Monday, August 9, 2010

Veer Savarkar and the league

Dear Tinni, You were conceived in Mumbai,Maharashtra.
I would share my views on Mumbai and Maharashtra after a few days. Meanwhile continuing with the Hindutva icons, I must here throw lights
on Veer Savarkar and the polity later created by his admirers.

This is yet another facet on patriotism of Hindutva icons. In this context, the controversy around Savarkar is foremost and is often debated. “I am ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be ….. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government,” he had written in a petition on November 14, 1913 to the Home Member of the Government of India.
This letter of Savarkar is often hotly debated and the Sangh Parivar has to struggle much doing the defence or even resort to vandalism so that no blasphemy is committed against their icon. Congress Minister in the Centre Mani Shanker Aiyar, an one-time confidant of Rajiv Gandhi, had to come at receiving end from Shiv Sena for his orders to remove Savarkar’s plaque from Cellular Jail in Andamans. Sena leaders including their supremo Bal Thackeray had applied shoe lacing on Mani’s effigy. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj moved out on a Bharat Parikrama to tell countrymen how a “freedom fighter” was insulted by Aiyar.

In March 2005, Shiv Sainiks ransacked ‘Business Today’ office in Mumbai for inviting the Minister for an award function. On his part, Aiyar said his opinion on Savarkar remained unchanged while Sena officially clarified that no Sainiks were involved in storming into the media office at Jolly’s Chamber in Nariman Point, South Mumbai.

But the very concept of the ‘Hindu’ also calls for closer study. According to scholarly work of Ashis Nandy’s ‘Exiled At Home’, there were certain inherent contradictions about being a Hindu also. And he argues the statement rather caustically. A Hindu, for instance he says, could be aggressive while talking about pacifism, dirty in spite of his ideology of purity, materialist while preaching spirituality and comically Indian when trying to be a western.

Going further on this, one can cite the argument of Nirad C Chaudhuri, often dubbed as the lobbyist for the English. “The current belief is that the Hindus are a peace-loving and non-violent people, and this belief has been fortified by Gandhism” Chaudhuri writes and adds, between third century BC and the twentieth century of Mahatma Gandhi ‘there is not one word of non-violence in the theory and practice of statecraft by the Hindus”.
In fact, Gandhi himself had said that he had borrowed his idea of non-violence not from the sacred texts of India but from the Sermon of the Mount. Rightly points out Nandy again, “In the 150 years of British rule prior to Gandhi, no significant social reformer or political leader had tried to give centrality to non-violence as a major Hindu or Indian virtue”.
It is thus left purely to Mahatma Gandhi the credit or discredit of giving an essentially non-violence face of Hinduism. This is certainly debatable as the Hinduism is better known as a tolerant religion, something accepted even by former Christian leader and ex-Nagaland Governor M M Thomas, now deceased.
The other school of thought argues that the Sanatan Dharma of the Hindus only talk about love, compassion and pristine purity. Therefore, after 2002 Gujarat riots, even Hindu intelligentsia believed the mayhem was a classic case of “negation of Hinduism” and total anti-thesis to the belief and even Hrishi Charbak’s view that “jabat jibo, sukhot jibo (let others live in happiness as you may)” is part of the Sanatan doctrine.

They the present Hindutva votaries have only made an attempt to counter one-book religions like Islam and Christianity. This factor has singularly made the creation of an emblem in Lord Ram as a “strong unification factor”. Those who propound this brand of militant Hinduism are blinded by the expansion of Islam and Christianity. In the process, the Dharma, the essential facet of Hinduism has come as a first casualty. Ironically, it is in the name of religion and the need to protect it that the Dharma, considered both a goal and the path in Hinduism and presupposing the special human capacity for concern and interests of others has become almost a forgotten matter. According to an authoritative study on Hinduism, courtesy ‘Themes and Issues in Hinduism’, edited by Paul Bowen, “the personal attainment of worldly success and enjoyment by inflicting pain and suffering on others, or by denying them the right freely to pursue these ends, is opposed to Dharma”.
Now to counter those who are trying to emphasis on the emblem of Lord Ram vis-à-vis the Hinduism or for that matter their battle over the Ayodhya temple.

The temple cults as such are no part of true Hinduism. Going to a temple or worshipping an image is not counseled in any scriptures. Therefore, the temple movement at least for Hindus as against that of Muslims is only a political emancipation. But this is not for the first time that political goals are being sought with the Hindu religion as a vehicle.
“In olden days kings turned to religion for the sake of conquest, for the preservation of their kingdom and for the recovery of the lost thrones,” writes Nirad C. Chaudhuri in his popular ‘A Passage to England’. Thus materialism did form part of Hindu religious outlook though there is over emphasis to spirituality.
Lord Rama himself performed a Puja of Goddess Durga before conquering Ravana’s Lanka to rescue his wife Sita. Moreover, as again pointed out by Chaudhuri, in Hinduism it is not the dread Goddess kali only who extracts a bloody sacrifice, even the benign Mother Goddess Durga requires this.

To be Continued......

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