Sunday, October 15,
theme, attractive book
Review by Kanwalpreet
The Arts of
the Sikh Kingdom edited by Susan Strong. V&A Publications,
New Delhi. Pages 256. Rs 2500.
at last is a book which deals with both the history and culture
of the Sikhs. Contributions by different writers and paintings
collected by strong make this book a must-read. The articles
written by eminent authors are informative and very interesting.
The very first
chapter written by Khushwant Singh is on the Sikhs of Punjab. He
starts from the first Guru, touches the lives of the other Gurus
and finally discusses the origin of Sikhism tracing its growth
with Banda Bahadur. Then appears Maharaja Ranjit Singh and ends
his essay with its fall and its stagnation. The writer does not
pass judgements. He writes freely quoting history. It is
difficult to find so much of information accompanied with
photographs depicting each era.
Kaur Singh in the next chapter crisply explains the formula of
Sikh ethics "Ikkoankar" and goes on to describe the
origin of different concepts and institutions like langar and
sangat. The writer also elucidates in simple terms the meaning
of the five Ks, the importance of the suffixes Singh and Kaur
which was expected to end the caste system and also the
dependence of women upon men throughout their life.
of the Harmandir Sahib is so simple yet moving that the reader
can feel the presence of the imposing sacred structure.
One of the good
points about Sikhism, which the writer reminds is, that men and
women both can search for the divine. To uplift the women is one
of the aims of the Gurus. The Sikhs are a people full of zest
which is reflected in their folk dances, bhangra for men and
giddha for women. After a hard day’s work, a Sikh feels at
home anywhere for he is open to exchange ideas and beliefs.
chapter, "The Golden Temple" is accompanied with a
graphic picture of devotees bathing in the pool. The writer
revers the Harmandir as a repository of the religion and a
symbol of its resoluteness, just as the Guru intended. Patwant
Singh’s description of the mirror work, marble floor and
decoration is supported by excellent photographs.
Singh and the Image of the Past" by A.S. Mehikian Chirvani
discusses Sikhism’s link with Sufism. A new perception indeed
! He has also dealt with Ranjit Singh’s infatuation with the
past and the question whether he wanted to establish equality
with the Mughal emperors who had played havoc with the community
and its feelings. The ruler’s tolerance and understanding for
others is praised.
by Susan Strong speaks about Ranjit Singh’s art collection and
the splendour of his court which impressed even the British
officers. The "Lion" of Punjab’s patronage for
various types of artistic activity is acknowledged, for it went
a long way in producing unique art objects. The history of the
Kohinoor diamond is traced from Shah Jahan to Ranjit Singh. The
photographs of the jewellery are very clear. It is indeed the
work of a master.
tells about the origin of painting in Punjab and traces it to
the 16th century. The Pahari artists have been appreciated and
Lahore, as the centre of power is associated with the painting
too. The misconceived notion that the Maharaja did not encourage
painting and treated it as a lowly art is refuted. The Maharaja
very much encouraged this art too.
magnificence of Ranjit Singh’s court. The decor and the dress
of his courtiers caught the eye of many and is aptly described
by Rosemary Crill in "Textiles in Punjab". The
Maharaja himself dressed simply but liked his surroundings to be
bright, thus reflecting the culture in which he had grown up.
His generous gifts to Brahmins which he personally distributed
consisted of the best textile in Punjab. After Srinagar it was
Lahore which was the main trading centre of shawls.
discusses the Sikhs’ military tradition. The 10th Guru infused
in their minds, valour and Ranjit Singh charged them with
energy. He maintained a strong army, disciplined and faithfully.
He did so by adhering to the 10th Guru’s teachings and keeping
his army Khalsa or pure.
was always eager to learn and imbibe new things and one example
of this is the core of professional troops trained along
European lines. The writer also traces the rivalry after the
Maharaja’s death and how the mighty army which could once
challenge the British, finally ended up as one of the most
glorious elements in the army of the British Raj.
writes about the dramatic life of Maharaja Dalip Singh. It comes
a shock to the reader to learn how a child lost his childhood
just because he happened to be the son of an illustrious ruler
who had died and left the boy and his kingdom to be grabbed by
writes with emotion about the confusion of the young child who
had the best of material comforts but lacked emotional comforts.
the turbulence of principles in his mind and his reconversion to
Sikhism are all dealt with sympathetically. It was indeed a long
journey and a sad end for a boy who in the end tried to live
life befitting a son of his father.
"Continuing Traditions in the Later Sikh Kingdoms"
deals with the misls and their patronage to artists. The fusion
of different religions in art is the core of the writer’s
chapter discusses the European views of Punjab. The Europeans
were in awe of the Indian culture and tradition. Punjab was no
exception. They tried to depict the rich Punjab in their
paintings. So awe-struck were some of them with Ranjit Singh’s
Court that they wrote home all that they saw. The writer
compares Ranjit Singh with Napolean for like the latter the
former too had an aura around him for he unified Punjab into a
"short-lived but memorable nation".
Punjab with its
fertile land and vast expanse of greenery was an ideal subject
for photography. This and Romance has been discussed by Divia
Patel. Photography introduced after the second Anglo-Sikh war
recorded Punjab and as its people led their life. But the
Indians were categorised into "natives" and the
Europeans individually named. The British colonialists even used
photography to give legitimacy to their rule. Altogether
photography sent a message of a Punjab full of life yet
has indeed put in a lot of effort by first getting eminent
writers to express their essays with eye-catching photographs.
The photographer has indeed an eye for detail and thus catches
the spirit and essence of Punjab. The editor of the book has
also given a chronology of Sikhism, the Mughal empire and
British monarchy which helps the reader understand and place the
data in a broad frame.
The book in
particular deals more with the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
and how he went on the process of encouraging arts and artists
irrespective of their religion. Personal interest in the
transformation of the Golden Temple is his noteworthy.
illustrations in the book go a long way in proving the point
that the Sikh art was at the height of its glory under the
alongwith imparting knowledge is good for even light reading. It
gives life to facts without making them a burden on the reader.
For historical facts one can read any chronology but combining
them with culture and tradition of a region is indeed unique and
that is what this book does.
The glossary is rich and all
illustrations have been described in great detail. The picture
speak for themselves.
hills, now hill stations
Review by Padam Ahlawat
Urban Patterns in Nineteenth Century, Himachal Pradesh, by
Pamela Kanwar. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Shimla.
