‘The man who sowed the dragon seeds of hatred’

L.K. Advani‘s memoirs My Country, My Life is a remarkable literary effort, more remarkable than literary.

Its timing, on the eve of an election for which he is a prime ministerial candidate, is intended to air-brush his legacy and keep him in the mind’s-eye of voters, like the tell-all tomes of American presidential hopefuls. Its size is intended to show how different he is from others of his ilk, that they don’t make them like him any more. And its economy with the truth, even at the risk of alienating friends and colleagues, suggests a serious desire to pull a halo over his head, come hell or high water or both.

From a media perspective, though, two things stand out. One, the ease with which the 80-year-old Loh Purush allowed his eyes to well up for the benefit of the (pseudo-secular) English news channel cameras. And two, the extraordinary reverence with which (pseudo-secular) English interviewers and reviewers have treated him, as if they have been handed a tablet from the high heavens. Ram bhakt (as Atal Behari Vajpayee used to call Advani) may think that having reshaped the grammar of India’s politics, he has now earned his right to be looked upon as a “statesman”.

But do the titans of television have to wear kid gloves while jostling with a glowering giant?

Does every MP elected from Gandhinagar necessarily get blessed with the attributes of the man after whom the City and the constituency are named? Merely because he gives convoluted answers while meaningfully rubbing his palms to even simple questions, can Advani wipe away a trail littered with the blood stains of innocent Indians slaughtered at the altar of majority communalism? Can he divorce himself from his seminal role in the institutionalisation of hate—the demonisation of the other—as the dominant feature of the discourse?

Can the emperor’s new clothes (stitched by a ghost with enormous stamina to last 986 pages) blind us to the fact that he was naked in the hamaam not too long ago?

It takes 95-year-old Khushwant Singh to call the bluff on the “man who sowed the dragon seeds of hatred”. In the latest issue of Outlook, the “dirty old man of Indian journalism”, who signed Advani’s nomination papers after the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 but fell out with him after the Ayodhya movement in early 1990s, provides some much-needed perspective:

# My disenchantment began after he launched his rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. When he was Union home minister, I said on his face, “Mr Advani, you sowed the dragon seeds of hatred in this country….” In his address, he said he would answer my charges at a more appropriate time. I hoped to find them in his autobiography; they are not there.

# I turned the pages to see what he had to say about Mahatma Gandhi who remains the national touchstone to test political and moral decisions. He tells us that the RSS held Gandhi in high esteem and he, in turn, praised its military discipline. When Gandhi heard that cadres of the RSS were also involved in communal riots and took on Muslim hoodlums in street battles which erupted periodically, he sent for the sarsanghchalak.

The latter explained, “If we object to the conduct of some Muslims in our society, it is not because they follow Islam but rather because of their lack of loyalty to India. The partition of India has proven us right. Therefore to call the RSS anti-secular is to show one’s ignorance of what secularism stands for and what the RSS stands for.” Advani adds: “This was my first lesson in secularism. I was twenty-one then.”…

If the RSS is secular, how many Muslims and Christians does it have on its rolls?

# Advani was 14 years old when he enrolled himself as a worker of the RSS in Karachi. His views on secularism are naive beyond belief. He tries to equate Gandhi’s concept of Ram rajya in which all religions will be treated with equal respect—sarva dharma samabhava—with the RSS concept of Hindutva, “a noble concept,” according to him. The RSS was suspect in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. His assassin had been a member of the organisation. Advani tells us that on Gandhi’s murder the RSS was ordered to observe 13 days of mourning.

# He, more than anyone else, sensed that Islamophobia was deeply ingrained in the minds of millions of Hindus and it only needed a spark to set it ablaze…. Advani claims that breaking the [Babri] mosque was not on his agenda and he actually sent Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati from the dais to plead with the breakers to desist. If that is so, why were the two seen embracing each other and rejoicing when the nefarious task was completed?

Advani records the jubilation that followed at the site and along his triumphal return to Delhi. Repercussions were felt over the world: Hindu and Sikh temples were targeted by irate Muslims from Bangladesh to UK. Relations between Hindus and Muslims have never been the same in India. There were communal confrontations in different parts of the country: the serial blasts in Bombay, the attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra and the massacre of innocent Muslims in Gujarat can all be traced back to the fall of the Babri Masjid.

# Advani has quite a lot to say about Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat. He exonerates him from the charge of allowing the massacre of innocent Muslims following the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra. It is a symbiotic relationship: Modi helps Advani win elections from Gandhinagar in Gujarat; Advani stands by Modi whenever his conduct comes under question from the higher echelons of the BJP.

