produce even an iota of evidence to substantiate the concoction... more

 

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In painting Goddess Saraswati naked M.F. Hussein, his secularist advocates argue, is merely exercising his Fundamental Right to freedom of expression, he is merely giving form to his artistic, creative urge. The first question is : How come the freedom and creative urge of the thousands and thousands of artists our country has have never led even one of them to ever paint or draw a picture of Prophet Muhammad in which his face is manifest ? I am not on the point of dress or undress, the features could have been made as celestial and handsome as our artists could have imagined -- why is it that they never got the urge to draw or sculpt even the handsomest representation of the Prophet?... more

 

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On the face of it, the report of the Wadhwa Commission on the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons should have been very welcome to our secular friends. Justice Wadhwa has concluded that the main person who organised the attack was Rabindra Kumar Pal alias Dara Singh, and that his motive in doing so was "misplaced fundamentalism", namely his conviction that conversions by missionaries were threatening Hinduism. He also records evidence to the effect that Dara Singh had been involved in an activity which, in the eyes of secularists, is as deplorable as an activity can get: protection of cows from slaughter... more

 

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The first thing that strikes one upon reading the books of these eminent historians, of course, is the double standard. Recall how, without an iota of evidence, our eminent historians advanced the most far-reaching assertions about ancient India -- about its having been a period riddled with tensions, inequity and oppression. And how, in cases such as Aurangzeb and the Sultanate, these very historians shut their eyes to what stares them in the face. In a word, their approach is set to a formula : pre-Islamic India must be presented as a land of discord, a land in the grip of a social and political system marked by injustice, extreme inequities and oppression; and the Islamic period must be presented as a period in which "the composite culture" flowered, a period in which the norm was a policy of "broad toleration"... more


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