Page 137. Rs 150
language and style of the essay read more like research their,
than a book for the general reader. Its appeal is consequently
Sham of its
technical jargon, what Pamela Kanwar wants to say is that the
development of Urban areas, in the hills of Himachal Pradesh,
during rule of Indian Rajas and during the British Raj,
developed along different lances villages came along the large
travels of oracle land along the river valleys. Moreover,
white-travellers through Bilaspur, observed the cultivation in
terraces above streams and rivers, ‘Both banks of the river
were linked with a succession of small villages the while way’.
Some of these
village grow into towns, due to trade and commerce or being
the seat of the lived raja or ruler.
and towns were so situated in the valleys, while the ridges
above were tested. Agriculture development on the forest
areas, for providing it fodder, wind, and water to irrigate.
Moreover, the forest above provided the leaves to enhance the
producing of the still by providing manure. The forests also
provided the springs for clean drinking water, while the river
provided water for irrigation. Consequently the forests were
jealously guarded and telling at trees was not attended though
occasional large scale telling of trees was known the
villagers however had the rights to use the first for
garaging. The ridges were hence vital for the agriculture in
the valleys below.
are often treeless on one side, while the other is forested.
This is so because the southern slopes of the trees have
angular and rugged crops with steep slopes. The northern side
of the mountain slopes are getting inclined and have truck
soul cover, thereby support douse forests and fertile valleys.
Since the village settlements were bated in the valleys, the
major towns also tended to be sited along the rivers valleys.
highly prized land was appropriated by the ruling houses, but
did not succeed 25 per cent of the total cultivated area. The
rest of the lands was given over the other Rajputs, Brahamins,
Kheres and Kheres to still and things were enticed with land
grails to settle, as that inhered the prosperity of the ruling
house. The koils were cupeated to provided the labour. The
setting was feudal and the ruler was cultivated to levy
beggar. The term Zaminder did not mean a large landlord or
revenue collector, but simply a small farmer.
The seats of
the ruling houses became centres of trade and grew into towns.
Sultanpur (now Kellar) is situated in the middle of a valley,
white thandi lieu on the left bank of the Beas. If the
structure appeared tender the rulers themselves were
indistinguishable in appearance and visitors were struck by
the unostentatious mien of hill rulers.
towns were dominated by the rulers place, which opened out
into the main bazaar. The paved main street of the bazaar
normally constructed below the elevated Place fort complex of
the teen rulers. Trader and rich farmers had their houses in
the town. Besides the palace and bazaar the town invariably
had an open space for religious occurrences and fairs.
and traders went on fort, the never being crossed on an
inflated buffalo skin or ferry, white there were rape bridges
across the wide and turbulent rivers.
population on oracle land was high. The Kangro Valley, one of
the most fortune track, was doubted with villages and towns.
It had a density of 253 per square mile, while kuller valley
had a density of 59 per square wide.
By 1925, most
of there towns had become struggling villages and their
population declined. The decline was caused due to shifting of
the political power, the district headquarter became the seat
of capital under British rule. The laying of roads and railway
lines made old trading towns redundant and new trading centres
came up. The British hill stations supplanted the old towns.
built their hill stations on the spurs and ridges, the
forested hills, which were cooler and more pleasant than the
valleys below. The hill stations for the British were a place
to escape the sweetening heat of the plauis, a place where
sick soldiers were seat recover their health. Soon they became
popular resort for rest and recuperation, but where
governments could work during the hot summer months. Shimla
became the seat of the Governor of India for seven months.
Other hill stations became cantonments and sites for boarding
were cleared to make space for buildings and provide the
timber. But, once the buildings come up the forest around the
hill stations were jealously guarded. Though several large
areas of forests in the tears were cleared to provide timber
In 1835, when
Darjeeling has acquired from the ruler of Sikkim, it had a
population about a hundred. By 1891, although Darjeeling and
its immediate environs were green and pictures gave, the
district between the heights of 3000 to 6000 ft was larger
served by 177 tea gardens and a population of 2,23,314,
replacing large trades of forest.
stations had lovely cottage and large houses on the hill
sides, while the mall, the bazaar and the Indian population
was at one end of the town. But, the population of the hill
station was never to large.
larncuts the fact that the hill have been divided of forest
cover. She is, however, silent on how modern concrete
construction is belonging the charm of hill stations. In fact,
she scenes to justify the new construction, "It has now
became technologically possible to build multi-storied
structures on concrete pillars clamped to a hill side. The
pattern of growth continues as before". She seems to hold
the British concept of hill station responsible for the
destruction of forests and the hill stations and not the
concrete structure that are now carrying up.
The hill stations were built
as summer resists and not permanent state capitals with
population of more than two lacks, which swell to several
lakhs during the summer months. It is the population pressure
that is destroying forest cover and the hill stations and not
the concept of hill stations. Besides, the hill stations have
not been able to hear the burden of the swelling middle-class
tourists who now rush to the hill in summer.
"alien" heart beats for India
Review by R.P. Chaddah
Parallel Lines Meet—Poems by Tabish Khair. Viking, New Delhi.
Pages 104. Rs 195.
The Tree of
Verse — Poems by Deepti Diwakar. Sterling, New Delhi. Pages
55. Rs 150.
advent of modern Indian English poetry was concretised in the
first anthology edited by P. Lal and K.Raghavendra Rao in 1959
when they published "Modern Indo-Anglian Poetry"
featuring 20-odd poets of post-independent India. Out of them
only three have survived the test of time — Nissim Ezekiel,
Dom Moraes and P. Lal himself, the editor of the above mentioned
anthology. In a way, this anthology featured the first
generation of modern Indian English poets.
Over the years,
the second generation of post-independence Indian English poets
has come up and they were born mostly between the years 1950 and
1970. They are the successors and heirs to the now
well-established poets such as Ezekiel, Ramanujan, Mahapatra,
Daruwalla, Mehrotra and others. In 1993, Makarand Paranjape
published an anthology of "New Indian English Poetry"
by including 18 poets. Most of them, Ranjit Hoskote, Hoshang
Merchant, Vijay Nambisan, Sudeep Sen and Tabias Khair, are
active practioners of poetry and they periodically bring out new
anthologies of their poems.
and Deepti Diwakar, the poets of anthologies under review,
belong to the second generation and exiles by choice or by
circumstances. But they are together in their love for their
struggle to recapture/ in another place where yesterday/ By its
absence will turn blank the canvas/ Of today and haunt me to the
marrow/ But here where the past has always been present. (Khair)
flung from home/ I wonder/if I may ever return/ to my own land
again/ ......to those walls of security/ stunned within my
Khair is at
present with the Department of English at Copenhagen University
(Denmark) and Diwakar resides in California (USA). "Where
Parallel Lines Meet" is Khair’s fourth collection and
"The Tree of Verse" is Diwakar’s first collection of
the parameters of his poetry as "the fragile beauty of the
past preserved in a country (India) which he no longer inhabits,
but in which lives the language of his memory".