# Either we remain a secular state envisaged by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru or we succumb to Advani’s interpretation of it and become the Hindu Secular Socialist Republic of Bharatvarsha. Perish the thought.

Read the full review: Ghost burial that wasn’t to be

Photograph: courtesy NDTV

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Is L.K. Advani lying on IC-814?

Vir Sanghvi: Advani’s Hindutva versus Modi‘s Hindutva

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45 Responses to “‘The man who sowed the dragon seeds of hatred’”

  1. nilesh Says:

    Khuswant singh has also mentioned advani as a clean politician. Is this not enough.

    Every political party has blood on its hands. The question is which actions were in national interest and which were for personal

  2. goutam Says:

    India all out 76 at Ahamadabad. Narendra Modi. Advani and Hindutva are responsible for this. INC should take stern action about this!!

  3. shreeram Says:

    Breaking news…… Attack on the Newyork WTC twin towers(9/11) was also in response to demolition of babri masjid.. the attackers who destroyed babri masjid had used tools which were made in USA…

  4. vikram Kamath Says:

    Compare to his contemporaries except the communist We can call Advani a leader with clear vision of where he belongs to. We have seen leaders from other parties and in BJP itself (likes of AB Vajpayee) him self sitting on the fence and don’t know where to go. They shift their gears as the occasion permits. Congress all along became a hidden wolf for Hindus as Muslims and Christian vote banks clearly on their mind. Others are not even worth of mentioning.

    At least Advani has clear views on which side he belongs to and which side he don’t. Many people raised Jinna issue and try to malign his Hindu leader reputation which he still struggles to come out clean. To date i certainly prefer him than any other leader, just because he is knows clearly where he stands.

  5. desi homosapien Says:

    Though 15 to 20 years have passed since Babri Masjid demolition, the blood on Advani’s hands have not dried yet. It should not. For, nothing can compensate for the thousands of lives that were lost in post-Babri Masjid demolition carnage.

    He should not become the Prime Minister of the country at any cost !

  6. Aatmasakshi Says:

    It is a sad reflection of the Indian media if the first proper critique of L.K. Advani’s book should come from Khushwant Singh and that too just by reading it using the index pages! Where are the Inder Malhotras, Nihal Singhs, H.K. Duas, M.J. Akbars—people who have lived through the very times Advani chronicles? Advani needs a much more thorough and objective appraisal than Khushwant’s but it is a start.

    The Commutwits will of course find it tempting to pin Advani down on the Kandahar controversy, and so on. But to give the devil his due, Advani’s role in redrawing political contours of the country and consolidating the Hindu votebank, while making minority appeasement a bad word, cannot be underestimated.

    “Hate” has clearly been a potent weapon in the Hindutwits’ armoury. But hasn’t blood been the carpet on which post-Emergency Indian politics has been built? It has required innocent people to be slayed to propitiate the demons and 1984, 1992, 2002, are only the most vivid examples. If it’s all done in the name of the gods—human and otherwise—why would Advani have any remorse, Khushwant or no Khushwant?

  7. Mysore Boy Says:

    With due respect to Mr. Khushwant Singh’s scholarship, the fact is Hindutva clearly recognizes “sarva dharma samabhav” – the central tenet of Vedantic Hindism or “Sanatan Dharma.” Hindutva is an operational response to the illogical evangelism, or bullying, of the Islamic/Christian traditions.

    Anyone who cares to read H.V. Sheshadri’s book on the RSS, or the editorials by Hedgewar or Pt. Upadhyay or Golwalkar, knows that Hindutva is an inclusive, respectful, philosophy. Hindutva can be a way of life for not just Hindus and Buddhists, but for Muslims and Christians as well.

    What was Pt. Nehru’s secularism but a political packaging of Hindutva designed to assuage unfounded fears of the Muslim community. With due respect again, Mr. Nehru’s ad hoc politics deeply hurt genuine secularism (not only in India but in Tibet as well).

  8. mayura Says:

    >>Relations between Hindus and Muslims have never been the same in India. There were communal confrontations in different parts of the country: the serial blasts in Bombay, the attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra and the massacre of innocent Muslims in Gujarat can all be traced back to the fall of the Babri Masjid.
    >>

    Great discovery by this bewdaa unemployed sardaar. When was the hindu muslim relation ever normal in India, ever since the muslim tyaranny began from mohd, ghori down to the present day ghori’s like MAJ. So why is it any special now. For that matter muslim do not assimilate with any other religion not only in India but also world over…just take a look around. The serial blasts were caused by the D company with help from the ISI, so how come it is not mentioned. No amount of excuses can justify the brutal burning of men,women and children in the godhra carnage, babri or no babri demolition.

