The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, October 15, 2000

Attractive theme, attractive book
Review by

Then hills, now hill stations
Review by
Padam Ahlawat

This "alien" heart beats for India
Review by
R.P. Chaddah

Corruption indeed is global
Review by
Randeep Wadehra

Deep-rooted secular ethos
Review by
M.L. Sharma

A rare military genius and a good ruler
Review by
Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon

Roots of RSS authoritarian ideology
Book extract

Attractive 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.

HERE 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.

Nikky-Gurinder 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.

The description 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.

Patwant Singh’s 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.

"Ranjit 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.

Another chapter 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.

B.N. Goswamy 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.

The 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.

Ian Knight 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.

The Maharaja 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.

David Jones 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 the colonialists.

The writer writes with emotion about the confusion of the young child who had the best of material comforts but lacked emotional comforts.

His conversion, 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.

B.N. Goswamy’s "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 plea.

F.S. Aijazuddin’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 mysterious.

Susan Strong 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.

The 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 Maharaja.

This book 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.


Then hills, now hill stations
Review by Padam Ahlawat

Essays on Urban Patterns in Nineteenth Century, Himachal Pradesh, by Pamela Kanwar. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Shimla. Page 137. Rs 150

THE language and style of the essay read more like research their, than a book for the general reader. Its appeal is consequently narrowed down.

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.

The villages 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.

The ridges 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.

The most 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.

The Boat 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.

Travellers 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.

Pressure of 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.

The British 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 schools.

The forest 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 for railways.

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.

The hill 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.

The author 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.


This "alien" heart beats for India
Review by R.P. Chaddah

Where 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.

THE 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.

Tabias Khair 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 homeland.

I shall 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)


I wander/far flung from home/ I wonder/if I may ever return/ to my own land again/ those walls of security/ stunned within my memories. (Diwakar)

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 verse.

Khair defines 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.

The 60-odd 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.

Sarojini Naidu, 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.


And pedestrians who, dart like wet cats (in CP, New Delhi)


Dirty drinks (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

Thread around 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.

"Aah ko chahiya ek umar asr hone, tak"

Desire demands 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 competitions.

* * *

Deepti Diwakar 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 poems.

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 nothingness.


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 my veena


Dancing to the taala/ I enter into the light of Truth


This life’s 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 of poetry.


Corruption indeed is global
Review by Randeep Wadehra

The Pathology of Corruption by S.S. Gill. Harper Collins, New Delhi. Pages XVI+295 Rs 295.

WHEN 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.

Gill, while 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 esteem.

He further 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.

Perhaps, Gill 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.

Likewise, Gill 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."

However, 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 court cases.

For example, 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 long trial.

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.

Since 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.

Each question 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 destruction.

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 children.

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 certainties.

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.

Spelling 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 of luck!


Deep-rooted secular ethos
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.

THE 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.

The Sikh 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 injunctions.

The Gurus 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.

Thus those 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".

The martyrdom 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.

The tenth 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 terror.

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 judgements.

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 followed.

The concept 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".

According to 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 the people.

In the 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 approach.

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".


A rare military genius and a good ruler
Review by Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon

Banda Bahadur and his Times By Raj Pal Singh. Harman Publishing House, New Delhi. Pages 121. Rs 220.

SIKHISM 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 liberation.

Guru Gobind 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.

The book 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 Lohgarh.

With his 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.

The author 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.

He espoused 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.

The author 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.

The author 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 Khalsa.

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."

The author 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.

Having 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.

The composure 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 Gobind Singh.

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.


Book extract
Roots of RSS authoritarian ideology

RAJGURU 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 human frailty.

Punishment 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 territory.

Such an 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.

The Rashtriya 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.

Distinguishing 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 September-October, 1999.

L.K. Advani, 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.

The 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 democracy.

Politics may 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.

According to 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."

Leaders of 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 practice."

About the 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.

It is 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.

"German 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."

This was 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.

A peculiar 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 people.

Various front 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 one community.

To sustain 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 of hatred.

"We had 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.

The corollary 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.

About 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 Christians."

According to 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.

Deep hatred 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 Pakistans".

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."

Surprisingly 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 soul.

This the 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.