There lurks a
sense of guilt somewhere in his person as to why he has left the
country of his birth for avenues abroad.
poems appear to a sort of catharsis of those lived moments in
the company of his kith and kin and childhood mates. The book is
about the self of Khair in which he is reminiscent of Indian
landscapes, his family and also the simple joys of life.
the poet, appears as the role model for a number of poems when
he talks of the everyday happenings in the life of an ordinary
man, "Circus Act, Nimbu-pani Vendor, Corner Shop Repair
Boys, Krishna," and "Kites of Another Kind."
Khair has arrested the sights, scenes and sounds of India in
purely Indian similies.
Heavy as wet
clothes on a line/hangs this evening.
who, dart like wet cats (in CP, New Delhi)
(of the Nimbu-pani Vendor) drew us like flies.
The power of
observation on the part of Khair becomes apparent when he
watches the repair boys locating a defect by "instinct/not
skill" and he is happy about it.
In the poem
"Rope" Khair talks of the importance of
"thread" in the life of every Indian
the arm can mean love or luck/ Thread around thw wrist of a man
recall the knots of duty/ Thread over the shoulder proves one’s
caste......./ It is thus we thread the eye of time, tying/ it
down with strings which web one life.
In this surfeit
of Indian themes in Indian images — The taste of the raw
mangoes, smell of khus, rhythms of remembered ghazals and
rustle of starched saris we find huddled in between beautiful
translation of a famous ghazal of Ghalib, which Ghalib
aficionados are going to lap up.
chahiya ek umar asr hone, tak"
an age to be consummated,
Who then will
live to see your hair unplaited.)
Khair has been
on the Indian English poetry scene for over 10 years now and he
has been the recipient of many prestigious prizes at poetry
* * *
has been an artist extraordinary and a fine exponent of fine
arts like dancing (classical), music (Veena) and to top it all,
she is an architect and has held exhibitions of her paintings in
New York, at the Indian Embassy to the United Nations. Only
poetry was missing from her repertoire and she published "The
Tree of Verse" in the shape and form of an anthology.
And before she could publish it, she has been declared a winner
of the President’s award for literary excellence, USA. The
mind boggles at her achievements in diverse fields of activity.
And she is all of 40 years of age as she reveals in one of her
Will I, at age
forty/clutch at my heart/fall on the pavement/bidding adieu/to a
raw, brutal world/that never did see/all my verse in print.
Tree and time
motif works through the warp and woof of the poems, with pain
providing the helping shoulder.
Pain knows no
direction/pain spreads out/ open-armed, staining/ vacuums of
Time has no
wisdom (no reflectivity of a poet)/it simply moves on and on/
turning youth to decay.
In her meet the
divine and the dreamer in equal measure and she brings the joy
of dance, music, painting and architecture in her poetry. And
she says "I am not a poet by choice, I am compelled and
driven to write and unite with the glorious rhythms of the
cosmos and script the melodies in verse. Life is a tree and my
early planting of poetic seeds has grown into a magnificent
tree, a tree of verse."
I carve images
within a poem £ within sound/strumming it to music/of life on
Dancing to the taala/
I enter into the light of Truth
breath/is a new poem/a new stanza/ each sunlit day,.../is a
symphony of architecture/ (and) this architecture of
time/sculpts matter into tangible harmonies.
She has been a
world traveller and her experiences are recorded in poems with
particular cities in focus.
Reading the two anthologies has
been a rewarding experience. The two poets have been successful
in drawing our attention to the everyday happenings with a touch
indeed is global
Review by Randeep Wadehra
Pathology of Corruption by S.S. Gill. Harper Collins, New Delhi.
Pages XVI+295 Rs 295.
Indira Gandhi tried to justify corruption in her regime by
dubbing it a global phenomenon there was a big-hoo-ha among the
chattering classes. "She has lent legitimacy to sleaze
money," was the dipped-in-horror cry in the political
firmament. But she was only calling in a spade a bloody shovel.
Indeed bribery and its variants can be found in all climes and
times, but it has reached oppressive levels in our polity today.
exploring cultural, historical and structural factors that
influence the growth of corruption, feels that the Hindu view of
wealth "fostered a more accommodative atitude to money and
money making." In support of his thesis he gives example of
the exalted status of Laxmi and Kuber in the Hindu pantheon,
clearly ignoring the fact that Saraswati enjoys much higher
embellishes his argument by quoting from Kautilya’s
Arthashastra, "wealth, and wealth alone is important, as
much as dharma and Kama depend upon artha
for their realisation."
Gill then goes
on to extol the Judeo-Christian worldview wherein poverty is
advocated as a virtue. He does not place the Hindu concept of tyaga
on the same footing as the Christian virtue, for
renunciation is considered a stage that comes after the end of
the money-earning stage in the Hindu way of life.
One finds this
a bit odd. Let us look at the Ramayana where the ideal man, Rama,
renounces all his rights to the throne to lead an austere life,
even though he was aware of the injustice being done to him.
Similiarly, the opening of dharamshalas and gaushalas can
be placed at par with any Christian charitable enterprise.
should have taken into consideration the advent of the Mughal
reign which thrived on corrupt practices like nazrana. This
is not to say that there was no corruption in the pre-Muslim
India. But to blame an entire community, or its socio-cultural
ethos, is a wilful tilting of scales to make a point. This
castigation of a specific community becomes all the more
unnecessary when the author himself acknowledge the universal
nature of corruption.
feels that Nehru had an antipathy towards the rich because of
the Judeo- Christian values that he had imbibed. If he is
referring to Nehru’s socialist policies as a proof of his
entipathy towards the rich, Gill is way off the mark. Socialism
was pure and simple a political necessity as it, on the one
hand, gave Nehru a stateman’s halo and, on the other,
smothered Hindu communalism. Mind you, only Hindu communalism
was targeted, whereas communal elements among minorities were
given a free hand. The result is there for all to see.
While the poor,
thanks to the wooly headed socialism, became nothing more than a
captive vote bank of political parties, the Hindu Right has come
centrestage with a vengeance justifying its excesses as a
reaction to the "minorityism" practised earlier by the
Congress, that "made the Hindus feel as second class
citizens in their own country".