    This unemployed (S)ex editor should stop smoking pot before he reviews a book.

  9. Melange Says:

    There are two events in the early nineties that laid to rest any notions of India ever having an intelligent political system: Advani’s Hindu right and V.P. Singh’s casteist left. They both pandered to the worst of Human denominators: Identity.

    The major portion of the Indian populace is given to prejudices of all sorts. The Indian electorate is uninformed and too stupid to make choices based on ideas, not identity. India’s politicians represent the vast majority of her people: illiterate, mean, petty, divisive, unimaginative and exceedingly corrupt. Yes, Advani is a crook, but so are all the people that bought his wares (lots, lots of them).

    If India is country where a Advani and a Karunanidhi are considered “statesman”( trying not to die of laughter!!), then what does it say about her people? What is it about the Indian people that lets people like Advani thrive? The answer to that question will be scary, but truth nevertheless.

    Let us, of course, not forget the “Indian National Congress” that sat on India’s throat for decades; that worked hard to lay the groundwork for the monsters that arose in the early nineties;

    Add to all this, regional chauvinism, fights for resources and a population that is projected to touch 2 billion, then one can only sadly conclude that India is a train wreck waiting to happen.

  10. chenchu Says:

    I cannot understand how Churmuri, an otherwise balanced blog churns out such trash when it comes to politics. Apart from Advani, exactly who among the politicians is there who even has an iota of rashtra-bhakti?
    Congress? who have been selling out our country, running it like a personal fiefdom?
    Or the left, whose ultimate aim is to integrate India with China? (Yes, they still believe that world revolution is round the corner, and their low-brow “scientific” socialist orthodoxy is indeed very strong)

    Our civilization is at a crossroads and we need a leader with at least some understanding of our way of life, and the ability to rejuvenate our land and people after the millennium long degradation, loot and plunder.

    Most Indians sadly do not apprehend the seriousness of the matter. They assume that India will go on. What is happening now is the inevitable semitization of India. Semitization will definitely lead to mob rule and trust me, the liberals will no longer have their rights with which they are able to attack Indians nowadays. North India is almost gone out of the pale of the Indic civilization, and the South, though more resilient, is being subtly compromised by various other means.

    Perhaps the “liberal” who wrote this blog-post would like an India where all traces of the Inidic civilization are absent, and replaced by a Saudi-Arabia/America like paradise.

  11. Anon Says:

    For many entertaining suicidal thoughts during Mandal days, Advani was a life saver. People were overjoyed to see Chandrashekar in PM’s office.

    VP got his cancer treated in UK with Indian tax payer’s money. Not from an OBC doctor.

  12. oldboy Says:

    How much ever one may criticize Advani, the truth is we need such hawkish leaders. Just look at how the present govt has failed to take advantage of the Tibet uprising because of the commie pressure. I am really curious to see how Advani, if he becomes the PM, tackles China. He has already made the right noises w.r.t Tibet. I am sure Indian diplomacy will get some teeth if Advani becomes the PM.

  13. ptcbus Says:

    I can not imagine our country having such a divisive politician as the prime-minister. If Advani becomes the PM we can expect to see even more frequent occurrence of events like demolition of Babri Masjid and riots in Gujarat.

  14. vikram Kamath Says:

    Hindu-Muslim relations were never been the same after Muslims invaders land their foot in India and start converting and killing Hindus. There is lot of comment above that after babri Masjid so many bloody events occurred between Hindus and Muslims.

    Let me ask you, the biggest Hindu Muslim riots taken place from 1940 to 1948 during freedom movement and after partition. Who is responsible?

    Advani or Congress and their so called secular leaders like Gandhi and Nehru? Nehru not even spared soldiers standing on Himalayan glaciers facing China in 1962. Let Us try them also for letting so many people killed by their poor vision and outlook from 1940-1962.

  15. TKM Says:

    Advani should have dipped himself in a tub of white paint rather than writing a book of lies in preparation to become the PM, his sole ambition.
    By writing a book with highly controversial facts and lies Mr. Advani was probably planning to raise some moolah for his for his election fund, a la Jaswant Singh.
    The day Advani becomes the PM , India will detach from the Himalayas and sink in the ocean with shame.

  16. pragmatic Says:

    oh well, here comes some Tamil K Mohammed with the declaration that the book is full of lies!

    Mr. TKM, did you even bother to read the book completely before commenting? You just proved yourself a moron here! congrats!!

  17. TKM Says:

    Should I call you a saffron crass, Mr. pragm…c what ever it is? The way you figured out that I am ‘Tamail K Mohammed’ and ‘moron’ shows your ability in understanding and analyzing. Did you read the book upside down or in your sleep? Your thinking and senses have the quality and clarity of the gutter water to say the least. Grow up Mr. Crass!!

  18. pragmatic Says:

    @ TKM

    well, I can call you anything. Same was the funda used by you to call the book a bunch of lies. Had Sonia Gandhi written something, you would have licked it, probably.

    And you call me a saffron crass. Well, I am not. You also say that my thinking has gutter water clarity. Again its not! Its just that you are a blind and dumb as*hole.

  19. TKM Says:

    ” America and England are very developed. Even the beggars there speak fluent English’. The cultural and mental development of the authors of some of the comments has to be measured with that yardstick.

  20. captainjohann Says:

    I was immensely disappointed with Mr.Advani disowining his role in Kandahar hostage drama. Again he disowns his role in Babri demolition. He should have remained silent. The people who destroyed babri have done irreperable damage to our Muslim bretheren who are now fed with false propaganda.babri masjid was not a mosque but a victory structure with the Four black stone pillars sticking like sore thumb amongst it white walls. But today we donot have proof to show to the young Muslims who are fed with hate propaganda. He should have shown some light why Sudharshan wanted him removed in the name of oldage and how he survived?

  21. wtf Says:

    @captainjohann

    >>The people who destroyed babri have done irreperable damage to our Muslim bretheren

    What about hundreds of Hindu temples that were razed to the ground by the invading Muslim rulers? If one masjid demolition can do irreparable damage to our Muslim brethren, then think about the effect of demolition of hundreds of temples on our Hindu brethren.

  22. Chamundi Hill Says:

    Show me one man in Indian politics who could ask Mr. Mia Musharaff to return Dawood and link it to his commitment to terrorism. This is real diplomacy. It made Musharaff go on the back foot straight away and get struck there. His revenge ? Call the media and go back like a coward.

    On the other hand, we have Cong which keeps on releasing sermons with at regular intervals that the public should maintain peace, whenever there is a terror attack.

    This one incident shows what material LKA is made off. I am sure there are many more incidents which make him a man of vision and his response to it.

  23. bhargav thaker Says:

    my country my life is one of the best part of advaniji`s life to see how he is so simple & petroist. if bajpai is bhishmapitamah of our politics than advani is krishna of this politics.due to a gujarati,i m also proud of advaniji if he becom a P.M.wish U all the best ADVANIJI. your`s faithfully
    BHARGAV THAKER
    (AHMEDABAD)

  24. Chaitanya N Says:

    How the hell are people who comment on this blog so bloody stupid. You justify an atrocity committed by some Hindus (Babri Masjid) in 1992 by pointing to atrocities committed by Muslim rulers in the 15th Century? What are you guys retarded? Certain Muslims in the 15th Century committed crimes against some Hindus in the 15th Century, therefore we Hindus in the 20th Century must take revenge on the Muslims living in the 20th Century?????? Have you people no brain?

  25. vaidehi Says:

    he great leader and a true leader.

  26. Vamanan Says:

    Demonising Advani is not going to help….Portraying the RSS as enemy no. i will also not do…the RSS is only the reaction to the continued disrespect to Hinduism…in fact it is the idealogy of the RSS that all religions are true…
    The Hindu right owes its existence and raison d’etre to the stupid secularists and marxists who deride everything HIndu day in and day out…When Hindus learn to appreciate the great legacy of their religion…and rid it of banes like untouchability, there won’t be any need for such parties…Till then, parties like the BJP will be there, and will be a force to reckon with…A word to those who don’t like Advani or the RSS…forget them and show your appreciation for great things in Hindu culture…That will help you more in achieving your aim..