Yet Gill comes
out a transparently sincere person in his narrative. His
well-known leftist leanings might have coloured some of his
views but his pain and anger at the proliferation of corruption
is genuine. Examining the regimes of four Prime Ministers who
had completed a full term in office, he begins with Nehru. He
says that when Nehru took over as Prime Minister there were
"stern warnings" about the menace of corruption.
Then he goes on
to quote S. Radhakrishnan: "Unless we destroy corruption in
high places, root out every trace of nepotism, love of power,
profiteering and black-marketing which have spoiled the good
name of this country in recent times, we will not be able to
raise the standard of efficiency in administration as well as in
the production and distribution of goods of life."
despite such sentiments expressed at the highest
politico-administrative level, the downward slide continued.
Politicians (and their minions in the bureaucracy), who were
either paupers or not well off before the 1947 partition, had
become millionares by 1963 itself, if the then Congress
President D. Sanjivayya’s lament is any evidence. In fact the
jeep scandal in which Krishna Menon was involved had hit the
headlines as early as 1948. Later on the Mundhra case that took
the redoubtable TTK down with it became a precursor of more
sensational scandals later.
We all know
that many a small time businessman became a respectable tycoon
thanks to the license raj that had generated corrupt practices
of mind-boggling dimensions. The Bofors case shocked us not only
because the amount of kickback was colossal, but also due to the
cover-up operations that was carried out at the highest level in
India and Europe.It may be recalled that echoes were heard not
only in Sweden but also in England and elsewhere).
Gill has given
a long list of scandals in the volume under review.
Nevertheless, if you read newspapers you will find that nothing
new is mentioned here. Yet the contents are valuable, given the
short public memory and inordinate delay in the conclusion of
the conviction of Rao and Buta Singh might not ring the bell for
those who began taking interests in newspapers only recently.
Though the reports provide backgrounders for all such
"news, yet chronicles on the type put together by the likes
of Gill become excellent reference material for future
generations, especially when court verdicts come out after a
He has quoted
from CAG reports to prove corruption in political circles. But
the problem is more than political dishonesty. It is the general
public’s amazing readiness to suffer indignities and
corruption in all walks of life that encourages malcontents to
have a free run of our polity.
If you think
that corruption is limited to government departments and
politicians along, think again. What about the gas dealer, the
grocer, the taxi driver and others who devise ingenious ways to
shortchange you? After a smile, a scowl or a whimpered protest
you give in.
When the school
demands a hefty donation you yelp like a whipped puppy, but pay
up. Your child wins a scholarship, which is never disbursed
unless you offer a cut or brandish your clout.
What is the
solution? Complete overhaul of course. Let it, like charity,
begin at home. Gill’s book is an excellent read, forcing you
to think on the lines you would often like to avoid. Buy it!
Play and Win
Kaun Banega Crorepati Quiz Book. Pages 174. Rs 75. How to Win
Kaun Banega Crorepati Contest pages 180. Rs 75. Both edited by
Anuj Goswami and published by Diamond Pocket Books, New Delhi.
the two quiz books deal with the same subject and are edited and
published by the same entities, I have clubbed them for the
purpose of this review.
There was a
time when quiz was a means of healthy entertainment. In our
schools there would be quiz contests between different
"Houses". Both participants and viewers (comprising
teachers and students) would be agog during the Saturday "CCA
periods". The quiz master or mistress would normally be our
social studies teacher.
was answered with nervousness which would perhaps now be felt
only by someone on the verge of winning the one crore prize. But
in those days there was no prize money! What was at stake was
personal pride of the contestants and, of course, the prestige
of the "House". There were no cell phones, no
television and of course computers were abstract monsters in
science fiction in the USA, USSR or Japan, where they were
obviously being used to come up with weapons of mass
Coming back to
the quiz show, the KBC is a tragic distortion of all that is
supposed to be good and decent. Occasionally, one used to watch
the Bournvita Quiz show, invariably ending up biting the
fingernails. Such was (and perhaps still is) the class and
intensity of the contest, even though it was designed for school
Alas! What was
devised as a stimulant for the intellect has become a catalyst
for stirring up baser instincts. Mammon has stormed one more
bastion of Saraswati. A cross-cultural metaphor? Why not, when
the KBC itself is a hybrid product!
Now the Zee TV
is coming up with a Rs 10 crore prize money. Where will it all
end? The latest gimmick to turn you into a couch potato is to
offer cash prizes for answering questions about some vague
occurrence in a particular episode of a soap. You can see
otherwise mentally sound adults holding the cordless or
cellphone in their hands concentrating on the television with
juvenile eagerness. As soon as they find the answer they begin
punching the phone number to be among the first with the answer.
Clearly the idiot box is now for dummies.
Why do we
forget that big money attracts big crime? Look at cricket. As
long as it was an amateur sport, only genuine lovers of the game
followed it. For days together they would discuss the ifs and
buts of the glorious uncertainties of the game. With the arrival
of big money, the politician and the mafia have taken over the
sport administration. Now it has become the game of inglorious
No matter who
the player or the team captain is, you can be sure he will play
as per the instructions given over the cell phone. All
assurances to the contrary be damned. And KBC and its facsimiles
are in crores! One can hear the Chotta Shakeels and Dawood
Ibrahims smack their lips in anticipation.
bloomers galore in the two Quiz Books. For example, on page 67
of the first book leprosy is spelled as lipracy and eradication
as eredication. And these are not printing mistakes, there are
simply too many to blame the poor printer’s devil.
Still if you want to win that
pot of gold, which is now no more at the end of the rainbow but
just a telephone call away, you can buy these two quiz books.
The format privides four choices for each question, and at the
end of the book provides the "correct" answers. Best
Review by M.L. Sharma
Political Ethics of Guru
Granth Sahib by Gurdeep Kaur. Deep and Deep Publications, New
Delhi. Pages 197+xviii. Rs 350.
book under study is a momentous work which has tried to
analyse the gamut of Sikh ethos in the
socio-politico-religious perspective. Her effort has
throughout been to remove the mistrust in social relationship
between people of various faiths, especially the Sikhs and the
Hindus, and explain why polarisation took place between the
Sikh Gurus and Muslim rulers. The rulers of the time could not
realise their (the Gurus’) spiritual strength and they gave
political colouring to their right actions in opposing the sin
and not the sinner.
Gurus were far from being ambitious and never hungry for
political power by hook or by crook. They enjoyed people’s
trust and love and their powerful faith in God. They were
fired with the zeal to see that justice, equality and fairplay
prevailed in the whole social set-up even in times to come.