  27. Saurav Basu Says:

    Check my more balanced review of Advani’s book instead of this *secular * trash of Krishna Prasad

    http://books.sulekha.com/book/my-country-my-life/reviews/14263.htm

  28. Shashwat Says:

    It is really starnge that Advani is being targetted. honestly i am not an advani or modi fan, rather i am not a fan of any politician…however as a radical human, am oppsed to these kind of a tragetting. The seeds were sown in the very presence of Gandhi and Nehru( with dure respect to khushwant Singh), however they had been under the earth because of the tolerant anture of the Hindu Society as a whole…. The RSS, VHP and the likes have just taught the Hindus not to be tolerant anymore. it the tendency of Indian media especially( all kinds of media, and Khushwant Sigh is a very part of print media) to find out the root cause of any Islamic misvehaviour and somehow trace it back to a Hindu deed. the way Khuswant singh finds out the root of all after effects to The Babri mosque Demolition……

    Actaully everyone wants the hindu to keep quiet… be tolerant… and be secular….

    i must say that a journalist of the stature of khushawnt singh says india to be secular as per Gandhi and Nehru…..

    i feel like laghing aloud…. it was very much in their presence that Ambedkar was chosen for drafting the constitution…. a man who had openly said filthy things about Hinduism…

    I must say that is Secularism means being a non supporter of hinduism then Singhji’s idea about it is far naive than taht of advani……

    Secularism means to give equal respect to all religions…… and Ambedkar Certainly did not respect Hinduism…. what the hell are we talking about secularising the entire idiam mass………….

  29. Vinay Says:

    Shashwat:

    “Secularism means to give equal respect to all religions”

    NO. Secularism means, NO importance to ANY religion. This is the mistake people make in India – people feel that to be secular means to give equal importance/respect to all religions.

    Having a parallel law for one segment of the population (Haj subsidy, non-uniform civil code, etc.) is NOT secularism. And it works both ways. For instance, if illegally constructed structures obstruct the construction of a road, those structures need to be demolished, whether they are temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, devil-worship center, or any damn thing.

  30. Palahalli Says:

    Vinay, I feel, is technically correct. separation of “Church” from State.

    However, I have a major problem with Secularism itself.

    Firstly, it can only be a policy of State and not an individual choice unless of course that individual is an atheist and even there, it arguably would not fit in because an atheist is closed to religious impulses.

    Secondly, how does an otherwise religious citizen become Secular as soon as he takes office? Here, this question becomes relevant when we speak of Islam/Christianity and historically but benignly, Buddhist “State policy”.

    Thirdly, it is a fact that Hindus did not need a Secular State policy in order to welcome and care for Parsis, Jews and even Christians and Muslims, in their midst. They achieved fairness by being themselves, ie by being Hindu.

    Fourthly, I sincerely believe that Secularism is a sham and more dangerously, benumbing policy/philosophy/what have you; because, like Communism, it never really remains a “State policy”. It tries to spread its tentacles into Society’s very core. It subverts a trusting spiritual people.

    Fifthly and my pet hate, Liberalism with it’s whole focus on the individual, is a child of Secularism. If today, we see free and civilized nations crumbling and defenseless in the face of the Islamist scourge..we will be correct in placing the blame at this door.

    On the Uniform Civil Code, I feel personal laws are fine if they are humane. We need not confuse the issue with laws not having/having basis in religion or Dharma more to the point. That is why I support the Hindu Code. I would not connect with a UNI that is impersonal.
    For instance, why should I be forced into a “registered” marriage and not be able to wed per “my” Hindu tradition (?).

  31. Sandesh Says:

    Vinay
    add to the illegal structures of temples, mosques, churches etc etc… the statues of useless politicians and cut-outs!

  32. Vinay Says:

    According to me, as long as Secularism does not pervade “society’s very core” it should be acceptable. For instance, barring people from marrying according to their traditions is NOT a good way to enforce secularism.

    Of course it can only be a policy of state, and not an individual choice. “Imposing secularism” on an individual does not make sense. It evokes memories of imposition of atheism in USSR and China.

    The aim of a secular state should be only one: people’s private beliefs should not interfere with activities intended for the greater good of the people. If, for example, someone says that we should stop launching rockets into space since it pierces “Heaven”, “Swarga”, or “Jannat” – THAT should not be tolerated. If someone says that certain medicines should be banned since they contain alcohol content, which is “Haram”, THAT should not be tolerated.

    I personally know a couple of cases where real estate owners have flouted all building rules and bye-laws and built structures. These people are actually thugs, and are hyper-corrupt. They have cleverly built a shrine/mini temple in the corner of their property so that it becomes that much more difficult for the authorities to demolish their illegal structure, built with ill-gotten wealth. One of these people does Pooja day in and day out, but does all possible fraud the rest of the time.

    Regarding “free and civilized nations crumbling and defenseless in the face of the Islamist scourge”, I guess you have been visiting Jihad Watch. While what the guys there say is perfectly true to a large extent, they exaggerate the threat. I have lived in Europe for the better part of the last 2 year, and it is really not THAT bad. If it comes to that, Europe can very well defend itself.

    Sandesh:

    statues of useless politicians and cut-outs should be demolished with immediate effect, irrespective of whether they obstruct development or not, coz’ they’re a major eyesore!!!!! :-)

  33. Palahalli Says:

    Vinay, a Secular State by it’s very nature, must be and remain intrusive for it to be successful. There is no choice really.

    You’re examples are good no doubt, however they are common-place and don’t need a Secular dispensation to address. We must remember that these “mal-practices” are happening in a Secular State. Btw, I don’t also buy into the argument that we are not really a Secular State. Or as is fashionable amongst Hindu Nationalists; that we are in fact a Pseudo-Secular State. I don’t buy that line of argument.

    To me it seems clear that Secularism as State Policy and there can be no other kind, fails because it breeds hypocrisy in it’s citizens. Hindus, in our case, are supposed to behave in a Secular manner. There is no need for this.

    The Islamist threat to Europe is very real. One way to guage this is with respect to the line of thinking regimes in Europe are increasingly adopting when faced with this challenge. Earlier, I had taken two examples. Britain and The Netherlands. A threat if real, is a threat. Where is the question of exaggeration? Any such thought will further weaken the resolve to fight due to being unprepared. I also do not see signs of Europe being prepared to defend itself. To do that, one must be clear as to what they are defending. If they are defending their concept of Multi-Culturalism, that has become their mainstay without exception; how will that goal prepare them against Islam, because, please remember, not one of them has named Islam as a threat to Multi-Culturalism. In fact, under their current thought process, they cannot even do this because, perversely enough, it will go against their Multi-Culturalist philosophy.

    Similarly, in our country, if Hindus are not clear that what they intend to defend is the Hindu way of life and it is some nebulous Secularism, then that will never allow us to recognize sources of threat.

    Secularism creates a spiritual vacuum that disarms Hindus and allows for the most aggressive cults to prosper. It has become our Achilles heel. You will notice the same thing happening in Europe. But our silver lining is that our common folk, are not at all Secular. They are Hindu in their ways.

    I will be happy if Hindu Nationalists stop using Secularism as a shield against Islamist aggression. It’s a shield of fluff. Use “Hindu” instead. Much better.

  34. Vinay Says:

    “You’re examples are good no doubt, however they are common-place and don’t need a Secular dispensation to address. We must remember that these “mal-practices” are happening in a Secular State.”

    In general, mal-practices must not be encouraged. The question of whether a secular dispensation is necessary to discourage these malpractices is a matter of how one defines secularism. How I would want secularism to be practiced is:

    “Each one to his own religion or beliefs. Whether you are a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist, we (the state) will not interfere with your way of life, your beliefs and your culture, as long as it does not conflict with the idea of India or the law of the land, and as long as it does not harm or inconvenience others. You are free to have your own practices, such as having a ritual Hindu marriage, or celebrate Sankranti, Christmas or Eid. However, we will not allow you to prevent a girl from getting herself educated in university because your beliefs say that girls must not be educated. We will not allow you to burn yourself on a pyre because your fellow-villagers expect it of you. We will not allow you to stone an adulterer to death, not within the borders of India. We will not allow you to encroach on land meant for a park and build a place of worship there. We will not prevent you from trying to join the Indian Air Force, but we will jail you if you say that you will not bomb the NWFP when we are at war, because you feel that several sacred places of worship there will be destroyed.”

    That is how I would like secularism to be implemented, in practice, and not just on paper. If individuals or groups wish to preserve and nurture their culture, they are free to do so under this state of affairs. Hindus need not be expected to behave in a secular manner.

  35. Palahalli Says:

    Unfortunately Vinay, no one can tell how a Secular State must behave and how far or how deep its powers can run within the society it seeks to rule. That’s the problem.

    There is also no way a Secular State will respect the wishes of the National Majority. Well, the very notion of such a Majority is anathema to a Secular dispensation. The nation loses its meaning and purpose right there.

    I would like to ask. What is this “idea of India”? The way it’s spelt out, how is it different from the current “idea of the US” or an “idea of Europe”? If it’s the idea of Secular society…then how is India going to be original or different from the rest? How will it contribute meaningfully if all it does is be like the rest?

    There is a reason we are Hindu and remain Hindu. We must never try to extinguish that reason under spurious fears and notions of equality and fairplay.

  36. Sandesh Says:

    Vinay
    Good thoughts. Agree with everything.
    One should value human rights more than anything else.

  37. Palahalli Says:

    Sandesh – I agree that Human Rights must be respected. However, I strongly disagree that a Secular regime can gurantee a condition where Human Rights of all are indeed respected.