They were well-versed in all religious faiths and opposed the
rulers when they overreached themselves, by being untrue to
their religious creed. Sikandar Lodhi and Aurangzeb were
religious bigots and let loose a reign of terror and were
overzealous in suppressing Hindu religious practices.
Aurangzeb violated on several occasions the Koranic
took up swords not to oppress people and win territories but
to defend the weak and the oppressed. As a matter of fact,
they did not start a new faith but set a model on the basis of
ethics and higher morality for those Hindus who believed in
evil practices of social and religious oppression like
untouchability and were creating a wedge between the higher
and lower castes.
ideals which sought to bridge the gap between men of various
faiths and cement ties between the Hindus, the Muslims and the
Sikhs, actually divided the people.
It is in this
area that Gurdeep Kaur has done well to present a
comprehensive and unbiased picture so that right conclusions
could be drawn to create new awareness in social
relationships. A student of political philosophy, she has
handled the subject with great understanding and in a
forthright manner. Her concept of Hinduism as a federation of
religious is well taken.
It was Guru
Arjan Dev (1581-1606) who become both the spiritual guide and
temporal authority. This fifth Guru was the founder of
Miri-Piri idea. Which came intopractice during the life of his
successor. The Guru used to be called by the Sikhs to be
"Sacha Patsha" (real emperor) of Miri and Piri (symbolised
by two swords). "The political implications of this new
society forced the Mughal power to take increasing notice of
it. Jahangir saw in the growing popularity of the Guru and his
teachings a threat to his authority".
of Guru Arjan Dev hardened the struggle, it sowed the
"seeds" of the coming militarisation and of a
potential Sikh empire". His successor and son Guru
Hargobind (1606-1645), regenerated the spirit of struggle in
Sikh youth. In 1609 he built the Akal Takht as a rival state
authority. The Guru lived a royal life and sat on a throne
like Kings of those times. Though 11-year-old at the time of
succession, he was a dynamo of energy and a man of great
vision. The cults of bhakti and shakti were
propounded by this young Guru.
It was Guru
Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, (1675-1708) who boosted the
efforts of warriorship set in motion by Guru Hargobind.
Guru established his court as an adjunct of Miri. He used to
hold a sitting sitting on a throne with the emblems or royalty
like kalgi,takht, chanwar, nagara and nishan. He
pledgedto crush the tyrants so that he could protect those in
distress and to "overcome and destroy the
evil-doers". He believed in the divine origin of
authority and established the Khalsa Panth of saint-soldiers,
not to conquer but to liberate society from tyranny and
The Panth and
the Granth are inter-related. From Akal Takht,the seat of
temporal authority, hukamnamas are issued. All decisions
affecting the whole community are made at a meeting of the
Panth and they are called Gurmatas, which are binding on all
those who profess faith in the Khalsa of Guru Granth Sahib.
Even Guru Gobind Singh had bowed before the common verdict of
the Panth on two occasions even against his own superior
The Sikh Guru
used to fight for what is right and it is wrong to assume that
they fought for the protection of the Hindus alone. Guru Har
Rai came to the rescue of Dara Shikoh because he was a
rightminded, person God-fearing man. Guru Arjan Dev had
earlier supported Khusrau inviting Jahangir’s annoyance and
vindictiveness. Guru Hargobind taught the Sikhs to "fight
and face the fanatic, the bigot, the cruel and the barbaric,
be he a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian or a Sikh". But it
must be borne in mind that the Gurus considered war as a last
resort and in war the rules of war were strictly and sincerely
of halemi-raj, based on equalitarianism and
egalitarianism, is a kin to Ramrajya, Plato’s concept of
philosopher-King and Laski’s ideal of social justice. It is
on this concept of halemi-raj, the political philosophy
of the Sikh Gurus can be traced. Thus halemi-raj like
Ramrajya is "an Utopian projection where peace, order,
security and justice prevail".
Bansawali Nama, the rule of Guru Amar Das (1552-1574) was
Utopian and he had established an ideal state based on the
Sikh ideology. There was "all-round prosperity and the
subjects were infused with virtuous conduct". As in
Ramrajya so in his rule, it is said, nobody suffered. Morality
prevailed and righteousness guided. the common behaviour of
Epilogue, the writer has admitted that there is "no solid
coherent base for formulating a creative political theory. The
effort here has been to weave together unrelated political
themes in the general pattern of a religious discourse. Her
secular views and faith in Vedanta, which she believes, will
provide guidance for tomorrow’s world. Listen to her:
"In a way, it (Hinduism) is a federation of religious
whereas Sikhism has emerged in more recent times as a
reformative branch of Hinduism against a number of evils and
superstitions" and, "References to tales, like that
of (Raja) Janak as selfless ruler, Rama and Krishna as
embodiments of virtues and Janak-raj as an ideal relationships
are quite in evidence in the Gurbani texts creating an
impression of the intimacy between Sikhism and Hinduism,
between halemi-raj and Ramrajya and so on". The
Sikh Gurus even excelled Rousseau in laying stress on equality
and brotherhood because they had the spiritual and divine side
in their view. They had no trust in the Machiavellian
The well-written book will
create new awareness among those who want to get a clear
picture of Hindu-Sikh-Muslim relations. The title of the book
seems to be misleading. It ought to have been "Political
Ethics of Sikh Gurus" instead of "Political Ethics
of Guru Granth Sahib".
military genius and a good ruler
Review by Gurdarshan
Bahadur and his Times By Raj Pal Singh. Harman Publishing
House, New Delhi. Pages 121. Rs 220.
arose in the 16th century as a new revolutionary ideology
which revolted against the religious hypocrisy of the priest
and the political oppression of the contemporary rulers. The
significance of the Guru’s message lies in emphasising the
role of religion as an instrument of social and political
Singh created the Khalsa whereby he gave to his followers a
dynamic programme of action. He kindled that spark in their
hearts which impelled them to break the shackles of
socio-political slavery. They were filled with a lofty longing
for freedom and ascendancy. The Guru’s call was for the
dilverance of his followers from religious and political
bondage, for justice and human rights. The rise of the Khalsa
carried a new message of hope. People looked eagerly to the
rise of a messiah who would deliver them from the
socio-political persecution of the contemporary rulers and
tyranny and oppression of the invaders. The emergence of Banda
Bahadur on the scene was not a freak of history and must be
viewed in its true perspective.
under review by Raj Pal Singh gives a biographical account of
Banda Bahadur, his historic mission and his glorious
achievements. The author begins the study by tracing the
development of Sikhism under the ten Gurus and the creation of
the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh. Banda anascetic in the
beginning was later nurtured in the Sikh ideology and cast in
the mould of a soldier. He was deputed by the tenth Guru to
fight against the oppressive Mughals and set his countrymen
free from slavery. His mission was to establish the Khalsa raj.