    As I have maintained; Secularism and/or Liberalism, saps our collective will to fight a bully in the name of Multi-Culturalism.

    One again looks at Europe as a classic example.

    Secular, Multi-Cultural and completely unable to put up a fight to save itself in the face of the Islamist threat. I’m talking about a majority of White Christians.

    Political Correctness is on the war path.

    Look at these cases;

    1. The BBC lady employee asking for a non-Asian cab driver was sacked.

    2. Prince William (was it?), reprimanded for uttering “Paki”.

    3. Geert Wilders is to be prosecuted for allegedly “spreading hate”.

    Just the tip of an ice berg.

    Let’s not confuse Human Rights with Secularism.

  38. Vinay Says:

    Palahalli:

    What then, is your proposal? If you speak of a “Hindu Rashtra”, how would you like the society and constitution to be defined? What will the place of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Buddhists and Jews be in such a society? What will be the Government’s stance on religious conversions in such a society? What will the laws state w.r.t. the caste system? Will the law lay down specific guidelines for religious celebrations and rituals in such a society? Will the Penal code make special provision for Hindu customs?

  39. Palahalli Says:

    Vinay, a “Hindu Rashtra” will allow for Hindu Civilization to flower and bear fruit.

    It is but an instrument through which Hindus will assert themselves.

    What are you’re concerns?

  40. Vinay Says:

    And how will the Hindu Rashtra address the questions in my post above?

    Will this Hindu Rashtra persecute Muslims, Christians and Atheists just like today’s “Muslim Rashtras” persecute Christians, Hindus and Atheists? Will conversions out of Hinduism be punishable, just like current “Muslim Rashtras”?

    Will this Hindu Rashtra discourage intermixing of castes, to bring back the golden age of Krishna’s time? As narrated in the Mahabharata to Yudhishtra by the great Muni Markandeya about the future course of the government of the Earth: “And Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas with their virtue contracted and divested of asceticism and truth will all be reduced to an equality with the Sudras.” Will the Hindu Rashtra attempt to do something about this?

    What is your vision of this Hindu Rashtra?

  41. Palahalli Says:

    Vinay,

    All I need to do is direct you to Hindu history.

    And tell me where you find these various persecutions.

    Caste is a unique phenomenon. Nothing can really get rid of Caste. No legislation, no “reform”. Today, our Dalits and OBCs find strength in Caste identity. It is some of the so-called Upper Caste folks who have supposedly forsaken their Caste, who have also lost their sense of being Hindu.

    Ambedkar was right. Caste is the backbone of Hinduism.

    Caste morphs as per practical need but never disappears. Our Dalits are taking to entrepreneurship and better occupations. But their Caste traditions have also become stronger. Some have taken to traditions of their fellow Caste men. Meat eaters are becoming vegetarians, Vegetarians are becoming meat eaters. I am a Brahmin, and I eat beef. I value greatly my culture and traditions. I value the same things of fellow Hindus of various Castes.

    While we debate and decry Caste, we forget to use it’s power to our advantage. We spend so much time talking about evils committed in the past instead of giving strength and hope to our less unfortunate brethren and have them be proud of their own Caste traditions.

    You might wonder what I talk about. It’s natural.

    Chandrabhan Prasad celebrated a Dalit Food Festival where dishes of pork and other meats were prepared in beer. That is being proud of you’re Caste traditions. I loved it when I read that Brahmins too partook of the delicacies.

    Caste, like water will always find its level. There is need of a good engineer to build an efficient aqueduct.

    If I were to answer you’re question related to Caste, I would start by asking you a counter question.

    Assuming you’re reading of Krishna to be accurate, how would one practically implement or in you’re implication, “prevent” it today?

    Secondly, the Hindu movement wants Hindus to forget about Caste. This movement does not yet possess the common sense that Hindus generally possess.

    Thirdly, I would harness Caste strength by giving weight age and scope to each of our tradition.

    Practically, I would abide by the tradition of the people live with. If the tradition demands that an animal be sacrificed before a function, I would do it.

    On conversions, given what we know of Islam, there will be the greatest push toward re-conversion. More on this later.

    But, let’s hear you now.

  42. Vinay Says:

    Palahalli:

    “Where you find such persecutions”
    India has been invaded and conquered by Muslim and Christian invaders, and not the other way round. There was no chance for Hindus to persecute Muslims or Christians. What I am talking about is your vision of a modern Hindu Rashtra, how would you have it behave?