Banda was a
brilliant commander who released a new dynamic force among his
soldiers and taught them how to fight and conquer. Scavengers,
barbers, carpenters and the lowest of the low in Indian
estimation came under Banda’s spell and joined his army.
In his effort
to establish Sikh sovereignty, Banda performed prodigies of
valour. The story of the success of his military adventures
became the focus of attention all over the country. His
capture of Sirhind was a landmark in his career. Thereafter he
soon occupied the major chunk of territory between the Satluj
and the Yamuna rivers and established his headquarters at
decisive victories, Banda was able to shake the foundations of
the Mughal empire. He broke the myth of invincibility of the
Mughals. The land between Lahore and Panipat lay practically
at Banda’s feet.
gives a detailed analysis of the nature and functioning of the
state founded by Banda Bahadur. Banda replaced the Mughal
administration by establishing his own police posts and
revenue officials. He earned the goodwill of the people by
abolishing the zamindari system. He conferred ownership rights
on petty cultivators. Although he hardly got any respite in
his military career, he paid the minutest attention to
ameliorate the lot of the common people in his realm.
the cause of the weak and the down-trodden and became a
champion of the oppressed. He earned the gratitude of the
peasants by releasing them from feudal vaxations. They also
sympathised with him and quite a big segment of them came
forward to join the Khalsa. He conveyed to the people at large
that a welfare state of their dreams had been established and
that unjust officials had been replaced by the just who would
respect the aspirations of the oppressed and the wronged.
does not agree with the view held by some people that Banda
was guilty of violating the injunctions of the tenth Guru.
Banda took special care to see that he carried out his promise
to the Guru in letter and spirit.
gives evidence to prove that Banda never acted contrary to the
wishes of the Gurus. Banda gave strict instructions that the
conduct of the Sikhs in the liberated areas was to be in
strict conformity with the principles laid down by Guru Gobind
Singh at the time of their initiation into the order of the
The view held
by some writers that Banda tried to assume personal power to
the neglect of the Khalsa is also erroneous.It is well-known
that Banda struck coins in the name of Guru Nanak and Guru
Gobind Singh. Banda’s official seal also depicted similar
respect and attributed the victory of degh (kettle for
services) and tegh (strength of the sword-arm) to the
blessings of the Gurus. Credit for his victories and dazzling
successes was given to the Gurus and the Khalsa.
It was a
clear attempt at self-effacement and avoidance of any personal
elevation even at the peak of his glory. Even in the midst of
power and splendour, Banda never liked to be the overlord of
the Khalsa. There was no question of his even dreaming of
establishing a separate sect or pretending to be Guru himself.
His notable humility and self-effacement were in keeping with
the scriptural injunction laid down by the Guru:
"Exercise forbearance in the midst of power, and be
humble in the midst of honour."
has paid a well deserved tribute to Banda Bahadur as a great
military genius, a benevolent ruler and a crusader for
justice. There was a tremendous disparity in numbers and
resources between Banda and his enemies but the way he and his
chosen companions fougth against a whole host of the opposing
troops has hardly a parallel. With his indomitable spirit,
Banda defied three Mughal emperors in succession and carved
out an independent Sikh state between the river Jhelum and
Jamuna. He lived and died like a hero, refusing to be cowed
down by the overwhelming force or his circumstances.
accomplished his mission in Punjab, he seized upon an
opportunity of confronting the Mughal forces in their capital.
After withstanding a prolonged siege in the mud fortress of
Gurdas Nangal in 1715, he finally gave himself up along with
his companions, in stead of attempting an escape by cutting
the enemy live.
with which Banda and his men suffered the worst kind of
brutalities at the hands of their tormentors left their
contemporaries awe struck. They kept their tumost cool even in
the face of imminent death. None of them renounced his faith
to save his life.
Banda and his
men carried on the glorious traditions of sacrifices and
martyrdom for the cause of righteousness handed down to them
by the Gurus. It was Banda’s great legacy which led to the
future struggle of the Sikhs in the face of worst persecution
in the turbulent 18th century and sustained the vision of Guru
Raj Pal Singh
has attempted a good evaluation of Banda Bahadur’s
multifaceted personality, his many-sided attainments and his
unique place in history. He has made useful contribution to
our understanding of a great hero whose role in history has
not been adequately highlighted. The book is bound to
encourage academicians to undertake further detailed research
in this area.
Roots of RSS
is a concept dating back to the age of mythology. Its nearest
contemporary equivalent can be "think-tank" although
it neither conveys the same meaning nor inspires the same
degree of awe and wonder. No think-tank in the world today can
claim divine sanction behind it like Vashisht or Vishwamitra
are invested with in the Ramayana. Their verdict on the duties
of the ruler, the raj-dharma, had to be unquestioningly
accepted and carried out by the ruler. If governance fell
short of responsibility, in meeting the challenge of an
invading enemy or in helping people face natural or man-made
calamities, the ruler (raja) was held responsible and not the
rajguru (his mentor). The latter was beyond reproach, beyond
for the inadequacy or misdemeanour of the ruler was not
administered by the people who suffered, as happens in a
democratic polity but by the rajguru (or his associate) in the
form of a divine curse. It was thus an institution above the
ruler (raja) who, in turn, stood above the ruled (praja). A
force standing between earth and heaven, negotiating with
heavenly beings the fate of the denizens of a particular
institution has no place anywhere today except in autocratic
theocracies where the rulers wield authority supposedly
derived from some power above the humanity over which they
rule. India, the largest democracy in the world today, has the
unique distinction (if the phenomenon could be so called) of
having a party — the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP — which
proudly claims to have a rajguru and yet enjoys the right of
acquiring power to govern the country.
Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has been described as the rajguru not
by any of its detractors but by one of its ardent followers,
K.R. Malkani who edited the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, for
nearly half a century. Malkani, now a member of the Rajya
Sabha is currently a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha and is
considered to be the most authentic voice of the RSS.
it from the other parties in the country’s political life he
wrote in Organiser in 1979: "Fact is that RSS is not
political. It is, if I may coin a word, meta-political. It is
not interested in power as such but it is very much interested
in the factors and forces that go into the making of a country’s
politics. It is interested in the people and their character,
in our culture and its integrity, in the country and its unity
and strength, but stands above and beyond politics, like some
kind of an institutional Rajguru."
What is the
meaning of "meta-political"? What are the
implications of the RSS standing "above and beyond
politics"? It is important to understand the nature and
character of this organisation because it has been seen to
guide and control the party (BJP) which has been the largest
party in the Indian Parliament since 1996, the leader of the
ruling alliance between March, 1998, and April, 1999, and has
again won the mandate in the recently held elections in
presently the Home Minister and the most important leader of
the BJP, likes to proudly present his party as a party with a
difference". Experience has shown that the conduct and
behaviour of the party and its members has not been very
different from other players in the political field.
In matters of
low intrigue, valting ambition, unprincipled compromises,
corruption of all variety and breaking promises to people the
BJP has not proved to be any different from other parties.
Rather it seems to have surpassed them all in those respects.
Even more in respect of camouflaging its intentions through
sheer demagogy, the BJP can claim to have the most well-oiled
and well-managed propaganda machinery at its disposal.
description of Malkani implies that politics is all about
pursuit of power for its own sake and all political parties
and persons are in the business of acquiring and wielding,
power for enjoying the fruits thereof. But can an organisation
"very much interested in factors and forces that go into
the making of a country’s politics", be disinterested
in determining who comes up in the game of politics and will
its political preference be altogether motiveless? Such a
phenomenon can exist in imagination, in fiction or in
mythology. In practical life it only means that the
organisation would prefer remote control that helps exercise
of power without owning responsibility as happens in
sometimes degenerate to justify the cynical view of it held by
Malkani but it is not the essence of it. Not in India where
politics has been guided by Gandhi who adopted politics as a
means to serve humanity. Apologists of the RSS often compare
the relationship of Gandhi with Congress as justification for
its supra-party position. Gandhi wielded enormous influence
over the Congress even though he had relinquished even its
primary membership, they say and argue: "If Gandhi’s
position was acceptable, what is wrong with the influence of
the RSS over a party prepared to accept its diktat."
It is total
distortion of the position. In the first place, Gandhi had not
created the Congress as an instrument of achieving his own
aims or goals. He had accepted the aims and objects of the
Congress — struggling for the human right of all the Indian
people by uniting them on the basis of certain principles.
What he influenced was the methodology of struggle, not
through armed insurrection or violent agitation or through
compromise with unjust and oppressive imperialist
administration in return for concessions, the then prevailing
modes of struggle of the extremists and the moderates. Through
gruelling discussions backed by practical demonstration he
brought the Congress round to accepting his proposed strategy
of non violent civil disobedience or satyagraha and
non-cooperation backed by a wide-ranging programme of social
reconstruction, including communal, harmony, annihilation of
hierarchical caste distinction, rural upliftment, women’s
emancipation, et al. There is ample evidence to prove that he
never demanded or even appreciated unquestioning loyalty or
obedience and never hesitated to confess his mistake or
incorrect understanding. That is why the best minds of his
time heard him with respect. That is why his message of
integral unity of means and ends echoes around the globe as
the most relevant to the wellbeing of mankind.
It is not so
with the RSS. Had its founder(s) been able to convince any of
the existing political organisations of its aims and methods
they would not have launched a separate project. Even where
the ideological difference did not exist, with the Hindu
Mahasabha for example, it did not agree with its method, the
method of garnering public support through open public debate.
Unlike Gandhi, the RSS does not submit itself to the scrutiny
either of the party it controls or of the public at large.
Madhu Limaye it enjoys a sort of "supra-party"
status. R.L. Nigam, a socialist leader, objected to the method
of the RSS as a harbinger of authoritarianism. In an article
published by the weekly Radical Humanist, he wrote: "RSS
certainly has a right to its view and to its programme. That
is not denied. What is being objected to is its method, which
is far from straight. Let the RSS frankly come forward as a
political party with its own ideology and programme, play the
game according to the rules. What I find obnoxious is its
practice of trotting political Trojan Horses while all the
time proclaiming to be only a cultural organisation."
the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh insist that it is a purely
cultural organisation and has nothing to do with politics. How
far is this claim true?
If one looks
at the speeches they make and the activities they indulge in,
it is not possible to agree with them. They have an ideology,
which is nothing if not political. The workers of the RSS have
been working only for the Jana Sangh, and after that for the
BJP, although its leaders continue to sell the myth that they
were free to join any political party. In fact, the Jana Sangh
(or BJP) and the RSS are interchangeable terms if one sees the
workers and members of the two. The only difference is that
some people who for some reasons cannot participate in open
political activity work through the RSS alone while others are
common to both.
The RSS is an
organisation which has definite political aims but it does not
consider the normal democratic processes fit for achieving
those aims. It is no canard, for Golwalkar had himself
declared in so many words that democracy and democratic
processes have no meaning for him. On page 18 of his book
"Bunch of Thoughts" he wrote: "The concept of
democracy as being ‘by the people’ and ‘of the people’
meaning that all are equal shares in the political
administration, is to a very large extent only a myth in
democratic mode of functioning he said: "The system...
breeds two evils — self-praise and vilification of others
— that poison the peace and tranquility of human mind and
disrupt the mutual harmony of individual in society".
This is a
peculiar instance of self-projection, Golwalkar saw others in
his own image. If self-praise and vilification of others were
the only two features of democracy, then Guru Golwalkar would
be the greatest democrat in India. He considered Gandhi and
Nehru as traitors and the whole national movement a perversity
of minds because of which the Hindus got "defeated"
in 1947. Indian political parties are mere imitation of the
West and the whole West is stinking with materialism. He was
the only hope of Hindu regeneration and, through the forceof
Hindudom, the hope of humanity. A little further I would give
relevant quotations to prove that this view about Golwalkar is
no imaginary creation of my imagination but the very essence
of his thought and action.
On behalf of
the RSS it is claimed that it is not a political but a
cultural organisation, a civilising force. Now culture and
civilisation, whether religious or secular, are universal not
confined to any particular territorial entity or race.
Contrarily the RSS insists on its territoriality denying,
unlike Gandhi, essential oneness of all religions wherever
born. The BJP today, seeks to deny the right to equality of
citizenship to citizens born outside India by proposing to
change the Constitution to declare such individuals unfit for
the three highest positions in the State structure.
significant to note that the RSS ideologue Golwalkar had high
praise for racist practice of the Nazis. If participation in
democratic activities for the administration and development
of the nation is political activity, then certainly the RSS is
not a political party. And if Hitler’s fascism was pure
cultural activity, it is a purely cultural organisation. For,
that seems to be the only model they want to emulate. This is
what Golwalkar wrote in his book, "We: Our Nationhood
Defined" which was first published in 1939.
race-pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up the
purity of the race and its culture, Germany, shocked the world
by her purging the country of the semetic races — the Jews.
Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany
has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for races and
cultures, having differences going to the root, to be
assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in
Hindustan to learn and profit by."
in the year 1939 when Hitler had plunged the world into the
flames of war, when the whole humanity, with the exception of
Hitler’s paid fifth columnists abroad, were unanimous in
their condemnation of Nazi Germany. I cannot say whether the
RSS and its Guruji were paid by Hitler or his agents. But that
they get inspiration from him is unmistakable. Also
unmistakable is the tendency to emulate Hitler’s heirs. Is
not the attitude of RSS towards Pakistan the same as of
revenge-seeking neo-Nazis of Germany today?
That is the
type of cultural organisation that RSS is. Call it cultural or
political, it was this character of the organisation that had
compelled the Government of India in 1984 to declare it
unlawful. The resolution stated that the step had been taken
with determination "to root out the forces of hate and
violence that are at work in our country and imperil the
freedom of the nation and darken her fair name.
Way back in
1948 Govind Sahay, a Congress leader and parliamentary
secretary in the UP government, had written a booklet on the
basis of his study of the RSS technique. In that he compares
its technique with that of the Nazi Party. It is not just the
technique but the whole approach that reminds one of fascists.
feature of the RSS organisation is that it rarely appears in
public and hardly ever does it function in its own name. The
RSS is only a breeding ground for cadres who carry its ideas
and attitudes in different fields of life through various
specially set up front organisations. The RSS does not draw
its cadres from fronts; it only provides cadres who act as
conveyers of ideas and controllers of the fronts on behalf of
the parent organisation.
The need for
this modus operandi was felt only after independence when the
RSS got exposed after Gandhi’s murder. Its leaders and
mentors then realised that it was not possible for them to
infiltrate into other political, economic and social
organisations. The Congress, under the leadership of
Jawaharlal Nehru, had become vigilant about them and barred
the entry of the RSS into its ranks.
After the ban
on the RSS was lifted in 1949, the leadership calculatedly
embarked upon forming a network of front organisations which
could serve as the cover for infiltration of the RSS thinking
and cadres into various spheres of life and sections of
organisations in practically every field of life were floated
under innocuous names. The fields covered are schools and
college managements, student unions, labour unions, news
agencies and religious organisations, etc.
One of the
basic features of fascism is revivalist attitude eulogising
one identifiable group — namely, one race, one religion or
this attitude a hate complex is to be developed against
another identifiable group or groups. In Germany, Hitler tried
to exploit the sentiments of the German nation by treating the
Aryan race as superior and denigrating the Jews as an object
brought into the actual life almost everything that was
beneficial to mankind. Then the rest of humanity was just a
biped and so no distinctive name was given to us. Sometimes in
trying to distinguish our people from others, we were called
the enlightened, the Aryans and the rest, the Mlechhas."
The RSS is
fed on the myth that the Hindus alone are the true sons of the
soil and Hindu culture is the only symbol of Indian
nationhood. By a sleight of hand, Golwalkar identifies India
with the Hindu people. He preaches the doctrine that this
great country of ours of one natural unit.
This type of
fascist image-building needs an object of hatred; the minimum
that could be called for was to deride such object as
culturally inferior. The RSS as an organisation has been
indulging in the dirty game of slander and calumny against all
non-Hindus living in India. On the foundation of this hatred,
the Sangh tries to build up a cadre saturated with the poison
of communalism. The philosophy of RSS in relation to
non-Hindus is that (1) they are inferior as a race; (2) they
are only aliens or invaders; and (3) they should lose identity
by conversion or merger in Hindu culture.
to the above is that non-Hindus could not be trusted or relied
upon until they submerged themselves in Hindu community’s
way of life.
minorities Golwalkar says: "In fact we are Hindus even
before we emerge from the womb of our mothers. We are,
therefore, born as Hindus. About the others they are born to
this world as simple unnamed human beings and later on, either
circumcised or baptised, they become Muslims or
the RSS all inhabitants of this country professing non-Hindu
faiths are enemies of this country. The RSS laments that the
Muslims do not celebrate Hindu festivals and do not worship
Hindu gods. The RSS believes that with the change of faith the
love for the country or the nation disappears.
of the Muslim community runs through the entire ideology of
the RSS. Golwalkar says, "Their (Muslims’) history of
the past one thousand two hundred years, full of incidents of
destruction, depredation and all sorts of barbaric atrocities,
is there before our eyes. In the present day a large Muslim
population in our country is one of the results of the fatal
devastation that they wrought all over the land. Not only the
broken monuments but these pieces of a broken society also are
equally an evidence of their vandalism. What has our good
behaviour towards the Muslim faith and the Muslim people
brought us? Nothing but desecration of our holy places and
enslavement of our people."
The RSS has
been hammering the idea that Pakistan was created as a
homeland for Muslims and every Muslim residing today in India
should have migrated to the newly created state. According to
the Sangh, all Muslims who have opted to stay behind owe their
loyalty to Pakistan and are enemies of the homeland. For the
RSS, "wherever there is a masjid or Muslim mohalla, the
Muslims feel that it is their own independent territory".
RSS declares, "All such pockets are so many miniature
In an article
in Organiser on 7.9.1962, the paper quotes a speech of
Eknath Ranade, another top leader of the RSS, as saying,
"These converts to Islam and Christianity not only
changed their mode of worship but they turned their back on
all that was indigenous-the history of the land, the culture
of the land, the tradition of this land."
enough these efforts at denigration are extended even to
Jainism and Buddhism: "So far as Jainism and Buddhism are
concerned they have never made any contribution to social and
political thought as such, we have not inherited any
arthashastras (politics and economics) or dharmashastras
(Social law) from them. All we have from them are the various mokshashastras
pertaining to the supreme salvation of the individual
anti-Muslim attitude of the RSS goes to the extent of dubbing
even Urdu language as a foreign language though historically,
the birth place of Urdu is India and the greatest number of
Urdu speaking people are found in this country.
The above facts very clearly
indicate that the RSS believes in Hindu hegemony over all
other minorities. The solution that the RSS presents for
upgrading the status of minorities is that they should live
here claiming no citizenship right. Either they convert to
Hinduism or claim nothing.