    The caste system is outdated and is not relevant in modern times. All religions, in general, specify “rules and norms” for people to follow, which might have been relevant in those times when the religion was founded. Our scriptures say nothing about telemarketing executives and software programmers, for instance. Hinduism, like all other religions, needs reforms and changes. Some religions have accommodated more to the modern day, some less. Hinduism is not entirely free of bigotry, as we would define it in today’s words.

    There is no need to IMPOSE stuff upon people. If someone wants to keep within his caste, the state need not impose upon him. But what if his daughter wants to marry a Dalit man? That’s against scriptures, no? Will the “Hindu Rashtra” imprison the girl?

    If the Hindu Rashtra legalizes things similar to what happened in the pub in Mangalore, I do not want to be part of such a country, or such a society. I am a human being, an individual, I have every right to do what I please, as long as I don’t harm others. That is my only policy.

    I do not need scum to define Hinduism for me, and tell me how to practice it. And have no doubts, in India, scum eventually reach the top as politicians, etc. and it will be the same in Hindu Rashtra, or any Rashtra.

  43. Palahalli Says:

    Vinay –

    If you’re last paragraph is you’re bottom-line, then why fear a Hindu Rashtra exclusively? That does not make sense.

    Coming to you’re other points;

    Hindus have always welcomed diverse folk. This does not start with “Christians and Muslims”. The condition is as old as the hills. Take the Parsis and the Jews. Take even the Syrian Christians. Many tribes of the old world. Hindus are full of them. One huge reason for Caste diversity and traditions is this Hindu practice of accepting new members without harming or changing their traditions. That is the reason for all this diversity.

    Why should or will a Hindu Rashtra be different? It will certainly protect people who respect this diversity.

    You say the Caste system is outdated. Step outside of you’re home and you will see the Caste system is alive and well. As long as it is that, it is not outdated. It cannot be. Naturally.

    All religions specifying “rules and regulations” is not what we are talking about. If we must, let us talk about religions that specify that their followers impede the “rules and regulations” of other religions and traditions.

    Hindus are not against reform. Hindus just are and must be against quacks posing as qualified doctors. Why even our Dalits will not listen to such quacks. Our problems are qualitatively different from what Islam poses.

    What if? Don’t we see many such marraiges today? Even in days of old such marraiges took place. There is no reason a Hindu Rashtra would oppose this trend. Moreover, have the proponents of Hindu Rashtra opposed it?

    Please tell me which scripture is against inter-caste marraiges.

    Abhas Chatterjee, the author of The Concept a Hindu Nation married a lady of the Oraon tribe.

    Ambedkar himself was of the view that historically, Brahmins were out going and missionary. He says there is no other reason for their all India presence. Ambedkar too, married a Brahmin lady and they were not opposed. Indeed Ambedkar and Phule before him, who lived in much more trying times, actually could do their great and noble works amongst their people, and they were hardly soft on Hindus/Hinduism. They gathered many upper caste Hindus as their supporters. It was upper Caste Hindus who encouraged Ambedkar in his youth. In his education. They were not Liberals or Secular fadists. They were conscious Hindus.

    Imagine what would have happened under Islam!

    So, Hindu Rashtra would welcome such marraiges.

    Individuals have a responsibility to their surroundings and society. Just because you’re action does not overtly “harm” others does not mean it is right and must be gone ahead with. A drunk on the street by himself does not harm others, so why not allow for drunks to spill over onto the street? Today’s fad of single parent hood is lauded and applauded by Liberals as “individual autonomy”. How much harm it will cause society will be known by our children. Some things we must look around and learn from.

    In the West, children may divorce their parents (??!) There are limits to nonsense and runaway Liberalism must be reigned in.

    You’re last paragraph again. Who has defined Hinduism for anybody? You are free and will be even more free in a Hindu Rashtra.

  44. Sandesh Says:

    My two cents.
    I think Vinay is referring to the “idea” of caste as opposed to the actual practice .. which of course , is still rampant and existent. I think that we will never be able to eliminate caste system simply because these things are rooted in the “me superior- you inferior” thinking. Replace caste with language, region, skin type etc etc.. and you will see my point. In academics this could be number of papers/awards/prestigious awards/grad school etc. My point is.. even if we manage to eliminate caste system we will adopt other “measures of superiority”..

    But if implemented truly, I think the Hindu Rashtra will be truly secular (to each his own religion). The question is who and how will we implement it ??

  45. Palahalli Says:

    Sandesh – “I think the Hindu Rashtra will be truly secular”. I hope not :)

    To me, just being Hindu is humane enough.

    In my opinion, Hindu Rashtra already exists. For it’s “being” to be accepted as such, will need legislation.

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